You let your dental hygienist poke, prod, anesthetize and drill at all the sensitive places in your mouth. You let your gynecologist examine and meticulously measure every inch of your body. So would you let your dentist or OB give you Botox, too?
That's the hotly-debated question amongst medical professionals these days, often deemed a "turf war," with dentists and gynecologists are trying to argue that filler injections are within the scope of their practices.
Many dentists are now advertising cosmetic Botox and dermal filler treatments in addition to their traditional job of tending to your pearly whites. They say smile makeovers, combining teeth whitening, porcelain veneers and even Botox to "kiss those laugh lines goodbye," have become a popular dental option for patients looking to improve their smile.
"As a dentist, I'm very well-trained in the musculature and anatomy of the face and I feel no other doctor can give an injection better than a qualified and experienced dentist," Dr. Michael Skadron, who began offering Botox and Juvederm treatments in January at his West River Dental Care in south Minneapolis, told the Star Tribune. "It's a marvelous fit."
Similarly, gynecologists are cropping up and offering services that have nothing to do with the female reproductive anatomy. They're starting to fill the face, lips, cheekbones, chin and frown lines between the brows.
"A lot of these doctors are not familiar with the anatomy of the face, and the muscles of facial expression -- they are just out to make cash," Dr. Leonard Tachmes told TotalBeauty.com. "They do a course for a few days and off they go injecting patients, but it takes more than just learning how to inject."
Still, the practice is not without its problems. ABC7 recently profiled a woman who was left with a temporarily deformed-looking eye after receiving Botox from her dentist friend. Other complaints from faulty injections include temporary blindness, swelling of the eyelids and trouble swallowing or breathing.
"We don't actually track complaints about Botox, but I think to say it's anarchy is a little bit excessive," Dr. Brian Zachariah, chief medical coordinator at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, told ABC7.
Dentists have been using Botox safely and effectively to treat dental problems such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved its use to prevent headaches in adult patients with chronic migraines. According to the Medical Center For Female Sexuality, gynecologists have also successfully used Botox on women with Vaginismus. The drug relaxes a patient’s abnormally tightened muscles, which causes painful intercourse or prevents tampon use.
The bottom line is that plastic surgeons agree it takes a highly trained and skilled hand to inject Botox in proper depth and precise dose. So before you say yes to Botox at your annual pap smear or teeth cleaning, check your doctor’s credentials closely. Dr. Semira Bayati, a board certified surgeon in Newport Beach, Calif., told HealthNewsDigest.com: Only a surgeon who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery -- the only plastic surgery board recognized by the American Medical Association -- should be performing these aesthetic procedures.