Dentists Go for the Jugular
Apparently, some dentists are upset that, god forbid, people are making money on something that involves teeth but does not involve them. So, they have gotten a bill introduced to regulate teeth-whitening procedures. The bill proposes that anyone offering teeth-whitening services, like spas, etc., has to offer it under the supervision of a dentist. The Columbia Daily Tribune has this story. House Bill 766 would basically eliminate those kiosks in malls that offer the service quickly and inexpensively.
I realize that several people have died in these mall procedures, but the market should still determine whether people get to use the service. Oh, wait! That didn’t actually happen. Nobody could possibly be hurt getting their teeth whitened, and this bill is nothing but the worst kind of rent-seeking activity by the dental lobby. It is a great example of what I and others have said in our studies about occupational licensing: Licensing never comes about because the public demands a solution to a need. It ALWAYS comes about because existing practitioners are trying to limit their own competition, and legislators eagerly agree.
I hope the majority of the legislature sees this for what it is — a naked attempt at small-scale, legalized monopoly by the dentists.