Considering offering facial aesthetics? Read this first

on 30th April 2018

Uma Jeyanathan draws on her experience as a dental surgeon practising facial aesthetics to provide advice for dentists thinking of doing the same

Facial aesthetic treatments and skin care have seen significant development and technologically advancement in recent years, so it is understandable the interest and popularity has concurrently increased.

Dental surgeons are well positioned to administer facial aesthetic treatments, with in-depth anatomical knowledge and clinical surgical exposure to orofacial structures. Therefore, extending their repertoire into this important field would seem a natural progression for some dental clinicians.

There are now a significant number of dentists that are motivated and dedicated to have undertaken specialised training and development to offer facial aesthetics. But what attracts our profession to this diverse and fulfilling speciality?

The opportunity to expand on key underpinning knowledge, as well as developing a new skill set, makes aesthetic work most endearing to some dental surgeons. Facial aesthetics and skin care procedures are elective treatments; thus, patients have the opportunity to carefully seek out an appropriately experienced and passionate practitioner.

Furthermore, unlike a proportion of patients who require dental intervention and care, often the person seeking aesthetic services has a different outlook. I usually find that this is a combination of excitement and positivity. This is a very different mindset to the patients that view dental treatments negatively, or may even have a historical fear of the dentist.

Patient satisfaction and happiness is one of the most rewarding parts of aesthetics. As dentists, it is important to have empathy and actively listen to our patients concerns, pain and problems. If we can endeavour to bring those skills and forge them to understanding the patient with facial aesthetic and skin concerns, then this can flourish from delivering happiness to also impact on improving lives, confidence and self-esteem.

Why would a dentist be good at facial aesthetics?

As dentists, our clinical knowledge of the facial region is outstanding. We look at soft tissues, skeletal patterns, and facial profile, and integrate this to a foundation of key anatomical knowledge. This all goes into the process of treatment planning for the face.

When learning the new skills in facial aesthetic care, dentists often find the development and integration easier than other healthcare professionals. In addition to the core knowledge base, dentists inherently use their hands for meticulous work on a daily basis.

Allied skills such as injecting and using fine instruments are integrally built into the dentist’s muscle memory. This is an essential skill when injecting toxins and dermal fillers, allowing for precision and accuracy, with the development of an artistic flair.

As clinicians adhere to high standards of safety, cross-infection and governance, the clinical professionalism we directly transfer from our dental practice to facial aesthetics allows further for excellence in quality care. There is a unique triad that dentists offer in aesthetic care:

Successful implementation

Many dentists have often, through curiosity and continuous professional development, completed injectable toxin and filler courses and have thus acquired the initial skills in their armamentarium. This author has an inherent passion regarding skincare and facial aesthetics and I have invested a great amount of care ensuring it blends into my dental practise.

It is often a challenge to have this all seamlessly existing in a synergistic relationship. This has been a challenging – yet enjoyable and thoroughly rewarding – learning curve.

If you want to spend the majority of your clinical time treating the face, then an appreciation of the competition in the industry must be understood. This is surprisingly not only from other doctors, dentists or nurses. A significant proportion of facial treatment is still delivered by a cohort with no regulatory body. As clinicians, we must always aspire to provide exceptional results and truly believe in the arena.

“We have no need to compete with the unregulated cohort in the industry. By utilising what we have as medical professionals, we provide a far safer and superior treatment care package”

First and foremost, we are clinicians, and the skin care and facial aesthetics we perform is part of our clinical medical profession. Thus, treating this area of our speciality as an extension of our clinical work only provides a robust, professional delivery of medical care.

During a patient focus group I carried out for market research, it was very apparent that trust and confidence was enormously increased due to the confidence placed in the dental surgeon’s clinical background and the clinical environment they were treated in.

Hence, we have no need to compete with the unregulated cohort in the industry. By utilising what we have as medical professionals, such as our robust regulatory and validation prerequisites like GDC number, CQC-regulated practice, incorporated policies, and medical emergency equipment on site, we provide a far safer and superior treatment care package.

Another regulating body, which is at the forefront of ensuring that the industry is safe, furthermore strongly supports dentists, is Save Face. Having a government-approved register, which stringently examines your clinic and you as a clinician, gives patients the peace of mind they need in order to make an informed comfortable decision over cosmetic treatments.

The concept works well for marketing too, as patients can leave reviews and learn more about the clinic and procedures. Organisations such as Save Face are a good start for profiling your clinic as an aesthetic hub and launching it in a safe and reputable way.

The right staff, the right patient

The main hurdle within a dental practice is to make the facial aesthetics and skin care area of practice understood amongst all staff members. The in-depth appreciation and ‘buy-in’ from staff members allows patients to both realise it is available in their dental practice, but also to build a seamless fluid transfer of clinical professionalism between dental surgery and facial aesthetics.

The easiest way for staff members to gain an understanding of the treatments is to perform the facial aesthetic treatments on them – with their consent of course. Once they believe in you and the treatments, they will be your biggest endorsing assets.

The partnerships I create with my patients look to create a journey of skin care enhancement. I have aspired to propagate  excitement and fulfilment throughout this journey. We all have attributes that will attract a specific cohort for our aesthetic services. It is essential that we find our niche to better our market.

My aim is to provide natural aesthetics with a holistic approach; the focus is on skin vibrancy and radiance with gentle intervention. I have experienced these treatments, and thus can speak from experience when describing procedures, as well as empathise with particular anxieties or events. I have tailored my aesthetic services around standard working hours, thus offering late appointments and personal phone calls and emails, to ensure busy patients are fulfilled and questions are answered. This has proven essential in growing the aesthetic business.

Love what you do

The facial aesthetics industry is fascinating – both growing and moving at a rapid rate. If you truly are passionate about the field of aesthetics, the progressive nature will keep you continuously interested. Know each patient sincerely, learn the basics well, understand your anatomy and ensure each case is treatment planned well and reviewed diligently.

Practice is the key to mastering any clinical procedure, so the more you do the more you will progress. Being committed to growing this aspect of the practice and giving yourself a new patient target each week will aid progression.

In conclusion, our dental cadre are fortunate to have a robust knowledge base and a number of core clinical, professional, governance, and assurance skills, which provide an excellent foundation to incorporate facial aesthetic practice.

Although there are administrative and business hurdles to overcome, a multifaceted approach on careful planning, checklists, staff and infrastructure development, along with a good permanent dose of positive, personal energy towards skin care and aesthetics will integrate our dental practice to thrive further.

This is an abridged version of an article originally published in the August 2017 issue of Aesthetic Dentistry Today. Read more articles like this in Aesthetic Dentistry Today and gain three hours’ verifiable CPD with every issue. Click here to subscribe or call 01923 851 777. Get in touch via Twitter @AesDenToday or

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