Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Jersey Rules Illustrate Why We Need Restrictions on Cosmetic Procedures

The New Jersey State Board of Dentistry promulgated rules that restrict the delivery of cosmetic procedures by dentists in the State.  New Jersey is known as a "bell weather" state - meaning that other states typically follow legal precedent started in New Jersey.

The new rules state that dentists can do injectable pharmacologics only in the perio-oral area — the gums, cheeks, jaws, lips, oral cavity and associated tissues.  This makes sense as these areas are consistent with the training and experience of dentists.  Predictably, many dentists are outraged by this but the bottom line is that the use of injectables is outside the scope of their license and training.  Procedures such as the wrinkle relaxer Botox Cosmetic, and the dermal fillers such as Juvederm and Restlyane are either prescription (Botox Cosmetic) or a medical device and it is arguably appropriate to limit the use to medical professionals and not dentists.

The new rules are a  bit vague and their are categories of "dentists" that are exempt. For example, maxi lo - facial physicians and oral surgeons are technically medical doctors and not dentists. The term "associated tissue" is also vague.

Many dentists consider the forehead to be an "associated tissue," which would make forehead procedures legal for dentists. Some local dentists in New Jersey, citing their aptitude in the workings of the facial muscles and nerves, say they are more than qualified to offer the treatments.  However, this appears to be a stretch. The "associated tissue" area would preclude the forehead, said Jeff Lamm, spokesman for the Division of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the board of dentistry.

"These are practices of medicine and should be performed by physicians," said Dr. Bruce Brod, a dermatologist and member of the American Academy of Dermatology Association. "This isn't just about doing the procedure but also about making sure there are channels to protect patients if there are complications.

I agree with this new rule since a line must be drawn in the delivery of cosmetic medical procedures and dentists are on the wrong side of the line. However, this rule also illustrates that these procedures are cosmetic medical procedures and they should only b e delivered in medical settings and provided by medical providers.

I feel that regulations should go a step further and regulate the manufacturers such as Allergan (Botox Cosmetic).  There needs to be restrictions on who they can SELL the products to....

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