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The Practicalities Of Self-Regulating Non-Surgical Treatment

Aug 18, 2008
As the technology of non-surgical procedures continues to evolve, so does the accessibility and availability of such treatments. Now a trip to the dentist can not only mean a whiter set of teeth, but allegedly younger looking skin.

An increasing number of dental practices are offering non-surgical treatments such as chemical peels and even fillers. Fillers are a non-surgical treatment using injections into the lips, cheeks or chin to enhance or reshape. One of the most popular treatments is the administration of Botulinum toxin, more commonly referred to as Botox.

This has caused some concern, as although dentists are medical professionals and have experience of using needles they have not been subject to the same specialist training as cosmetic doctors. With the increasing number of non-medical treatments on offer such as beauty salons, there has been concern expressed regarding the non-regulated nature of non-surgical cosmetic treatments.

The government expressed a serious concern about this issue and contacted Sally Taber of the Independent Healthcare Advisory Services or IHAS to make recommendations for self-regulation. Many medical professionals saw this as the government passing the buck as incorrect cosmetic procedures, even non-surgical treatment can potentially leave people scarred or worse.

David Bloom is President Elect of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentists or BACD and he stated in November 2007 that, although dentists might have transferrable skills that could be used in certain non-surgical treatments, they should not undertake these procedures without the correct training. The government requested that the IHAS draw up guidelines of self-regulation to ensure that patients are protected against malpractice.

Technically patients should be protected by the Medicines Act and the Health and Safety At Work Act Part 3. The problem lies that there is no trade body or organisation to provide training, maintain information and communicate best practice to its members. The only way currently to ensure that treatment is delivered to an acceptable level of safety and efficiency is to go to a cosmetic doctor.

The IHAS drew up a recommended action plan in March 2008 stating that by the summer a registration scheme for self-regulation would be underway, this has not happened. Despite world-renowned medical professionals from cosmetics and dermatology speaking about the potential dangers of unregulated non-surgical treatment, there has been no legislative response.

In July this year, the General Dental Council or GDC stated that they are unable to regulate non-surgical treatment because it is not a general dentistry matter. The attraction of non-surgical treatment from dentists and beauticians is the cost. There is no regulation of the products that are being used, which is another major concern of the specialists in cosmetic medicine.

One London based cosmetic surgeon stated that although dentists in theory can be trained to administer non-surgical treatment they do not have the systems of consultation that allow for optimum care, neither do they have the necessary skill and experience to achieve optimum results in procedures such as fillers.
About the Author
Shaun Parker is an expert in non-surgical treatment and has years of experience in cosmetic medicine.
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