Dr Harry Singh offers insight for dentists interested in getting started in this growing area of clinical care.

Why might you want to expand your clinical skill-set to offer facial aesthetics? Well, certainly it is a growing field and it appears to be recession-proof. In 2005, £720m was spent on treatments such as Botox. By 2010 this had reached £2.3bn and last year a whopping £3.6bn was paid out by patients looking for non-surgical rejuvenation.

Benefits of facial aesthetics

Many patients prefer non surgical procedures compared to surgical procedures for a number of reasons:

  • More affordable – patients don’t have to invest in a large one lump sum payment. With facial aesthetics its more regular smaller affordable payments
  • Minimally invasive treatment – the public are past the fake look. They want the natural look that complements them. Not a ‘wind tunnel’ look that looks artificial and others will notice immediately
  • Recovery times and side effects – we are all busy people. We cant take weeks off to have a surgical procedure. The public are demanding quick, hassle-free procedures so they can resume their hectic lifestyle as soon as possible.

Combining both

The commonality between cosmetic dentistry and facial aesthetics is that the patient is the driving force behind their requests. Both modalities are ‘want’ driven and not ‘need’ driven. No one needs cosmetic dentistry or facial aesthetics!

Why dentists should consider facial aesthetics?

We regularly perform injections several times a day. We are comfortable in this procedure and have mastered how to give injections as comfortable as possible. Dentists are experts in the facial anatomy and structures. We spend hours everyday performing in this region.

Our patients trust us. We have empathy and have built rapport with them. We can offer facial aesthetics in a secure and controlled environment.

In my experience, patients that have undertaken facial aesthetics are more inclined to explore cosmetic dental procedures and vice versa, my cosmetic dental patients were eager to explore the benefits of facial aesthetic treatments.

Finances are a compelling reason but that’s not all you need. Consider why you want to do it and whether that is a good enough basis upon which to build a successful facial aesthetics business. In essence, success relies upon three components:

  1. Attraction – you need to attract patients
  2. Conversion – you need to convert them
  3. Retention – you need to keep them coming back.

Who can practise?

In theory, because of a lack of regulation, anyone can carry out facial aesthetic treatments. However, in terms of botulinum toxin, because it is a prescription-only medicine (POM), you need to order it from a pharmacy. A pharmacy, of course, will only dispense a POM to a registered doctor or dentist, or a medical nurse with a prescriber’s number.

It is possible for an appropriately trained and indemnified dental hygienist or therapist to carry out a facial aesthetics procedure – but only once a dentist has assessed the patient, ordered the toxin and written instructions have been given. It is important to note that dental nurses may not perform facial aesthetic treatment.

Training matters

Anyone interested in practising will need to attend an approved and accredited course for insurance purposes, such as those offered by the Botulinum Toxin Club.

Courses such as these also make sure all of your paperwork is ready to go; the idea is for delegates to be able to start practising immediately. This is because statistics suggest that if you make use of a new skill within 24 hours of learning it, you will be 80% more successful.

Certainly the implementation of a new skill is hardest at the beginning, as you still need to build your confidence, so a good course will offer on-going support.

It is also important to train your team, so that they can use appropriate language during any conversations about facial aesthetics.

Indemnification information

Which company indemnifies you will make a difference to your coverage and fees. Check with your dental indemnifiers first.

Alternatively, you can use specific indemnity companies for facial aesthetics, such as Hamilton Fraser and Cosmetic Insure.

The bottom line is that you need to get indemnified; your usual policy will not cover you automatically for facial aesthetic treatment.

Prescription savings

As mentioned earlier, you can only obtain botulinum toxin with a prescription (please note, you can only administer the POM to the named person on the prescription).

Fillers do not need to be acquired using a prescription but I often do so nonetheless because if you obtain it via a prescription you do not have to pay VAT, thereby saving 20%. However, some companies that sell fillers directly to clinicians will have offers from time to time, so do always compare prices to see what works out to be the cheapest each time you want to place an order.

Marketing strategy

With facial aesthetics you need to make yourself stand out. As we have already touched upon, there are a lot of dentists, doctors and nurses who are allowed to perform such treatment, as well as, sadly, those who aren’t, such as beauticians!

In some ways, the easy part is performing the clinical procedures; the truth is, dentists are not going to have any trouble in this regard. Where dentists – and doctors – tend to struggle is the marketing. There is a temptation to copy everyone else in the marketplace but that, of course, doesn’t give you an edge.

I believe in the three Ms of marketing:

  1. Market – who is your target market? You need to choose to whom you want to promote your service. Might it be ‘ladies who lunch’, people who are about to get married or, perhaps, the newly divorced? In general, for younger clients you would perform more toxin treatments, while for older generations a greater number of fillers will be wanted
  2. Message – this is about how you convey your message to the public. Think about what you would answer in 30 seconds to the question: ‘What do you do?’ Most people would probably respond with: ‘I’m a dentist’, or, ‘I do Botox’, etc. The problem is you are saying the product is what you are. What you need to convey instead is the value you offer to patients. Your answer needs to incorporate:
    • What is the problem? Think: ‘You know how some people are concerned about fine lines and wrinkles?’
    • Why the problem exists. Consider: ‘It makes them appear older than they actually are’
    • The unique solution. A generic response to overcome objections like: ‘I offer safe, natural-looking results/techniques’
    • Why choose me? ‘I’m a dentist,’ or, ‘I’m a dentist so I know all about head and neck anatomy’
    • Call to action. Say: ‘If you know anyone who might be interested, here’s my card.’
  3. Medium – what marketing medium are you going to use? Joint ventures work well, in my experience. This is where your target market is already spending time or money to look good, so you might want to partner with a beauty spa or a gym. Internet marketing also works; a dedicated website works better than a section on your dental practice website. This is because prospective facial aesthetics patients may well be afraid of the dentist. In addition, it makes you look like you are focusing solely on facial aesthetics.

It is important to note that whatever form your marketing takes, you must not use the word ‘Botox’ in any material aimed at patients.

In your hands

It is absolutely true that facial aesthetics not only improves patients’ self-esteem but also offers clinicians a confidence and financial boost. To get started you need to choose an accredited course, make sure you’re indemnified, have a mentor, understand the medicolegal requirements, and be able offer all treatments in a safe and ethical manner. After that, everything you need to achieve treatment success is in your hands.

Botulinum Toxin Club

Created by aesthetician and dentist Dr Harry Singh, the Botulinum Toxin Club offers dentists the opportunity to attend accredited clinical workshops in toxin and dermal fillers. In addition, one free team member is allowed to attend per delegate as an observer, to help further your pursuit of facial aesthetic success.

Offering support before, during and after the workshop, you can be sure that everything will be in place to allow you to concentrate on treating facial aesthetic patients.

For further information on the Botulinum Toxin Club please visit www.botulinumtoxinclub.co.uk. Alternatively, email [email protected].