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No more smoke and mirrors

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  Posted by: The Probe      14th January 2022

Smoking is a habit shared by over one billion people globally.[i] People turn to smoking for various reasons – to cope with stress and anxiety, to ‘fit in’ or to feel relaxed and unwind. However, it is generally well-known that the habit has aggressive side-effects on the body.

As well as being responsible for more than 70% of lung cancer cases,[ii] smoking can cause cancer of the mouth, bowel, stomach and oesophagus. Smoking can be detrimental to oral health and is linked to a higher risk of developing periodontal disease, as well as tooth staining and bad breath.[iii] Those who smoke may also find that it ages the skin prematurely – in an era where body and image concerns have become increasingly prevalent, some people may turn to cosmetic treatment in order to address any perceived imperfections and to boost self-esteem.

Let’s face it…

In 2019, 6.9 million people smoked in the UK alone.[iv] Despite a promising decrease since 2018, the numbers are still startling, with 25-to-34-year olds having the highest smoking prevalence.iii Smoking not only causes a range of illnesses, but can also result in what is often referred to as ‘smoker’s face’.[v] Research[vi] has shown smoking to affect collagen and elastin, and has been associated with reduced lip fullness, crow’s feet and under-eye puffiness. Other visual signs of smoking can include prominent wrinkles, altered skin complexion and saggy skin,iv which could lead to feelings of embarrassment and low-self-esteem.

Quitting the habit is the best way to prevent these issues from progressing, but what can patients do about the damage already dealt?

People may turn to cosmetic treatments to combat these issues. Botulinum toxin injections for example may be recommended to smooth out the lines around the mouth, caused by the repeated ‘puckering’ whilst smoking. The procedure is minimally invasive, and proven to be a safe treatment in the reduction of facial wrinkles,[vii] including those around the lips. 

Dental professionals may consider adding cosmetic treatments as part of their dental inventory as a means to not only acquire an extra skillset, but also provide patients with a safe, sterile, CGC registered dental practice in which to undergo treatment.

The GDC states that dentists can provide non-surgical cosmetic injectables as an additional skillset,[viii] which could be a viable option for any dentist looking to broaden their available options.

More to offer

Dentists are qualified healthcare professionals, and are therefore more than competent to deliver safe cosmetic treatment to patients. In a bid to save money and time, patients may seek treatment (whether unwittingly or not) from someone who is not a regulated professional, which puts them at a severe risk.[ix] An unregulated professional may be someone who has undergone an uncredited training course – due to the lack of standards and regulations regarding training and qualifications, this is still worryingly common.ix

By undergoing cosmetic procedures with a registered healthcare professional, patients can rest assured that they are in safe, competent hands. Furthermore, dentists have a comprehensive understanding of the facial anatomy, as well as experience with administering injections. An in-depth knowledge of orofacial features will help dentists to advise on, and give the best, most suitable cosmetic treatment for their patients, increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome. There is also a personal element to consider, as many patients will no doubt be comforted by having a familiar, trusted face perform the treatment. Botulinum toxin injections usually last around three to four months,[x] therefore patients will return for treatment top-ups. If they are pleased with their results, patients may also recommend the dental practice to others interested in cosmetic work, resulting in business growth and stability too.

Dispose of your dental waste proficiently

Dentists who are seeking to implement non-surgical cosmetic treatments within their practice must consider the correct disposal systems. Materials used for botulinum toxin injections are classified as cytostatic waste (purple waste on the Department of Health’s colour coded guide to best practice waste disposal), and must be discarded accordingly. Initial Medical is dedicated to helping dental professionals dispose of waste efficiently and safely – we provide a range of innovative solutions for the appropriate separation, storage and disposal of cytostatic waste, with our expert team of technicians on hand to help.

Smoking is only one example of how human skin can be damaged by day-to-day life. Non-surgical cosmetic work is becoming a popular option for patients who are unsatisfied with their appearance – but finding a suitable place to undergo treatment can be difficult. Dentists who take on additional skills in the cosmetics field are giving their patients the opportunity for safe and legal treatment.

Rebecca Waters, Category Manager, Initial Medical

Rebecca has worked in the Healthcare sector for the past 17years and was a Research Chemist with Bayer Cropscience prior to joining Rentokil Initial in 2003.  She keeps up to date on all developments within the clinical waste management industry and is an active member of the CIWM, SMDSA and BDIA.  


For further information please visit or Tel: 0870 850 4045


About Initial Medical Waste 

Initial Medical set the standard in healthcare and infectious waste management in the UK, providing a reliable, effective and fully compliant service built around customer needs and delivered by our highly trained local teams.  We are ISO 9001:2015 accredited, with technology fully integrated into our operations, providing full traceability of service delivery, electronic waste documentation and the best customer experience possible. We also offer innovative healthcare waste management services and infection control products, to help break the chain of transmission and prevent cross contamination.  
Initial Medical are a company with a ‘World Class’ Health and Safety record, and ISO 45001:2018 accreditation. We are also accredited to ISO 14001:2015 environmental standards, and pride ourselves on our sustainable approach with a focus on delivering eco-friendly products and operational solutions.

For further information please visit or Tel: 0870 850 4045


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[i] The Lancet. Spatial, temporal, and demographic patterns in prevalence of smoking tobacco use and attributable disease burden in 204 countries and territories, 1990-2019: a systematic analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. Available online. Accessed 19 Oct. 21.

[ii] NHS. Causes of lung cancer. Available online. Accessed 18 Oct. 21.

[iii] US National Library of Medicine. Effect of long-term smoking on whole-mouth salivary flow rate and oral health. Available online. Accessed 19 Oct. 21.

[iv] Office for National Statistics. Adult smoking habits in the UK: 2019. Available online. Accessed 18 Oct. 21.

[v] US National Library of Medicine. Does smoking affect your skin? Available online. Accessed 18 Oct. 21.

[vi] US National Library of Medicine. Impact of smoking and alcohol use on facial aging in women: results of a large multinational, multiracial, cross-sectional survey. Available online. Accessed 18 Oct. 21.

[vii] US National Library of Medicine. Botulinum toxin for reducing the appearance of facial wrinkles: a literature review of clinical use and pharmacological aspect. Available online. Accessed 18 Oct. 21.

[viii] General Dental Council. The scope of your practice. Available online. Accessed 18 Oct. 21.

[ix] NHBF. Report of aesthetic non-surgical cosmetic treatments. Available online. Accessed 18 Oct. 21.

[x] NHS. Botox injections. Available online. Accessed 19 Oct. 21.

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