Offering facial aesthetics to our patients

Claire Berry argues the case for hygienists and therapists providing facial aesthetics.

I am a Dental Hygienist and I love my job. However, with limited career progression I wanted to pursue additional skills and grow a business. Offering facial aesthetic treatments appealed to me as an alternative to detailed OHI, lengthy periodontal treatments and conversations about gum health.

I feel strongly that, following appropriate and comprehensive training, Hygienists and Therapists are extremely well placed to provide facial aesthetics. In my opinion Dentists, Dental Hygienists and Therapists are - dare I say it - the best placed clinicians to do these kinds of treatments. We have detailed, working knowledge of head and neck anatomy. After all, our daily role is looking after the head and neck in a number of ways.

Some people may query our suitability for an active role in providing facial aesthetics. I would argue that we follow the same syllabus as dental students at dental school and University when it comes to the anatomy; we have extensive knowledge of medical conditions and how these conditions and medications can affect the body; we inject patients on a daily basis and work in a clinical environment; we are trained in HTM0105, as all other dental staff have to be; we have to undergo annual CPR and medical emergency training; we have access to emergency drugs and oxygen within the clinical setting; we are registered dental professionals and clinicians, held accountable for our actions by the GDC.

Dental Hygienists working on a private basis can easily incorporate aesthetics into their everyday role as they will not have UDA’s to chase and targets to reach. I have days in the week where I offer only facial aesthetic treatment. Other days in the week are allocated to periodontal therapy or maintenance interspersed with whitening treatments, dermal fillers, aesthetic reviews and anti-wrinkle injections or consultations working alongside my prescribing Dentist (all POM's are prescribed to the patient by the GDP and referred to me on an individual basis). My mixed days are very varied with dental and aesthetic work which is great for me. However, I will not give up my dental career because I have worked so hard to get to where I am and I am passionate about what I do.

Another major factor that leads me to believe we are very well placed to incorporate aesthetics into our role is our adherence to CQC and GDC guidelines. In a dental setting, or any other location for that matter, we know to practice to this high standard in every aspect of our care. I welcome the strict nature of the GDC (and also the CQC for that matter), as it ensures a high standard to keep us all safe and competent practitioners and in the world of aesthetics, a market that is becoming saturated, I believe all these reasons ensure our profession ‘stands out’ from the crowd.



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