FAKE news has been making true headlines for some time, but my own trade is not the only one cursed by impersonation.

Dentistry has also been suffering though, in truth, this has more concerned grey areas where all is not whiter than white. I had intended to lecture you about this subject last week, following a story involving a Glasgow beautician.

Unfortunately, though champing at the bit to pontificate, I developed a fear that the story was too good to be true and decided I was too long in the tooth to fall for that sort of thing.

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Did dentistry share the same reverence for truth as my own unadmired trade? Or was it only concerned about the tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth?

God help us, but the grey area alluded to above is teeth-whitening, and the argument is whether that’s a matter for beauticians or dentists.

As I understand it, the legal position is that teeth whitening must be carried out by a recognised dental professional qualified to wield the approved instruments of torture.

At the same time, it would seem arguable that teeth-whitening is a matter of vanity rather than health. Faced with such a conundrum, the Scottish Government has done what it does best – formed a committee – and this will examine how to regulate non-health professionals such as beauticians and hairdressers.

I cut my own hair these days but remember hairdressers venturing beyond their pay grade and offering to strim my eyebrows and even interfering with my earlobes. It was outrageous, and I look forward to the above committee announcing strict punishments when it reports, inter alia, on eyebrows, ears and other cranial paraphernalia.

Returning to the Glasgow legal case, it involved whitening gel, a private investigator and a salubrious parlour in the east end. As the beautician under advisement was acquitted I feel it would be unfair to bandy her name about again in the press, so we’ll call her business Trudy Pulchritudy. When it comes to fake dentistry, my lips are sealed.

It appears the private investigator – acting for whom I have no idea – sent a wummin into the premises to get her nails done and, once the conversation about holidays and Strictly was done, to ask what other services were offered. The allegation was that these involved teeth whitening, carried out by putting gel on a gum shield and shining a light to activate it.

I must say this sounds more scientifically complex than the glorified plastering or two-coat paintwork that I’d envisaged. Anyway, in court, the sheriff decided there wasn’t enough evidence to convict Trudy of practising actual dentistry.

Cosmetic Dentistry website said the judgment was based on “absence of evidence as opposed to evidence of absence”. I see. Well, I don’t but, researching this subject further, I did see there’d been several cases recently up and arguably down the land.

However, the most notable of these again involved Glasgow. When I say it featured Methadone Mick and a practice known as Glamorous Geggies, you’ll think I’m indulging in fake news. Well, unhand me, madam, for I’m doing nothing of the sort.

This case involved the man who had made the protruding gnashers for the aforementioned Michael, a character in comedy show Still Game. Fair enough but, in real life, the proprietor of Glamorous Geggies was also convicted of working as an unregistered dentist, after offering to carry out plate work on the mother of a wummin who turns out to have the same name (and age) as the one involved in the Trudy Pulchritudy case. Again, she was sent in by a private investigator.

Prospering line of business. Plate work, admittedly, sounds more substantial than whitening, the real growth sector. The vanity behind teeth whitening has been fomented by the Americans, whose flashing gnashers can down a rhino at 30 yards.

But it has caused serious problems for the cosmetic dentistry profession. Art may be beauty and beauty art, but when is beauty dentistry and dentistry beauty?

Other beauty treatments might be deemed the province of cosmetic surgeons. Presumably, the definition depends on degree of physical interference and trustworthiness of the operative. Judging by newspaper stories about cosmetic surgeons, you might be better going to Winsome Wendy’s beauty parlour to have your eye removed or whatever it is that’s bothering you.

For my part, unable to afford the dentist, and deemed beyond hope by beauticians, my vanity is restricted to removing accumulated comestibles from my beard once a week. And before any private eyes think about sending in wummen to investigate, the procedure was insisted upon by the local authority and does not usurp the work of its refuse department.