The conservative approach to criminal justice:
fighting crime, supporting victims, and protecting taxpayers.

Fighting Overcriminalization in Connecticut Tooth and Nail

| December 5, 2011

Right on Crime has long focused on the increasing scope of criminal law, state and federal. This often includes laws and regulations which criminalize and penalize (sometimes even with incarceration) traditionally non-criminal behavior.

Connecticut now offers yet another example of overcriminalization. Six months ago, the Connecticut Dental Commission made it a crime, punishable by up to five years in jail or a $25,000 fine, to offer teeth-whitening services by anyone other than a licensed dentist—even if the teeth-whitening is performed by the consumer himself.

This means that entrepreneurs who invest in the economy and open their own businesses face steep fines and jail time if they offer a service like teeth-whitening, even though whitening products are available on every supermarket’s shelves. Even the federal Food and Drug Administration considers teeth whitening products to be cosmetic in nature, which means the products need not be administered by a licensed dentist.

The Institute for Justice, a non-profit public interest law firm, and two entrepreneurs forced to shut down their businesses because of the onerous regulation have sued to get the law off the criminal law rolls—a place it never belonged in the first place.


RIGHT ON CRIME is a national campaign to promote successful, conservative solutions on American criminal justice policy—reforming the system to ensure public safety, shrink government, and save taxpayers money. By sharing research and policy ideas and mobilizing strong conservative voices, we work to raise awareness of the growing support for effective reforms within the conservative movement. We are transforming the debate on criminal justice in America.