Repository logo

An investigation into critical legal issues surrounding dental botox.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



An unnaturally expressionless, vapid face with skin that appears to be drawn way too tight, is often the image that flashes to mind when we hear the word “Botox”. Yet when done correctly, this aesthetic procedure guarantees to soften wrinkles and brighten the skin, hence it is a popularity among celebrities looking to maintain a youthful appearance. From the ceaseless stream of smooth jawlines and chiselled cheekbones to celebrity plastic surgeons posting images of their work, the age of continuous self-documentation has impelled a unique set of beauty ideals and an intense increase in cosmetic procedures. Whilst most doctors suggest focusing on skin integrity by advising on appropriate beauty regimens, there are exceptions. ‘Botox’ is the exception. Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA), also called botulinum toxin type A, is made from the bacteria that causes botulism. Botox treatments are becoming more extensive and recognised and to some it seems to be an acceptable way to elude the signs of aging. Botox works by relaxing the contraction of muscles by blocking nerve impulses which results in muscle relaxation and softening of wrinkles. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2015, more than 6.7 million Botox procedures were executed, making it the most popular minimally invasive cosmetic procedure. In South Africa Botox is recognised as a prescription-only drug which requires that it should be prescribed by a doctor and administered by a suitably trained and qualified clinician. It is therefore illegal for a person who does not have the requisite qualification, skills and knowledge to administer Botox is a neurotoxin which can cause serious adverse effects if used incorrectly. Before 2007, controversy existed regarding the suitability of Botox in dentistry. Dentists were accused of abandoning their conventional roles of fixing gums and teeth and venturing into administering Botox. There are circumstances when the use of Botox and similar treatments can be deemed to be related to the practice and scope of dentistry. Thus the aim of this thesis is to investigate the critical, legal issues surrounding Dental Botox.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.