Dentistry with a Side of Botox?

K. Mathews on 18 Sep 2012 at 9:00am

Cosmetic dentistry is a phrase that usually describes things like teeth whitening and veneers, but some  dentists are broadening that term to include Botox. At RealSelf, we've always been advocates for visiting doctors within their respective specialties to achieve the best results - and on a matter of safety - but it's not uncommon for patients to opt for convenience in such a matter. It seems some patients are taking the opportunity to get wrinkle-hiding injections while getting their teeth checked out at the dentist’s office.

According to, while only a small percentage of patients are starting to take advantage of the Botox service in Canada, those who do cite convenience and its discreetness. The cost of Botox gets added to the dental bill and many patients don’t even tell their spouses about the bonus procedure.

One argument made in favor of the double-duty procedures is that Canadian dentists have used Botox to treat jaw pain and teeth grinding. Only recently, however, were the rules changed to permit dentists to use Botox cosmetically. The counter argument is that it's a blatant revenue booster for dentists, with risks for those in the chair. 

Warren Roberts leads several Botox workshops designed specifically for dentists to teach them how to administer the toxin, and feels dentists are a natural fit for the job, explaining, “The average dentist, in his first year, does more injections on awake patients who move and squirm than the average physician does in his whole life.” 

Maybe so, but we stand by the fact that doctors who administer Botox best are those with specialized training for the face. Data shows that people are significantly more satisfied with injections that have been performed by doctors who are board-certified for cosmetic medicine over other people who are legally allowed to do it. Take that into account before enlisting your dentist to do your Botox. Just because doctors are allowed to do certain procedures, doesn't mean they necessarily should.


Would you ever consider getting cosmetic injections for your dentist - why or why not? If your a cosmetic dentist, would you consider offering it? We'd love to hear patient and doctor feedback in the comments below!


photo credit: (Simon Hayter)


Comments (13)

Sort by

I truly like to reading your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice information.Thanks for sharing your blog information. Dentist clinic in Panchkula
In many if not all dental schools, dental students have an extra semester to year of head and neck after the same gross anatomy with med students. Most 1-3 yrs are with the medical students in addition to the dental labs and classes on the side. Most public and MD's who graduated a while back may not know this or if they did not have a dental school associated with their medical school. Some dental schools admission requirements are an additional yr of credits than to apply to medical school.(I recently found this out when writing recommendations), and the admissions test(DAT's) require additional testing in spatial aptitude. Dentistry is a specialty in medicine/surgery. Perhaps this would help include dentistry in medical ins. rather than dental benefits that cap at $1000.00(same as it did in the late '60's) and be included in medicare/medicaid. I might add that each operatory is a surgical suite, each surgically wrapped tray costs a min. of $175 not including overhead, staff, DDS's time, treatment, recommendations and salary... that is just to examine and basic diagnostic. I refer so many of my patients back to their MD's(internist, ENT, Derms, Neurologists)... can't we get along and respect each other? I too have offered and treated with Botox for several years and I still get from not only pts. but MD's/DO's, CRNA's, LPN's, RNS, NP's, PA's that I am a Dentist...why would I think I can do Botox? I don't think they were being disrespectful but just didn't know or remember. I hope that this reaches all of those who are not informed. Botox is not to be "the wild wild west", it needs to be in the hands of educated, experienced, really know head and neck anatomy injectors.
Hi Cindy I'm just curious if Dentist can perform Botox injections are you all allowed to use medical equipment like cool sculpting, zerona or any weight loss non invasive machines? Can they also delegate these procedures to non medical staff? I ask this because im doing research on med spas and their directors. Thanks!

confusedclient, I thought this information might helpful to you:

Staggering Differences in Satisfaction Between Board vs. Non-Board Certified Doctors

Can Coolsculpting Only Be Done by Doctors and What Are the Qualifications Needed?

Are Medical Spas Safe?

Also, you can check out the reviews in the Coolsculpting and Zerona communities, if you haven't already, and read the firsthand experience of other RealSelfers.

As a dentist that performs Botox therapy, I can say that my head and neck anatomy education was identical to those in medicine. In fact, many dental schools and medical schools have that part of their curriculum together, so it isn't similar education, it is IDENTICAL. My patients that have had experience with a plastic surgeon or other medical office before coming to me almost always comment that their experience with me was much more comfortable, and the results have been the same or better.

No dentist simply orders botox and then uses it. We all seek certification training to get specific skills to administer botox, so it really comes down to price and convenience. What could be more convenient than a dental office, a "touch up" after a cleaning?

Yes, we agree there are definitely two sides to this argument. There are some very well-trained dentists who are naturally skilled at injections and well-trained on the matter, but on the other side, there isn't a guarantee that all dentists have done the same training as those board-certified in the treatment.

There isn't any guarantee either way. I don't know of any dentist that would offer botox without getting training (all a patient has to do is ask where they got training, and Allergan won't sell it without proof of training), and the physicians I have talked with said that Botox is not part of their curriculum either, so for them to offer it, they need training and certification as well.

Suffice to say, Botox is an advanced level procedure that requires training beyond just getting a license, no matter what discipline you practice. And MOST of the plastic surgeons that I have talked to aren't doing the procedure, they delegate it to a nurse, so the argument becomes "who is more qualified, a dentist or a nurse?".

Below is a Forum on this very subject matter. There is a good discussion about education requirements. Dr. Pozner's (board certified by American Board of Plastic Surgery) March 14th 2012 comment confirms what Dr. Timmerman has stated.

Dentist and Botox.


Great points and debate in that forum! Thanks for bringing that forward, Megan.


I can definitely see both sides of the fence on this one. Dentists do tend to do a ton of injections, plus the dentist him/herself would be doing the injections which is often not the case at the board certified plastic surgeons offices, where you are put into the hands of their "injector" instead of the doctor. I have also heard strong arguments made for the fact that dentists do have specialized training for the face. Often the counter argument is that the training is only for the lower 2/3 of the face. It will certainly be interesting to see how this all plays out in the long run.

Dentists that treat TMJ disorders need to know the entire head, not just the lower 2/3. This includes the muscles that support the head, even to the shoulders. Botox is another option with TMJ issues, and nobody is better with this than a trained dentist. Just because a counter argument is that we are only trained in the lower 2/3 doesn't mean it is correct. We ARE trained in the entire head anatomy.

I personally wouldn't do it, but you point out some really interesting reasons some people might (such as the cost being innocuously added to a dental bill).

I am not sure I would say innocuously added to a dental bill. That sounds like the dentist is deceiving the patient. It would simply be more convenient, as you are already there for a cleaning and wouldn't need to make a special trip. I would also point out that our training is good. I was at a course put on by a dermatologist and he had his anatomy wrong. I wasn't trying to "show him up" but he was sure "the dentist" was wrong, so the text book came out. "The dentist" was right.