Gov. Ducey OKs letting Arizona dentists give cosmetic Botox shots

Arizona Gov, Doug Ducey is OK with Arizona dentists being able to offer Botox injections to smooth out facial wrinkles as they also handle their patients’ tooth-decay issues.

The Republican governor signed off on a bill the Legislature overwhelmingly approved allowing dentists to give cosmetic injections of Botox or so-called dermal fillers. It will take effect this summer, 90 days after the Legislature adjourns for the year.

The House approved the measure allowing dentists to give cosmetic injections of Botox or so-called dermal fillers on a 55-0 vote on March 10. Rep. Regina Cobb, a dentist who became executive director of the Arizona Dental Association last year, recused herself from the vote. Four other House members either were absent or excused.

The Senate previously approved Republican Sen. Nancy Barto’s bill on a 25-2 vote.

Barto said during a House committee hearing that her bill was several years in the making.

"Anytime we allow trained professionals to work at the top of their game when it makes sense, I think we should remove those restrictions from law," Barto said. "And that’s what this bill does."

Dentist speaks out on bill

Dentists already are allowed to use Botox, which temporarily relaxes muscles and has a wrinkle-reducing effect, for medical reasons. They include treatment of TMJ, a painful jaw disorder.

But they are not allowed to use the medication for esthetic reasons.

Dentists testified that they already are highly trained in medication injections in the head and neck area. And some are certified to use Botox for cosmetic purposes.

Phoenix dentist Dr. Kevin Ortale testified before a Senate committee that he is uniquely qualified to use injectable Botox and dermal fillers, which plump the skin to minimize wrinkles. Ortale’s website advertises Botox for both TMJ treatment and for esthetics.

"What makes more sense for Arizona, having nurses utilize offsite medical directors at their med spas and Botox parties?" Ortale said. "Or, have a uniquely talented group of medical professionals highly experienced with thousands if not hundreds of thousands of injections already in and around the mouth?"

Ortale also said his practice has lost 20% of its business since the pandemic hit, and he’s been "patiently waiting" for the new law, so he can expand.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.

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