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Dentists providing cosmetic injectables to require licence

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An amendment to the Health and Care Bill currently before the British parliament would see the potential introduction of a licensing programme for providers of cosmetic filler procedures. (Image: dimid_86/Shutterstock)

LONDON, UK: A steady rise in the popularity of non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as injections of dermal fillers and botulinum toxin has resulted in UK dental practices increasingly offering these services. A new amendment to the Health and Care Bill currently before the British parliament would see the introduction of a licensing scheme for the performing of such procedures. Though the details are yet to be ironed out, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid has stated that the scheme would provide “patient safety by making it an offence for someone to perform these cosmetic procedures without a licence”.

In a clinical dental context, a substance like botulinum toxin can be injected into overactive muscles to reduce their activity levels. As a result, it has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorders, and even to promote the osseointegration of dental implants. However, its positioning as a purely cosmetic procedure has become increasingly common in recent years, leading to multiple governmental and regulatory bodies issuing reports and warnings.

In July last year, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing released a report with 17 recommendations regarding the provision of these procedures, including the proposed establishment of a licensing scheme. This was followed months later by the outlawing of the injection of dermal fillers and cosmetic botulinum toxin treatment, along with their advertising, for under-18-year-olds.

The new amendment to the Health and Care Bill would provide the health and social care secretary with the ability to create a licensing programme for providers of these cosmetic filler procedures. According to the Department of Health and Social Care, the breadth and detail of this programme “will be determined via extensive engagement including a public consultation”.

“While most of those in the aesthetics industry follow good practice when it comes to patient safety, far too many people have been left emotionally and physically scarred after botched cosmetic procedures,” said Javid.

He continued: “We’re doing all we can to protect patients from potential harm, but I urge anyone considering a cosmetic procedure to take the time to think about the impact on both their physical and mental health and ensure they are using a reputable, safe and qualified practitioner.”

Last year, the British Dental Association (BDA) cautioned dentists to make sure that they are appropriately insured to provide certain filler procedures to their patients.

“Our policyholders are indemnified for the use and administration of facial cosmetic injectable procedures above the lower border of the mandible,” noted Dr Len D’Cruz, head of indemnity at the BDA.

“The use of injectable cosmetic treatments in the perioral area is a useful adjunct to dental treatment when provided by a suitably trained dentist. In addition, your patients are protected by your indemnity arrangements and a process for managing complaints if anything should go wrong,” he added.

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