Indemnity for cosmetic dentistry

Dentists can now get indemnity insurance for their cosmetic procedures, thanks to the Dental Defence Union (DDU).

The DDU – the specialist dental division of the Medical Defence Union (MDU) – has introduced the supplement for dentist members who want to administer botulinum toxin and non-permanent resorbable dermal fillers to patients’ lips or face, but excluding the neck.

The new insurance supplement was introduced on 1 April 2008 in response to the growing popularity of cosmetic procedures over the last decade and the number of dentists wishing to undertake such work.

Rupert Hoppenbrouwers, head of the DDU, said: ‘Over the past decade the nature of dentistry has changed, with a greater emphasis on improving the aesthetic appearance of the teeth and face.

‘An increasing number of dentists are now providing cosmetic procedures, such as botulinum toxin and dermal filler injections, in addition to other aesthetic procedures such as tooth whitening and veneers.

‘The DDU is constantly working to provide the best possible defence and dento-legal services to our members.

‘This is why I am delighted, on behalf of the DDU, to be able to offer this insurance in response to members’ requests and in the interests of patients.’

Here, he answers questions about the DDU’s indemnity insurance policy:

How many enquiries have you had from dentists re: indemnity insurance regarding botulinum etc?
The DDU has received a significant number of enquiries from dentists, and we are providing this new insurance in direct response to our members’ requests. There is an increasing demand among patients for cosmetic procedures to improve the aesthetic appearance of the face and neck, and a growing number of dentists are seeking to diversify their clinical work in this way.

Has there been any case histories with regard to these treatments?
We don’t know how many cases will arise because we haven’t offered this type of cover previously to dentists. However, we do have data on the cases that arise from medical GPs who undertake this type of work. Using this sound actuarial data from a broadly comparable group has enabled the DDU to set competitive subscription rates for dentists.

There are a number of common pitfalls facing professionals who administer botulinum toxin and non-permanent resorbable fillers, particularly surrounding the issue of consent. Patient expectations may be unrealistic, or patients may not realise that the treatment is not permanent. The results of these types of cosmetic procedures can also be unpredictable and improvements variable.

Did you consult with the US over policies?
No, we did not. It would be hard to see how a US experience would be directly transferable to the UK. We have sound UK data on these types of treatment, and think that these data are much more comparable.

What qualifications do dentists have to supply in order to qualify for cover?
The DDU does not hold a list of approved qualifications, and we will not be acting as an arbiter by ‘rubber-stamping’ some courses and not others.

We will look at each dentist’s training on an individual basis and decide whether, in our view, the amount and type of that training is adequate from a risk-management and underwriting perspective.

What’s your membership and what do you think the take-up will be?
The DDU indemnifies more than 30% of UK dentists. It is too early to say exactly how many dentists will wish to take out this new indemnity insurance, although we are receiving a steady flow of applications.

We are confident that members who want to administer botulinum toxin and non-permanent resorbable dermal fillers will find the supplement a valuable addition to the wide range of benefits already being offered by the DDU.

The supplement is only available to dentists and evidence of adequate and appropriate training will be required. Dentists wishing to extend their membership to include these procedures should contact the DDU membership department on 0800 085 0614 or visit The DDU Website.

BDA exhbition
The DDU will be at Stand C72 at the BDA Exhibition held in the Manchester Central Convention Complex between 1-3 May 2008.

This event provides an excellent opportunity for the DDU to meet its members and provide an opportunity for members to speak directly with their team of dento-legal advisers and dental liaison managers.

Another good reason to visit the DDU stand is to enter their prize draw:
• 1st prize – Ipod nano
• 2nd prize – £50 Love2Shop voucher
• 3rd prize – £25 Love2Shop voucher.

For a chance to win one of the prizes, get your badge scanned by the DDU at the BDA conference.

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