Aim Recently, more and more dentists have found themselves engaging in the delivery of non-surgical facial aesthetics (NSFA) as part of their regular practice routine. NSFA is a growing field in aesthetic medicine that is practised by a range of clinicians including doctors, dentists and registered prescriber nurses and is an industry estimated to be worth over £3 billion in the UK alone. In the past few years, several public scandals in aesthetic medicine have prompted reactions by several bodies including the Government and Royal Colleges. With Health Education England (HEE) having recently released standards in education, it is clear that a shift in attitude towards training is imminent. With a large volume of dentists making up this NSFA workforce it is reasonable to consider the stance of undergraduate training and the relevance of the existing knowledge within dentistry in the context of the HEE standards.
Method All dental schools in the UK were contacted to establish the range of subjects taught within the curriculum, with particular reference to those relevant to NSFA. The two largest aesthetic pharmacies were contacted regarding numbers of registered dentists they serve.
Results Twelve out of 16 dental schools responded. Two-thirds of responding dental schools do not cover NSFA in their curricula. However, many dental schools cover related subjects including: facial anatomy/material science/neuromuscular junction physiology (100%), anatomy of the aging face (66%), pharmacology of botulinum toxin (25%) and ethical-legal implications of aesthetic dentistry/NSFA (50%/42% respectively).
Conclusion Dentists are well placed to deliver NSFA given their background in relevant subjects and surgical training. With the emergence and growth of such a large multi-disciplinary field it is crucial that dentistry is not left behind. Just as most dental schools have embraced the evolution of cosmetic dentistry and implantology, it would be prudent to consider that training standards around NSFA are reflected in both undergraduate curricula and appropriate post-graduate clinical training for dentistry.