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Cosmetic dentistry faces closer scrutiny

Cosmetic dentistry could face tighter regulations and closer government scrutiny as a result of an independent review into such procedures.

Commissioned by the government following the recent PIP breast implant scandal, the review suggests that dermal fillers should only be available by prescription. Furthermore, clinicians must be properly registered in order to carry out this type of cosmetic surgery.

This is a particular area of concern for dental practices throughout the UK, as the use of dermal fillers is a procedure increasingly carried out by them. Yet the report stated most injections of this kind have no more controls “than a bottle of floor cleaner”.

The report said: “Anyone can set themselves up as a practitioner, with no requirement for knowledge, training or previous experience. Nor are there sufficient checks in place with regard to product quality.”

And as there has been an explosive growth in this market – driven by a combination of high demand and high profits in an era when all other commercial income is stalling – the report fears that dermal filler surgery is a “crisis waiting to happen”.

As previous attempts at self-regulation within the industry have failed, the report is recommending a series of measures to safeguard the practice.

In addition, it also sets out how the government would like to see the sector better regulated, practitioners trained and for patients to have access to correct forms of redress in the event of a complaint.

But more importantly, the review aims to put patients at the centre of safety to ensure they have the same net that NHS patients have and are offered support in the event of a cosmetic surgery procedure going wrong.

The British Dental Association welcomed the review into cosmetic intervention in the interest of patient safety and Martin Fallowfield, the chair of the committee, said the organisation would be studying the findings carefully to see how the sector could be better regulated.

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