State says Bellingham dentist can’t give patients Botox for cosmetic reasons

A Bellingham dentist is being accused of unprofessional conduct for allegedly injecting Botox into patients’ faces solely for cosmetic reasons, the Washington state Department of Health announced this week.

The state Dental Quality Assurance Commission also said Faith R. Bult kept incomplete records and failed to cooperate with a state investigator’s request to provide patient records.

Bult is fighting the accusations, according to her attorney John Versnel.

“These are only allegations. Quite frankly, the whole thing is ridiculous. Before she started doing this, she called down to the state and said, ‘Is this OK to do?’” Versnel said Friday, Jan. 16.

The state received a complaint March 13, 2013, that Bult was advertising Botox and dermal fillers for cosmetic purposes through the radio and her website. The service remains on her website, which noted that she has received training in order to provide it.

The commission weighed in on the issue in the summer of 2013 because an increasing number of dentists were asking for clarity on the topic.

Its “interpretive statement” noted that dentists could administer Botox and dermal fillers to the soft tissues of the face to “treat functional or esthetic dental conditions and their direct esthetic consequences.”

But they can’t do such injections for purely cosmetic purposes unless they are trained as oral and maxillofacial surgeons, the commission said.

“That’s their interpretation of the law. The dental commission doesn’t make the laws,” Versnel said. “Part of the problem is it’s been somewhat of a gray area.”

The services being provided by Bult are being done by many other dentists in the state, according to Versnel.

In its statement of charges, the state commission alleges that:

• In July 2013, Bult’s business manager provided a letter indicating that since 2011 Bult had given 100 people Botox or filler treatments for aesthetic purposes.

• Bult didn’t provide all of the patient records requested by the state investigator, and her record keeping was incomplete.

• In looking at the charts of eight patients going back to 2011, the commission alleged that Bult practiced beyond what her license allowed by injecting Botox, and in one case Xeomin, into muscles in patients’ faces, including at frown lines, the forehead, between the eyebrows above the nose and crow’s feet around the eyes.