State Dental Commissions Protect Not Just Your Teeth; They Also Protect…Dentists

December 9, 2011
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Writing in Slate.com, Matthew Yglesias (who’s usually way to the left of me) makes some interesting points about protectionism in the dental industry:

Writing in Slate.com, Matthew Yglesias (who’s usually way to the left of me) makes some interesting points about protectionism in the dental industry:

According to the Food and Drug Administration, for example, tooth-whitening products are perfectly safe to sell over the counter and be applied at home by anyone who cares to do it. But in Connecticut the Connecticut Dental Commission has ruled that only dentists may provide tooth-whitening services as a business. It’s safe to do for yourself at home, but not safe enough to pay a non-dentist to do for you.

This is also true of the services of dental hygienists. Unless you have something wrong during your biannual dental exam, you may never actually even see a dentist. More likely you will have your teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist:

But why don’t hygienists go into business for themselves doing routine tooth-cleaning? Well, because commissions across the country have made that illegal. In order to clean teeth you don’t have to be a dentist, you just need to work for a dentist and let one profit off your work.