Georgia Teeth Whitening

Eck v. Battle
Teeth-Whitening Entrepreneur Challenges Dentists’ Monopoly in Georgia
 . bmeltz ga-teeth-whitening F022 md

IJ Client Trisha Eck
January 26, 1964–November 3, 2014
Remembering IJ Client Trisha Eck 


In Georgia, entrepreneurs who offer teeth-whitening services can be charged with a felony, imprisoned for up to five years and fined thousands of dollars. Their crime? Selling the exact same teeth-whitening product sold in stores.

In 2012, Trisha Eck had a successful business selling over-the-counter whitening product and providing a clean, comfortable place for customers to apply the product to their own teeth. That is, until March 2014, when the Georgia Dental Board told her to shut down her business or face up to five years in jail and up to $500 in fines per customer. Unwilling to suffer those punishments, Trisha closed her business.

Teeth-whitening services are popular and increasingly available at spas, salons and shopping malls. Trisha sells the same products that people buy online or in stores and use every day at home. The FDA even regulates teeth-whitening products as cosmetics. But the Georgia Dental Board, which includes eight dentists, bans non-dentists from competing with dentists to offer teeth-whitening services.

Dentists routinely charge up to five times more for teeth-whitening services similar to those Trisha offered. Rather than try to compete by lowering prices or improving their services, the Dental Board is using government power to put their competition out of business. That’s not just bad policy, it’s unconstitutional.

The right to start a business and earn an honest living is one of the most important rights protected by the U.S. Constitution. That is why on April 2, 2014, the Institute for Justice, the national law firm for liberty, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on behalf of Trisha, challenging Georgia’s ban on non-dentist teeth whitening.


Essential Background


Backgrounder: Dentists Outlaw Competition

Client Video: none available

Client Photos

Latest Release: Federal Court Denies Georgia Dental Board’s Motion to Dismiss Teeth-Whitening Lawsuit (July 29, 2014)

Launch Release: Chew on This: Georgia Dentists Fight Tooth and Nail to Preserve Monopoly (April 2, 2014)

Legal Briefs and Decisions

Complaint (April 2, 2014)

Motion to Dismiss Opinion (July 28, 2014)

Case Timeline

Filed Lawsuit: 


April 1, 2014

Court Filed:


U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia



none available

 Current Court: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia


Government's motion to dismiss denied. Discovery commenced Oct. 3, 2014.
  Next Key Date:


Additional Releases

Maps, Charts and Facts

none available

none available


Op-eds, News Articles and Links

Article: Georgia Suit Contests Dentists' Whitening 'Monopoly' Fulton County Daily Report (September 15, 2014)

Article: Dental regulators work to shut down teeth whitening businesses Fox News (May 16, 2014)

Editorials: Des Moines Register’s Pulitzer Finalist series on licensing

Email Address
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Institute for Justice
901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900
Arlington, VA 22203
Tel 703.682.9320, Fax 703.682.9321
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