You’ve already made the decision to soften those frown lines and crow’s feet with injection cosmetics, so your next step is finding an experienced and properly trained practitioner. As more people seek out this procedure, more businesses are offering it as an add-on service, but this is not always a great idea. Skin centers and even dentists are offering BOTOX, sometimes at prices that are lower than their costs in order to entice customers. But, while adding BOTOX and fillers like Juvederm to the mix may help a dentist’s bottom line, is it really a good idea?
Is BOTOX Within the Scope of Dental Practice?
There is no national uniform regulation on dentistry and BOTOX and/or fillers. It’s handled by each state’s dental board, and the policies are a mixed bag. At least 20 state dental boards, including Maryland’s, have given their approval to dentists wishing to administer BOTOX (botulinum toxins) for cosmetic use or for a specific dental operation, says the American Dental Association (ADA). But not everyone is on board. The Virginia state dental board has deemed that the use of BOTOX for cosmetic facial treatments is not within the scope of practice of general dentistry, but is limited to the practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery. And in West Virginia, the state dental board says the use of BOTOX and other dermal fillers “must be limited to the oral and maxillofacial area. Dentists are further limited based on the specific education and training received for providing these services.”
Are Dentists Properly Trained to Administer BOTOX?
Dentists and oral surgeons have used BOTOX for years to treat temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), and their training does include face and neck anatomy, and how to administer anesthesia. And while some states have approved the use of BOTOX by dentists for cosmetic purposes, the approval comes with important caveats. For instance, in Massachusetts, dentists who want to administer BOTOX and fillers must be board certified in oral and maxillofacial surgery or have completed a minimum of eight hours of training in the administration of botulinum toxins and/or derma fillers that includes instruction in the anatomy of head and neck, neurophysiology, patient selection, pharmacological effects and contraindications, management of complications, informed consent and hands-on training on the procedure. The training must be offered by an ADA-approved continuing education provider or another nationally recognized and accredited entity approved by the state’s dental board.
Are Dentists Comfortable Doing BOTOX Injections?
Even dentists themselves are split on the BOTOX question. In its recent survey of metro DC-area dentists, Washingtonian Magazine reports that 45 percent said dentists who are properly trained should be allowed to do BOTOX injections, while 25 percent were against it and the rest checked “maybe” when asked if it should be allowed.
Trust a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
If you wouldn’t go to a plastic surgeon for a root canal, you should think twice about going to your dentist for BOTOX. Some dentists are adept and more experienced in giving injections, and some are not. It takes a highly trained and skilled hand to inject BOTOX in the proper depth and the precise dose. Also, you need to consider the frequency that your provider uses the product. A plastic surgeon’s office will typically handle hundreds of treatments a year while a dentist may only handle a few. Familiarity with the product will mean better results and prevent patients from ending up with a “frozen” look, or worse. So, before you say yes to BOTOX at your next teeth cleaning appointment, check your dentist’s credentials closely.