Dentists are giving their patients Botox injections and lip enhancements for cosmetic purposes despite regulations stating they should use the procedures only to treat dental problems.
A dentist who heads the Australian Academy of Dento-Facial Aesthetics, Myles Holt, says he has trained more than 150 Australian and New Zealand dentists to inject Botox and dermal fillers into a patient’s lips, cheeks, forehead and gums.
Under rules set by the Dental Board of Australia, which regulates the dental profession, dentists should use Botox only to treat a condition that causes facial pain and teeth grinding.
The toxic protein, derived from the botulinum bacteria, works by weakening targeted muscles. This can ease spasms, tension and pain, as well as reduce wrinkles and other signs of ageing.
The Sun-Herald understands Allergan, the Australian supplier of Botox, is receiving daily calls from dentists who want to purchase the drug, many of whom have taken Dr Holt’s course.
”I currently administer Botox to my patients, mainly because I and my patients were dissatisfied with the results received elsewhere and we knew we could get better results by combining our cosmetic dentistry with enhancing the surrounding tissues all in one place and at one appointment,” Dr Holt said.
”We had numerous cases where patients’ dentistry was affected by the poor lip enhancements they received from GPs who didn’t understand the nuances of smile design.”
Allergan insists it supplies the restricted drug in accordance with the dental board’s policy but Dr Holt, who admits to using it for cosmetic purposes, says the pharmaceutical company is his main supplier.
By law, Botox is only allowed to be administered by doctors, and nurses who are under the supervision of a doctor, if they can prove a ”therapeutic need”.
However, it is widely used for cosmetic purposes.
Dr Holt says dentists have superior knowledge of facial anatomy and he has lodged a complaint with the dental board about its ”fundamentally flawed” rules, arguing the use of Botox by dentists is common practice in Asia, the US and parts of Europe.
Doctors argue dentists lack the medical training to give Botox injections. The president of the Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia, Gabrielle Caswell, said: ”It is a medical procedure not a dental procedure and there are enough trained medical practitioners who can do it so there’s really no need for dentists to be doing it.”
However, Dr Holt said doctors were only concerned about dentists encroaching on their turf. He said doctors also freely administer Botox for cosmetic purposes despite laws stating a therapeutic need must first be established.
A spokeswoman for the dental board said: ”The board expects registered practitioners to comply with the standards and policies set by the board including interim policies.”