Unregistered dentist fined nearly £7,000 in teeth whitening case

George Patel trial

The tooth whitening offence took place on July 27, 2020 at Revive Teeth Whitening on 1-3 Western Road in Romford Town Centre. - Credit: Google Maps

A retired business owner has been handed a fine after being found guilty of unlawfully offering teeth whitening treatment in Romford.

George Navanit Patel - formerly of Suttons Avenue in Hornchurch, now of Ballards Road in Dagenham - was fined £6,900 in total after being convicted at Romford Magistrates' Court yesterday (October 5).

It is against the law for a person who is not a registered dentist or dental care professional to carry out any treatment that could constitute dentistry.

Patel was accused of conducting a teeth whitening procedure which amounted to dental treatment in July last year.

The 62-year-old has never held either of the necessary registrations, so the question for Deputy District Judge (DDJ) Jonas was whether he actually administered the treatment or merely provided a facility for others to do so.

Aniksha Patel - the woman on whom Patel was found to have conducted the treatment - gave evidence at yesterday's trial.

Barrister Tom Orpin-Massey, speaking on behalf of the prosecuting General Dental Council (GDC), said: “The defendant said he did not actively conduct tooth whitening, but provided a facility for others to do it.

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“The GDC’s case, supported by the complainant Ms Patel, is that the defendant did more than this."

Ms Patel told the court she contacted Patel after finding his business, Revive Teeth Whitening, while looking for a birthday present for her mum.

At an appointment at the Western Road facility on July 27, she opted to have a one-off treatment worth £130 herself to see how effective it was.

Ms Patel described walking into an office that "didn’t look like a dental practice" for the consultation.

She said: "Before I could question what was happening, Mr Patel inserted the guard into my mouth and put the 30-minute timer on."

The civil servant said she quickly began to feel "anxious, waiting for that timer to go" and burning from the gel on the guard.

After being advised she could eat and drink as normal, Ms Patel paid in cash after being told this was the only accepted payment method.

She said she was in pain after 30 minutes but it intensified on July 29, and a phone assessment saw Ms Patel prescribed antibiotics.

The diabetic recalled "not eating for four days" following the treatment.

Defence barrister Philip Misner grilled Ms Patel on alleged inconsistencies between her live evidence and a statement previously given to the GDC.

The defence claimed Ms Patel self-administered the treatment.

Mr Misner said: "It was your assumption that he would be able to treat you, or give you treatment.

“Certainly he offered you pricing, but he never said he would be treating you."

During his evidence, Patel consistently denied any conduct that could amount to treatment.

In response to Mr Orpin-Massey's assertion that he was offering "a service", Patel replied: “No, I was offering a facility."

When asked why he wouldn't just choose to sell the whitening kits provided online, he said: "I chose to provide a facility."

It was also revealed the GDC has been in contact with Patel since 2018, culminating in the investigation which started last year.

When asked why he didn't respond to a letter sent by the GDC in September last year, Patel accused the body of writing to him frequently in the hope he will "close my business and just disappear".

Before handing down a guilty verdict, DDJ Jonas said: "The issue before me is whether the prosecution can prove, so that I am sure, that on July 27 the defendant provided treatment."

In deciding that this threshold of proof had been met, the judge said the slight inconsistencies in Ms Patel's account did not prevent her from being a "credible witness".

Contrastingly, he described Patel as "evasive".

DDJ Jonas fined Patel £1,500 to reflect the "risk" this unlawful practice posed to his customers.

Additionally, Patel must pay Ms Patel £1,250 in compensation, a surcharge of £150 and a contribution of £4,000 to the prosecution costs - all within three months.