The Supreme Court will examine the North Carolina dental regulatory board's claim that only dentists should be allowed to whiten teeth.
The justices on Monday agreed to hear the state Board of Dental Examiners' challenge to a lower court ruling and an order by the Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC said the board engaged in unfair competition in the market for teeth-whitening services by shutting down businesses such as day spas and tanning booths that offered the service. The board sued the FTC in 2011, saying the agency overstepped its authority.
The federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., sided with the FTC.
One judge said the board would have had a stronger case if its members were elected or appointed by state government officials rather than by other dentists.