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Victory in South Carolina Dental Scope Expansion

Over the past year, dentists and other health care providers in South Carolina have worked to expand their scope of practice to include the administration of botulinum toxin neuromodulators. In December 2017, the state's boards of medicine, dentistry, and nursing issued a joint statement specifying that dentists, nurses, and physicians may administer Botox. In July 2018, the South Carolina Board of Dentistry promulgated a regulation that would legally permit dentists to administer Botox.

ASPS and the South Carolina Society of Plastic Surgeons (SCSPS) activated a joint response to thwart the Board of Dentistry's proposed rule. In September, ASPS and SCSPS submitted comments to the Board expressing opposition to the proposal, which focused on the insufficient medical training of dentists in the majority of facial anatomical areas. Additionally, ASPS included the Society's policy statement on the administration of botulinum toxin neuromodulators to warn the Board about the serious implications the proposed rule could have on patient safety in the state.

ASPS coordinated with SCSPS past president, Gary Culbertson, MD, and SCSPS leadership to identify a key advocate in the state to testify against the proposed rule during the administrative hearing on November 15th. ASPS worked closely with South Carolina member John Newkirk, MD to prepare testimony and supporting documents for his slated testimony at the hearing. ASPS and SCSPS also collaborated with the South Carolina Medical Association (SCMA) to develop a strategy to ensure proper physician representation at the hearing.

In an unprecedented move, the Board of Dentistry canceled the hearing the night before it was scheduled and withdrew the proposal from the rulemaking process after receiving opposition from key stakeholders on the matter. This was a tremendous victory for ASPS and SCSPS who worked strategically to defeat this measure in the state. ASPS will continue to monitor scope expansion efforts in South Carolina and across the nation to ensure that the specialty and patient safety is protected from inadequately trained health professions attempting to expand their scope.

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