Death by Aesthetic Dentistry

How You Label Your Dental Practice Makes a Huge Difference

Last week we drove a stake through the heart of “Aesthetic” or “Esthetic” as marketing terms to describe your style of dentistry. For the New Year, I’ll be a little kinder to the term “Restorative Dentistry.”

cosmetic dental marketing terms

Restorative Dentistry” ranks number five on our list of top results for descriptive marketing phrases with more than one hundred responses per month. But let’s stop and think about this result for a moment. That’s about 108 searches a month per state! Of all the people searching for a dentist in your state, only 108 referenced “Restorative Dentistry” in their search request. This is not a marketing term on which to stake your practice’s or family’s financial future in the tough months ahead.

Now, some of you are thinking “Cosmetic Dentistry” is still a great marketing term, given there are 135,000 queries, versus only 90,400 for “General Dentistry.” So let’s segment just the “Dentistry” results. I’ll even include the 1,900 people who used the misspelling of “Cosmetic Denistry,” and “Family Cosmetic Dentistry” on the cosmetic side of the equation.

cosmetic dentistry SEO

Let’s compare “Cosmetic” to “Family.”

family dentistry and general dentists

The results favor “Family / General Dentistry,” but not by much. The remaining issue is this: are you going to refer to yourself as a “Family-Friendly” dental practice or a “General” practice? Well, unless your state laws require you to use the term “General Dentistry,” I would strongly suggest using “Family” or “Family-Friendly Dentistry” to cast your marketing net as wide as possible. Further, how many of you want to be one of those “General Dentists” doing “General Dentistry?”

What does this mean for your 2009 marketing? The answer is simple: context.

If you are using signage, you should make reference to “Family Dentistry.” If you have enough space on your sign, use both terms (“Family & Cosmetic Dentistry”), but lead with the more economically friendly “Family” terminology in these recessionary times. (Click here for more details on dental sign design.)

The same holds true for Yellow Pages phone book display and newspaper ads. Lead with “Family Dentistry,” and follow up with “Cosmetic,” “Implants” or “Sedation.”

In terms of dental website marketing for local practices, there are still more than enough people searching for “Cosmetic Dentistry” in conjunction with “Your City Name,” so it makes financial sense to have a specific geo-targeted site for cosmetics.

Because of the way the search engines list results, it is still cost-effective to have multiple dental websites that are each targeted at a different segment of the dental market: Family, Cosmetics, Implants, Sedation, Ortho, etc. Complete Internet campaigns including a local website, directory listing and custom monthly patient email newsletter start at just $280 a month and drop to as low as $160 each for multiple websites.

It’s not hard to justify expanding your Internet marketing when just one additional new patient will generally pay for a full year of marketing. The reality is that you will probably average – worst case – one additional new patient a month. It makes for a great dental marketing ROI in a recessionary market.

Have a Great New Year!

About Jim Du Molin

+Jim Du Molin is a leading Internet marketing expert for dentists in North America. He has helped hundreds of doctors make more money in their practices using his proven Internet marketing techniques.

  • Joe Shea

    You are always THE man. I love researched-based articles and opinions, rather than much of the blather/boiler-plated, follow the lemming stuff that is published and espounded every day. OK, what do I really think
    Have a happy new year. Keep up the good work

  • Richard Marill

    What if you do not do FAMILY dentistry. I don’t work on children, just adults and if I advertise Family Friendly
    Dentistry, that looks like false advertising. I also advertise that I work with diabetics and baby boomers. How should that be marketed?
    Dr. Marill

  • As a full time SEO (Search Engine Optimizer) what you have written makes good sense. I don’t consider having multiple websites each catering to or being seo’ed for each market to be sound advice.
    Although I guess it depends on how many multiple is referring to. Two websites that are well optimized for several similar but different phrases would be plenty, if coupled with other sound seo techniques.
    A Better technique still, would be partnering up with dentists in different parts of the country or even state to help each other websites and businesses out. eg. One dentist from San Diego and one from San Francisco are hardy going to be competitors, yet get each others websites helping the other, would raise their search engine ranking in both cities.

    Dr Marill, specializing with minority groups, could be a great advantage, with a little thinking outside the square SEOwise and looking at your general web marketing in a different way you could have a successful website, bring in several new clients from these groups in society.
    Regards Lynny

  • thanks for the info

  • Since making my last comment, I have checked out your 9 truths videos, and I take back my last statements, the idea of having several targeted websites is a sound one, and definitely worth considering.
    This technique would work well for many types of business website, I have suggested tyhis several time, and clients seem to think I’m just out to make more money, lol… but you are quite correct.

    I had to laugh when you pointed out the reasons marketing doesn’t work, in particular the one about taking action quickly when you have an inquiry from the internet, you are correct, internet users are into instant gratification, and want your action right now…. anyone reading this post, do take the time to watch those videos, they are well worth the hour or so it takes to sit and listen to them.


  • One can only imagine the huge aggregate profits Jim has provided dentists over the years. Every day I find myself striving to position client websites above the sites Jim has long since positioned in the search engines.

    It’s exciting to compete with such a renowned marketing professional as Jim Du Molin — and Jim, if you’re reading this, I’m gaining on you! 🙂

    John Barremore
    Houston, TX


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