BCAM: representing you in aesthetic medicine

Earlier this year, the British College of Aesthetic Medicine (BCAM) opened its doors to dentists. Sophie Hatton takes a look at the association, and its potential benefits for dental professionals

Formed in 2001, the British College of Aesthetic Medicine exists to strengthen and encourage regulation in the aesthetic medicine industry, to make aesthetic medicine safer and more ethical for patients.

The association also works to advance the safe and ethical practise of aesthetic medicine for its members, and for the public. Previously only accepting aesthetic doctors as full members, in January this year, the BCAM opened its doors to dentists.

Representative body for dentists

Currently, the General Dental Council doesn’t offer guidance on the practise of non-dental aesthetic procedures, stating only that non-surgical cosmetic injectable treatments ‘do not represent the practise of dentistry’, and therefore do not fall under the GDC’s remit for regulation (Lewis, 2014).

Responding to a question about the GDC’s role in relation to dental professionals undertaking cosmetic treatments such as toxins or fillers, Matthew Hill, executive director, strategy of the General Dental Council, said:  

‘The provision of cosmetic services such as Botox or fillers falls outside of the practice of dentistry, and the GDC has no immediate remit regulating this activity.

‘However, we are conscious of increasing public concern about dental patients potentially being “ported” into unnecessary and possibly unwanted cosmetic treatment by dental professionals who are effectively trading on their title, and we are considering the regulatory implications of this issue.

‘And of course, where a dental professional’s conduct might have an impact on public confidence, whatever they are doing, it might raise questions about their fitness to practise.

‘Alongside these considerations we are working with the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners as they seek to establish a voluntary register in this area.’

With more and more dental practitioners adding non-surgical aesthetic procedures – such as dermal fillers and botulinum toxin treatments – to their armamentarium, the GDC’s restricted governance in the field not only leaves dental professionals unsure of medical aesthetics best practice, but vulnerable to potential dentolegal and medicolegal issues.

Regulating the industry

The BCAM is heavily involved in the push for regulation of the non-surgical aesthetics industry, working closely with the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners. The JCCP is a self-regulating body for the non-surgical aesthetic industry in England, which was formed following the publication of the government’s response to the Review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions (Keogh, 2013).

In the government’s response (Department of Health, 2014) the DoH rejected a number of recommendations made by Sir Bruce Keogh, including setting up a compulsory register of cosmetic practitioners; and recommendations to make dermal fillers prescription-only medical devices.

As such, there is a significant gap in the regulation of dental professionals performing aesthetic procedures, and this is where dentists can benefit from the BCAM’s expertise.

‘I am absolutely delighted that BCAM is now an organisation for doctors and dentists’, Dr Paul Charlson, BCAM president told Aesthetic Dentistry Today.

‘I think it’s important to include dentists because they currently don’t have a body to represent them in aesthetics.’

One of the most apparent benefits of the college for dentists is the opportunity to join the BCAM Academy, which promotes education in the field of aesthetic medicine, providing dentists with rigorous training, structured educational support, guidance, and advice.

The academy aims to increase education in patient-focused safety issues surrounding aesthetic medicine, encourage established aesthetic medicine practitioners to support new doctors and dentists in the profession, and provide approved and accredited CPD.

Dentists who are new to aesthetics will enter the BCAM through the BCAM Academy, and successful completion of the exit exam allows dentists to become associate members of the BCAM.

Ideas exchange

The acceptance of dentists into the BCAM, however, is expected to be a mutual learning and growth experience both for dental members, and for the association.

‘There is a huge number of dentists practising out there so it’s a good opportunity for them to really work with us and increase their skills and knowledge’, Dr Charlson explains.

‘From our point of view, as an organisation, it will strengthen our association, not just in terms of numbers but also in expertise. It gives us another way of looking at how we do things, because dentists are a great asset to aesthetics.’

For dentists currently practising non-surgical aesthetic medicine, or for those looking to enter the dynamic field, the BCAM is worthy of exploration, offering not only educational support alongside aesthetic doctors, but important regulatory guidance in a field where practitioners must tread extremely carefully.


Department of Health (2014) Government response to the Review of the regulation of cosmetic interventions

Keogh B (2013) Review of the regulation of cosmetic interventions

Lewis K (2014) Dento-legal aspects of non-surgical facial aesthetic procedures. Faculty Dental Journal 5(2): 68-73

For more information on the BCAM, visit bcam.ac.uk, email info@bcam.ac.uk, or call 01474 823 900. You can find the BCAM on Facebook (The British College of Aesthetic Medicine), Twitter (@BCAM01), and Instagram (britishcollegeofaestheticmed). 

This article was originally published in the August 2018 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 facebook.com/AesDenToday.

Sophie Hatton

Sophie Hatton

Author at Aesthetic Dentistry Today

Sophie is managing editor of the clinical journal, Aesthetic Dentistry Today. She has 10 years' experience in healthcare writing and editing. Email: sophie.hatton@fmc.co.uk Twitter: @FMCSophie

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