The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Dental Marketing

Editorial
by Jim Du Molin

I’ve learned to travel with my digital camera just about anywhere I go these days so I can capture examples of interesting signage — both the good and the truly bad examples of dental marketing. I really lucked out when I recently visited a newly-refurbished outdoor shopping mall with a great example of a “banner ad” marketing solution for a dental practice buried behind the front line stores.

Cosmetic Dentistry SignageThis doctor almost perfectly achieved the trifecta of shopping mall marketing, starting with the banner strung in front of his practice. This banner had it all:

 

  • “Personalized & Comfortable:” This is his value statement. What more could a dental patient want from a dental practice?
  • “Cosmetic Dentistry:” This is his targeted high-value patient. Why ask for ordinary dental patients when you can ask for a specific type of high-value patient with an ROI that is four to five times that of a standard patient?
  • Practice Logo: The practice’s logo adds an attention-getting graphic to the banner; it also clearly states the practice’s name, “Strawberry Village Dental Care” – in the Strawberry Mall, in the neighborhood known as Strawberry – a great geographically descriptive name.
  • And most important, a clear call to action statement: “Welcome. Call for Your Appointment Today! 389-3600”

 

 

The second part of this great three-fer mall marketing program is Dental Practice Signage the doctor’s perpendicular drop-down hanging sign from the roof of the mall walkway. The only thing I will have to check next time I visit this site is if this sign is properly lit at night for visibility.Always light your signage (in this case, from both directions for clear visibility), even at night when you are not open.

Strawberry Dental SignageFinally, the third part of a great dental signage promotion is the practice logo painted on the entry door to the office. This is the only flawed part of the presentation – and it’s only a minor flaw. As you can see from the photo, the glare from the glass makes the logo hard to read as you walk by the door. The solution would be to paint a base layer of white paint and then paint the logo on top of the background layer. This eliminates the glare and provides contrast to the logo, making it “pop” on the door, easy to see and read.

My only additional marketing recommendation for this practice would be to attach a clear plastic box to the wall next to the door that would contain a simple new patient offer for walk-by traffic. If you are paying big bucks for a shopping mall location, you want to do everything possible to maximize your marketing opportunities!

Jim Du Molin

Dental Associations Do Battle in New York State

The New York Times is reporting on the grand battle for political control of that state’s dental associations.

New York State

On the one side, we have the NY State Dental Association. It’s run by lobbyist Roy Lasky.

On the other side is the NY County Dental Society. Based in Manhattan, it’s a local group. And they’ve just hired their own lobbyist.

That’s because the Manhattan group is fighting for its very survival. A bill now in Albany could let the state group eliminate the local group entirely.

The Manhattan-based group has raised concerns about Mr. Lasky of the statewide society. In 2006, he earned nearly $300k as the group’s executive director and another $140k as its Albany lobbyist. The local group also worries Lasky could face potential conflicts of interest.

So why is this such a big deal? Not surprisingly, the answer is financial. The Manhattan-based local society puts on an annual trade show, the Greater New York Dental Meeting, which brings in millions in revenue and is among the country’s largest dental meetings.


Read more

Dentists: Most OK with Fluoridation

Fluoridated waterFluoridated water has historically been hailed by dentists as one of the greatest public health innovations of the 20th century. And while most doctors (73%) still support it, one dentist in four opposes adding fluoride to the public water supply.

“Tests show the current water supply & vegetables are saturated with the fluoride we already added,” said one concerned dentist.

Related article: Dentists Approve of Fluoridated Water: Survey Results

Here are some more comments on water fluoridation:

  • “I think people are beginning to get too much from all the food and drinks that are made with fluoridated water, but stopping it entirely does not make sense either. It seemed a straightforward problem at one time, but now is more complicated.” (Texas dentist)
  • “The greatest single caries prevention method for all age groups.” (Tennessee dentist)
  • “Why put a drug in our water supply when not everyone needs it. What is next? Cholesterol medication, antidepressants, vitamins, etc. The argument could be made for any one of these to be added to the water supply. I want clean pure water to drink and for my family to drink just like nature intended.” (Louisiana dentist)
  • “I practice in the city that was the control in the original study of water fluoridation. After five years, fluoride was added to the water because of the benefits that were seen. Individuals in the surrounding rural areas do not have fluoride except on a prescription basis. There is a huge difference in the decay rate of the two groups.” (Michigan dentist)
  • “The government has lied to us. They would have us all believe that the ‘fluoride’ that they put in the water is the same as the pure pharmaceutical grade fluoride that is in toothpaste. It’s not. The ‘fluoride’ in the water is contaminated with heavy metals and all kinds of other things.” (Arizona dentist)
  • “We end up with too much fluoride if the water is fluoridated because our food gets fertilized in it, washed in it, cooked in it. So the same vegetable or lettuce has 5 times as much as just drinking a glass of water. Topical treatment is fine. Let people choose; it shouldn’t be mandated by government.” (Florida dentist)
  • “Water fluoridation remains one of the single most cost-effective public health measures taken to reduce a disease, that being dental caries. The increase in dental fluorosis seems to have more to do with the increasingly early use of fluoride toothpaste in children that are not supervised while brushing and are too young to avoid swallowing the toothpaste while brushing.” (South Carolina dental hygienist)
  • “There are much better, more dose controlled ways to receive fluoride for those who may want it.” (Canada dentist)
  • “Any slight benefits (and these only come from topical application, not ingestion as the CDC has admitted) are far outweighed by its ability to do health harm. Fluoride is a lifelong-accumulative systemic poison whatever way you try to slice it.” (Texas journalist)

NOTE: This survey attracted a record number of votes from non-dentists, but only dentists’ votes were used to compile the quantitative results. Comments from non-dentists have been included in the discussion section.

Read more: Fluoride in Water: Dentists Disagree on What’s Best for Dental Health

Dental Practice Technology: 66% of Dentists Use Digital X-rays

digital xraysDigital technology has reached the dentist’s office. According to Yale School of Medicine, 10 to 30% of dentists have abandoned film for digital X-rays.

When we asked dentists if they use use digital x-rays, 66% said yes. Only 34% reported that they still use film.

“Digital x-rays have improved dentistry so much. I can’t imagine going back to the old way of developing x-rays. It has allowed doctors to diagnose a patient when they are away from the office,” said one periodontist.

“Couldn’t live without digital,” offered another.

A great investment –

“Possibly the best investment I have made in my practice.” (Kentucky dentist)

“One of my best purchases. I’ve been digital over 4 years.” (Florida dentist)

“We implemented digital about a decade ago and would never go back.” (South Carolina dentist)

“One of the most cost-effective things I’ve done. I have been digital since 2000.” (California dentist)

“Yes, who in this day and age doesn’t? It is SO inexpensive compared to what I paid over 10 years ago to do it, that it is a “no-brainer” to do. PLUS the savings in chemicals, processor maintenance, employee time to do these non-essential weekly maintenance jobs, making duplicates for Insurance etc. just makes going digital a “slam dunk” decision! This is why, once I purchased it, I realized these benefits and then lectured on going digital.” (Illinois dentist)

“It’s wonderful! Less radiation the patient and staff is exposed to and the ability to manipulate the images.” (Florida hygienist)

“Higher diagnosable image versus film, no fixer, developer, film, mounts cost, lower patient and ambient radiation levels — truly a no-brainer!” (North Dakota dentist)

Too expensive for some –

“Very expensive to fully implement.” (Missouri dentist)

“Digital has improved greatly, but I am not interested in the investment at this late stage of practice.” (Indiana dentist)

“I would love to have a digital pan/ceph, but at $44K, I’ll have to pass for now.” (Oklahoma dentist)

“Too expensive!” (Nevada dentist)

“I am 67 years old in a month or so and it is hard to spend that much money.” (California dentist)

“Way too costly!” (Massachusetts dentist)

Sensors can be an issue –

“Sensors are too @#*&! expensive!” (Mississippi dentist)

“The technology finally meets or exceeds the quality of film radiology — but with some drawbacks. The cost for the sensors and viewing equipment is very high, compared to the same film-based radiology. The bitewing views are not fully closed-mouth as bitewings done with films, because of the sensor cords. And the sensors have some limitations of placement freedom due to their rigidity and thickness compared to the relative patient comfort with films.” (California dentist)

“Since no sensor has been declared superior, I believe buyers need to evaluate the software. How many ‘clicks’ needed to go through the fmx, to modify contrast/brightness for diagnosing and making notes? You should be able to do this quickly ‘on the fly’ as the patient hears you review their x-rays. The right-click menu and simple keyboard shortcuts should be available so you don’t have to mouse all over the place for everything. I also believe software using the “template” paradigm of x-ray sets is a throwback to the past and is not good use of computer power.” (Illinois dentist)

“They have to make the sensors either less expensive or more durable.” (California dentist)

1 in 4 General Dentists Remove Wisdom Teeth (video)

1 in 4 General Dentists Remove Wisdom Teeth (video)General dentists can do wisdom teeth extractions, except when they can’t and need to refer the patient to an oral surgeon.

Some dentists prefer to do these procedures themselves, whereas others still refer the patient out whenever possible.

Said one dentist who refers out all removals, “That’s what oral surgeons are for!” Another general dentist said, “I am glad oral surgeons are there, but most surgical wisdom teeth are very easy.”

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists what percentage of wisdom teeth removal they refer out to an oral surgeonWatch the following video to hear the results of the survey and what other dentists had to say on the subject —

How do you handle wisdom tooth removal?
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