Dentists cosmetic procedures

Patient safety could improve as dentists offer cosmetic procedures

An increased number of dental practitioners are offering complementary treatments as Botox injections jump by 124% in a year
20 July 2023 , Steve Smethurst

More regulated providers could help to “expedite the regulation process” as complaints increase by 25% from 2020 to 2022

Large dental chains are increasingly offering cosmetic procedures. A 2022 audit by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPs) showed that 6,639 Botox treatments were performed by members, a 124% increase on the previous year.

Dental chains My Dentist and Bupa Dental, both of which have more than 500 branches, are the largest to offer such services. Others include Portman Dental, Rodericks and Together Dental.

Dr Jalpesh Patel sits on the Practitioners Committee of the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners. He said that cosmetic dentistry has become increasingly popular over the past decade with many dental practitioners offering complementary treatments such as cosmetic injectables and skin rejuvenation therapies. 

He said: “Smile improvements and addressing facial cosmetic concerns can sit harmoniously together. Some may question whether these types of treatments should be included in the scope of practice for a dentist; however, they have many transferable skills, ranging from clinical assessment and application of injectables all the way to complication management.  

“In a sector with a high risk-profile, which is largely unregulated, having appropriately trained regulated professionals at the forefront of treatment provision makes absolute sense.”  

“With more qualified dentists offering cosmetic procedures, there will be increased awareness and scrutiny of unregulated practitioners who may pose risks to patient safety.”

Dr Raj Juneja, Principal Dentist at Face Teeth Smile dental clinic, agreed. He said: “Dentists follow strict infection-control protocols and maintain a clean and sterile environment. Additionally, dentists have professional indemnity and insurance. We are also regulated by the General Dental Council (GDC) in the UK.

He felt that a larger supply of regulated providers could help to “expedite the regulation process and reduce the presence of untrained or unregistered practitioners” in the market.

“With more qualified dentists offering cosmetic procedures, there will be increased awareness and scrutiny of unregulated practitioners who may pose risks to patient safety. Regulators and professional organisations can focus on improving enforcement, raising public awareness, and implementing stricter measures to address the issue.”

Ashton Collins, Director of Save Face, a national government-approved register of accredited non-surgical treatment practitioners, said her organisation received 2,824 complaints last year. The figure, which includes treatment complications, is a quarter higher than in 2020.

Under current rules, an aesthetic practitioner in the UK does not require mandatory qualifications – anyone could go on a training course and then perform dermal filler treatments, for example. 

Collins said that dentists currently make up 30% of its registrations. She said: “If you are having your teeth done you may also want to consider lip fillers. Dentists already use Botox to treat teeth grinding so these treatments go hand-in-hand.”

Julie Barrett, CIEH President said: “One of the least risky places to received Botox or fillers is in the salon of a registered medical practitioner such as a dentists. Of far greater concern are unregistered and untrained practitioners operating in unhygienic environments, and the need to regulate them is a pressing one.”

Image credit: Shutterstock

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