When dentists are thought of from an outside perspective, we’re often regarded as the men and women who know teeth. We’re generalized, minimized, and profiled as professionals who only known crowns, cuspids, and cavities, but this pigeonholing isn’t only performed by our patients—we often do it ourselves. We often exclude and limit the services that we offer based on these professional stereotypes, preventing us from not only offering a more expansive treatment regimen but from expanding our personal and professional breadth as well. So, if you’re not already offering facial enhancements to your patients, I anticipate that, by the end of this post, you’ll have found some irrefutable reasons to do so.
While the introduction of facial enhancement treatments in cosmetic dentistry has been slow and more and more dentists are picking up the practice, I’ve found that it is still a stigmatized practice amongst many industry professionals. “Leave the poking and prodding to the plastics,” we often think, and I’ve thought in the past, too. We may find ourselves unable, unqualified, or unprepared to present it as treatment option. In reality, with education, we are capable, we are qualified, we are prepared, and we are certainly more than talented enough. This post serves to remind us of those facts, and to offer up the motivation to act on them.
We certainly do spend a majority of our time looking at teeth, and regardless of our dental discipline or preference, the majority of our work does strictly involve the oral cavity. Our education, however, wasn’t strictly limited to teeth. We learned about the entire orofacial region: the muscles and the bones, the form and the function. The depth of our knowledge from our original learnings includes a strong foundation upon which we can structure facial enhancement treatments to our patients. At my practice, we often preach that the smile is the foundation and the buttress of a face’s youthful look. We practice that proclamation by extending our cosmetic reach through the use of facial enhancements.
One of the wonderful things about introducing facial enhancements to treatment plans is that the work is relatively easy. My practice performs facial injections on a consistent and most likely a daily basis, and we are certainly well-trained in their application. Picking up the administration of facial enhancements, especially for dentists experienced in the delivery of local anesthetics, does not have a steep learning curve. Many organizations offer courses to help dentists and physicians qualify and legitimize as administrators of facial enhancements. These organizations find us capable of the practice and agree that we should be able to administer, with many state boards siding with this argument. If the academies and organizations we identify ourselves by have faith in our competence as practitioners, why do we continue to exclude ourselves from offering these types of treatments?
Beyond excelling as a lateral treatment option in cosmetic dentistry, facial enhancements, specifically neurotoxins like BOTOX®, can be used as an alternative treatment for TMD, and while treatments are presently off-label, evidence strongly supports the notion that it is a viable treatment option. The comfort and care offered by using facial enhancements cannot be ignored and neither can the value it builds with the patients to whom we offer them.
While our relationships with our patients should come first and foremost, we simply can’t deny the cost benefit of offering facial enhancements to our patients. The profit margin can lean heavily in our favor, all while allowing us to offer the best treatments available to our patients at a reasonable price. The mandate to offer this treatment is in its math.
Exploring new avenues and methodologies of treatment not only improves the lives of our patients, but improves our lives as well. We stay active, we stay committed, and we keep to our Hippocratic Oath. We respect the hard-won scientific gains of our predecessors, and we apply, for the benefit of the patient, all measures which are required. Offering facial enhancements should no longer be a question or a cause, it should be a dental standard.
Whether you agree or disagree with my statements, I’d love to hear more from you. Sound off in the comments below and let me know what you think!
Nicholas Navarro, DDS