When it comes to facial aesthetics and professional indemnity, Harry Singh urges you to get the best cover

We live in a consumer-driven world, and along with that comes the dreaded increase in litigation. Even the very best of clinicians may well face a claim at some time in their career, susceptible as we are to the vagaries of patients.

Whether we’re practising dentistry or performing facial aesthetic treatments, alongside our stringent practices, comprehensive note-taking and clinical expertise, getting the right type of professional insurance is a must!

Offering extras

The kinds of facial aesthetic treatments that appropriately trained dentists might be looking to offer in practice and therefore require professional insurance coverage include:

  1. Plumping of lips subtly (injecting the hyaluronic acid dermal filler just in the borders of the lips) or by increasing the volume (injecting in the body of the lips) to enhance a smile with white, straight teeth
  2. Volumisation in the mid-face area, especially in patients who have lost some teeth in the cheek area, as well as replacing lost volume or filling deep lines in the nose to mouth (nasolabial folds) and mouth to chin (marionette) lines with dermal fillers
  3. Botulinum toxin to target dynamic muscles. One example of its use is to reduce a gummy smile; weakening the muscles responsible for raising the lip with a small amount of toxin results in a gentler and softer upward pull when a patient smiles, allowing all of the teeth to be seen but decreasing the amount of gum on show
  4. Temporomandibular joint disorders can be treated with botulinum toxin as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, and it can be added to treat bruxism in addition to normal dental procedures.

Finding cover

As dentists, we have professional insurance cover already set up to meet the GDC’s requirements. If you want to offer facial aesthetics, then the first thing to do is contact your existing dental indemnifier.

Which company indemnifies you will make a difference to your coverage and fees.

I am in no way endorsing any company, but picking perhaps the best known, the last time I looked, the DDU was willing to indemnify dentists for facial aesthetics as part of their current policy (certain restrictions apply); you just need to tell the company you are expanding your treatment offering.

You are limited on how much you can earn through this treatment offering.

This may change, so best to check with the DDU when you’re ready.

You might want to go with a company that specialises in cosmetic procedures, such as Hamilton Fraser or Cosmetic Insure. Again, with no endorsement on my part, they each cover a variety of treatments and procedures that makes them a good possibility to meet dental professionals’ needs in this area of clinical treatment.

Remember, let your insurance company know of any changes, such as if you add to your facial aesthetics services, in case your coverage needs to be updated to reflect that and continue to cover you and your practice fully.

The bottom line is that legal issues still exist when what you are offering is not dentistry per se and you need professional indemnity; your usual policy may not cover you automatically for facial aesthetic treatment. Always ensure you protect the practice and cover the legal obligations of you and your team. While the insurance you choose might be negotiable, having some is not!

Established in 2014, the Botulinum Toxin Club (BTC) is a facial aesthetics training workshop in the UK. To find out more, visit www.botulinumtoxinclub.co.uk