Linzy Baker discusses the ins and outs of level 7 facial aesthetics – and why it’s worth the investment.
Throughout university, facial aesthetics was always a skill I aimed to obtain on completion of my training as a dental therapist.
I have always had an interest in aesthetics – both facial and dental – and could stare at faces for hours, picking out different features.
While attending the BSDHT Oral Health Conference in 2017, there was a big presence from the facial aesthetics industry. I had not seen this before. A number of stands included hygienists that had progressed into this field. They were working alongside dentistry with successful businesses either from their own premises or within a dental practice.
This conference led me to meet my now mentor Dr Harry Singh, who was there promoting BTC courses and demonstrating treatments in one of the interactive sessions.
This conference further encouraged me to look deeper into courses available to train and join the facial aesthetics community.
When looking at courses there are many out there – some will train hygienists and therapists and some won’t. More concerning is those who train others with no medical knowledge.
There are options of short courses of one to two days training or longer programmes. This includes the level 7 diploma in facial aesthetics.
As a professional who always strives to be the best possible – and someone with a thirst for knowledge – the level 7 appealed to me.
The diploma meets the requirements of the Health Education England (HEE). It covers various aspects of facial aesthetics in depth, including not only skin and anatomy but also other areas such as professionalism and ethics.
It involves taking an OSCE to test practical and consulting skills as well as a range of SAQs to test knowledge and understanding.
In comparison to other short courses, the required knowledge in level 7 is high and an extremely different experience. The diploma requires a logbook including a number of observed and supervised procedures carried out alongside a qualified and experienced mentor in contrast to the few cases treated on the day of attending shorter programmes.
Having someone to shadow or mentor you through cases has proven invaluable. It has given me the confidence to provide treatments to patients knowing I can achieve safe and positive results.
Rules and regulations
Currently, facial aesthetics is a highly unregulated field even though suggestions are made. It relies solely on professionals self-regulating and following standards of practice and guidance documents set from various sources.
There has been a greater push for regulation following the formation of the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP). This is a voluntary register that has strong focus on the education of those delivering injectables.
The JCCP has worked alongside several professional regulatory bodies (such as the General Dental Council). They have an agreed code of practice and best practice guidelines.
The Department of Health strongly supports HEE, with those offering injectables to be level 7 qualified. However, this is not mandatory.
Although there is lots of speculation over the qualification being mandatory following improved regulation of the aesthetics world, it’s still yet to happen. It is uncertain of if or when this will occur.
However, I know many will welcome this change in favour of protecting our patients and improving professional standards.
Ultimately, was the choice to enter the level 7 programme worth it? I would say yes. I feel I have a vast knowledge that I would otherwise may have not gained through undertaking a shorter programme as well as a gaining a great support system and mentor.
Although more expensive, more time consuming and challenging, I have learnt a lot from undertaking the course. I anxiously await the official results of my exams.
First run in Irish Dentistry magazine. You can read the latest issue of Irish Dentistry magazine here