Harry Singh considers the synergistic role of the dentist and facial aesthetics clinicians, and how this can be leveraged to keep patients safe and increase profits.
Earlier this year, when Botulinum Toxin Club (BTC) graduates gathered for a celebratory party. It got me thinking about the ups and downs of offering facial aesthetic treatments. And the creating and maintaining a profitable business. On a personal level, I love being a facial aesthetics practitioner – and BTC’s 1,500 or so graduates do, too.
Part of this is that we have been able to add to our dental skillset in an organic manner. Offering our patients a greater level of service than ever. You might ask why dentistry wasn’t enough for us. The truth is, it isn’t so much about it not being enough. After all, the vast majority of us love being dental professionals and keep that going. It’s more that we need to bridge a regulatory gap.
Bridging the facial aesthetics gap
The thing is, while I wouldn’t go as far as to call facial aesthetics a regulatory black hole, what does exist falls far short of what any healthcare professional would call ‘best practice’.
Yes, there is some regulation, in the form of the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners’ (JCCP) Competency Framework. This replaced the Health Education England framework on education and training standards produced in the wake of the Keogh report (Keogh, 2013).
The reality, however, has not changed. Although it is very difficult for non-clinicians to meet the JCCP’s requirements, it is not impossible. For now non-clinicians can perform facial aesthetic treatments that don’t require a prescription (for example, botulinum toxin would be excluded).
Testament to this problem, eight out of 10 dissatisfied facial aesthetic patients were treated by a beautician, hairdresser, or other non-medical/non-dental professional (Save Face, 2018).
Safety is key
Perhaps the scariest thing about all of this is that the public are largely unaware of the dangers. Even – to my surprise – a dentist. Featured in a few tabloids in October, she had a poor lip filler experience through someone not up to par. This motivated her to train in facial aesthetics so she could help her patients avoid suffering in the same way.
There is the heart of the matter. To those who think perhaps we dentists have no business offering facial aesthetic treatments, only by advancing our skillset with appropriate postgraduate education can we ensure our patients in pursuit of things like fillers, peels and laser treatment stay safe.
Of course, it is extremely important for dentists to learn about non-surgical facial aesthetics from the best possible people. And commit to ongoing development in the area.
BTC will only train appropriately educated medical and dental professionals. The company offers a syllabus that ensures delegates can set up their own practice, gain employment in a cosmetic clinic, or simply offer aesthetic treatments to their patients with confidence.
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Published first in Dentistry magazine. If interested in signing up to receive Dentistry magazine, visit www.fmc.co.uk.