Bronze Bottom Tanning can darken your skin, feed you a smoothie, give you a shot of oxygen, and sell you a swimsuit.

But the Wyoming Board of Dental Examiners says the salon in west Casper should not help you whiten your teeth.

The board, through the Wyoming attorney general's office, filed a complaint asking Natrona County District Court to issue an injunction against Bronze Bottom Tanning to stop it from offering a $49.95 whitening kit and two 15-minute sessions under a UV lamp for $149.

Randy Hollis and his wife, Kris, opened Bronze Bottom Tanning at 4070 Plaza Drive a year ago, and they call the self-administered procedure cosmetic.

They do glamour.

The Board of Dental Examiners, which enforces the Wyoming Dental Practice Act, calls it dentistry.

The salon's staff places the whitening agent in customers' mouths, and helps place an ultraviolet light in front of the mouth to accelerate the whitening process, according to the board's April 30 complaint that referred to a brochure from Bronze Bottom Tanning.

The board asserts the procedure falls under the state's definition of dentistry: "the healing art practiced by a dentist which is concerned with the examination, diagnosis, treatment, planning and care of conditions within the human oral cavity and its adjacent tissues and structures."

Wyoming Assistant Attorney General Sean Chambers said he could not comment on pending litigation and referred questions to the Board of Dental Examiners.

The board's executive director, Debra Bridges, said the number of complaints -- usually from dentists -- about teeth-whitening services has been rising in recent years, and her office has issued letters to salons demanding that they stop offering the procedures.

Because of the ongoing litigation, Bridges declined to comment on the case involving Bronze Bottom Tanning.

Hollis thinks the Board of Dental Examiners is flapping its mandibles.

The salon doesn't examine, diagnose, treat or do anything else with the mouth, he said. It just provides a place for customers to whiten their teeth.

They buy a kit with two syringes with the whitening gel, a device to open the mouth, a bib to catch the drool and some other items.

And the materials are no different from those sold at Wal-Mart, Kmart, grocery stores and online, Hollis said.

While he and employees tell customers how to use the materials and equipment, they do not touch the customers, he said.

They sit in the chair and apply petroleum jelly to the lips and to the alien-looking gizmo that keeps the mouth open.

They insert the device, which stretches lips beyond anything Mick Jagger could try, and exposes the teeth hideously enough to freak out Jack Nicholson's character in "The Shining."

Customers apply petroleum jelly to the gums, and squeeze a syringe of the gel on the teeth.

After donning UV-resistant sunglasses, customers lean back in the chair, point the UV lamp at the mouth, close their eyes and listen to pop singers on the radio for 15 minutes.

The light goes off, customers rinse and admire the results in the mirror.

A treatment will last up to three months depending on the customers' habits of smoking, chewing tobacco, and intake of caffeine and sugared beverages, Hollis said.

Bronze Bottom Tanning sells the treatment three or four times a month, but business has declined somewhat because of the Board of Dental Examiners' action, he said.

Hollis, through his attorney Mike Lansing, intends to file a response intended to poke holes in the board's arguments, he said.

"If it's self-administered, where does dentistry come into play?" Hollis asked.

Part of the controversy may have originated in malls, where some teeth-whitening businesses featured their staff wearing white coats to look like dentists, he said.

It also may boil down to money, Hollis said.

Bronze Bottom Tanning offers teeth-whitening for $150 to $200, compared to dentist offices that offer virtually the same procedure for $400 to $600, he said.

That represents a lot of lost income, Hollis said.

"Somebody out there is not getting a cut of the pie, and it has bothered them, whether it be a dentist office or a dental hygienist."

Reach Tom Morton at (307) 266-0592, or at tom.morton@trib.com.

(1) comment

lisakiebler
lisakiebler

Dental board is doing absolutely right thing by opposing salon to perform teeth whitening. Teeth whitening should be strictly performed by dentist and not by any salon. Now, they have started teeth whitening procedure and sometimes afterward they will also start doing dental veneers and crowning. This is just absurd.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.