Implant Dentistry Advertising Is Held Hostage by Texas Regulations

Implant Dentistry Advertising Is Held Hostage by Texas RegulationsDental implants are fast becoming the choice dental tool for the replacement of a missing tooth or teeth.

And the growing global demand for better oral aesthetics has driven an increase in the number of dentists performing dental implant surgeries.

But quietly, behind the scenes, states have been attempting to regulate how dentists can advertise their dental implant dentistry credentials.

Last week, the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Austin, Texas seeking to invalidate a Texas regulation that severely restricts dentists from advertising their AAID credentials in implant dentistry, according to prnewswire.

In 2009 and 2010, AAID won judicial verdicts overturning similar rules enforced by state dental boards in Florida and California.

AAID’s chief legal counsel, Frank Recker, JD, DDS, informed the Texas Board of Dental Examiners in writing about the unequivocal judicial precedents and hoped to convince the Board to rescind its restrictions and avoid litigation. “The Board did not respond to our communications for two years. Since AAID’s credentialed members continue to be in jeopardy if they advertise their credentials, the Academy decided to pursue legal action,” said Recker.

Two Texas dentists holding AAID’s dental implant credentials, Dr. Jay Elliott of Houston and Dr. Monty Buck of Galveston, joined the lawsuit as individual co-plaintiffs.

AAID is seeking a permanent injunction and declaratory judgment to strike down the Texas regulation, which allows unrestricted advertising only for dental credentials and accreditations issued by organizations recognized as dental specialties by the American Dental Association (ADA). Dentists with bona fide credentials not issued by ADA-recognized specialty organizations are required to include lengthy disclaimers in their advertising in Texas.

This limitation, contends AAID, is burdensome and prohibits dentists from advertising true statements about credentials in implant dentistry earned from AAID and American Board of Oral Implantology (ABOI).

In Florida and California, the presiding judges ruled that such advertising restrictions violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which protect freedom of speech and equal protection of the laws. Recker said the legal precedents solidly favor AAID and Drs. Elliott and Buck. Go get ’em guys!

“Consumers in Texas have no ready means of learning which dentists practicing in their state have significant substantive training in implant dentistry,” said Recker. “Awareness of AAID’s dental implant credential provides consumers with objectively verifiable information regarding a dentist’s knowledge, proficiency and experience. The Texas advertising restriction prevents highly qualified implant dentists from differentiating their training and education.”

Recker added that, in Texas, dentists with no training in placing implants are permitted to engage in implant dentistry and advertise that they perform this service. This makes it almost impossible for consumers to objectively evaluate a dentist’s qualifications to perform implant procedures.

Let’s be honest here folks, the average consumer can’t evaluate a politician, let alone a dentist.

In the 2009 Florida decision, Circuit Court Judge Frank E. Sheffield ruled that a state law restricting how dentists can advertise credentials issued by bona fide professional organizations is unconstitutional. The Florida statute prevented advertising of membership in or credentials earned from any dental organization not recognized by the Florida Board of Dentistry (FDB). Florida’s dental board only recognized specialty credentials issued by the ADA.

Dentists who wanted to advertise their AAID credentials had to include an onerous disclaimer that implant dentistry is not a recognized specialty of ADA or the FDB and that AAID is not a recognized specialty accrediting organization.

The Court decided the advertising restrictions were unconstitutional on many grounds. They violated the Florida constitution’s guarantee of the right to be rewarded for industry or professional achievement and First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of free speech and equal protection of the law.

In a clear and unequivocal verdict issued in 2010, Judge John Mendez, writing for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, ruled that credentials issued to dentists by AAID are bona fide and legitimate, and state laws that prohibit or restrict advertising them to the public are unconstitutional.

He struck down a state law that effectively prevented dentists from advertising credentials issued by AAID and said that AAID and the American Board of Oral Implantology (ABOI) “are bona fide credentialing organizations whose standards are rigorous, objectively clear, and verifiable.”

The Texas Board for Dental Examiners has not responded publicly yet to the AAID’s legal action.

What are your thoughts on dentists advertising their AAID credentials in implant dentistry?

Source: American Academy of Implant Dentistry

Dental Video Marketing: How To Optimize Your YouTube Dental Videos

Dental Video Marketing: How to Optimize Your YouTube Dental VideosDental videos are an important part of a Internet dental marketing strategy, and YouTube is not only one of the most popular search engines, but it is also the most popular site for publishing videos.

If you are a dental practice that is using YouTube to spread the word about your dental practice, are you setting them up so that they perform the way that you need them to?

Here are 5 dental video marketing tips for optimizing your dental videos on YouTube for search —

1. Plan your video title.
The video title can be up to 100 characters long, so it’s important to put your dental practice name at the beginning (think about how you want your videos to show up in Google search when someone searches for you) followed by your keyword phrase. Something like, “City Name XYZ Dental Practice Dental Implant Process or you could move around your geo-targeted words “XYZ Dental Practice City Name Dental Implant Process.”

YouTube has a keyword research tool at ads.youtube.com/keyword_tool where you can research the phrases you want to use.

2. Transcribe your videos and add keywords.
Be sure to replace YouTube’s video transcription with your own text file. It’s simple to upload and you can make sure that your transcription actually matches what you are saying in the video, but you can add keyword phrases like your geo-targeted dental practice location to further help search engines find your content online.

3. Think carefully about tags.
Think about 7 keywords to use as tags to best describe your video. Tags associate videos with other videos on YouTube with the same tag which creates the “related video” section. What associated videos would you like to appear with on YouTube? As you can see tags are more than just describing what your content is about, it also determines what videos you will be connected with on YouTube.

4. Utilize the description area.
Use the description area as a blog post about the video. Put your web address at the very beginning so that it shows first – right under your video. Make sure to list a contact email and phone number. Too many YouTube videos under-utilize the description area and don’t use it as an opportunity to discuss the video and what you have to offer.

5. Share your videos.
Be sure to share your videos on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and in your dental practice newsletters. YouTube factors the number of times your dental practice videos have been viewed within a certain time-frame. The more your videos are viewed, the higher the video ranks on YouTube, which brings with it the attention of mainstream media and can land your dental videos on YouTube’s top videos list.

These simple techniques can make all the difference in who sees and shares your YouTube videos. Utilizing dental videos is another way to fill up the first page of search with content relevant to your dental practice instead of random websites that simply happen to use the same keywords.

The Internet Dental Alliance provides informational videos that dentists can optionally include in their dental website New Patient Portals. These professional videos educate current and prospective patients on dental topics like cosmetic dentistry, tooth whitening, braces, dental implants, and more. Click here to see how videos personalize dental websites and increase the conversion rate of visitors to appointment requests.

Festivals Are for Dental Practices, Too!

Editorial
by Jim Du Molin

Summer’s here, and it’s festival time for your dental marketing!

Just about every community has a summer festival of one sort or another. In the last month alone, my little town of Tiburon, California has had a wine festival (we have no vineyards), an arts festival (I’m sure we have artists), an antique auto show (yes, we have cars) and a “Friday Night on Main Street” get-together (people eating and drinking in the street while listening to music). However, I’ve yet to see a “Shark Festival,” although tiburon is Spanish for “shark.” I have yet to see a local dentist take advantage of these marketing opportunities, though I can imagine a giant Jaws-style shark float with big teeth.

On a national level, I can report on at least one great creative approach to festival marketing by a dental office. Dr. Jim Sparaga and his wife Kathy of Machias, Maine, put together a great float for their town’s Wild Blueberry Festival. That’s Dr. Jim driving the tractor with some kids from his practice riding the float. And yes, those are blueberries stuck in the giant smile.

On the other side of the float he had his team passing out balloons. Needless to say, they won first prize for this creative endeavor – not to mention a tremendous amount of local good will and recognition for the practice.

I’m still trying to figure out what the chair on the back of the float was for, but let’s not quibble about the details. If you have done some festival marketing, feel free to email your photos and ideas to Jim@TheWealthyDentist.com.

Quit Smoking, Get Cosmetic Dentistry?

UK Smoking Ban Leads to Increased Interest in Tooth Whitening

This summer, England introduced a ban on smoking in restaurants, bars, and other businesses. It would seem this smoking ban has been good for dentists. The British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry reports a 12% increase in in cosmetic procedures such as tooth bleaching and veneers. Said president Christopher Orr: “It appears people are smoking less now due to the ban, so it is not a surprise that many would like an improved smile to go with their better health.”

Read more

Protect Your Dental Practice by Bonding Your Employees

Editorial
by Bryan Truitt and Jim Du Molin

Even if you have an internal controls system that makes embezzlement difficult, the danger of collusion still exists. (I’ve already told you that embezzlement is common, it can be detected, and it can be prevented.) One of the ways in which some dental practices protect themselves from employee dishonesty is by bonding their employees.

Bonding is the process by which an employer can be indemnified for the loss of money or other property sustained through dishonest acts of a “bonded” employee. Bonding can cover many types of acts including larceny, theft, embezzlement, forgery, misappropriation, wrongful abstraction, willful misapplication, or other fraudulent or dishonest acts committed by an employee, alone or in collusion with others.

There are several types of fidelity bonds. Discuss each with your agent to determine whether damages from negligence are covered. Basically, your practice has several options at its disposal:

  • Individual: covers one employee. Usually purchased by small practices or family-operated businesses with only one employee.
  • Name schedule or position schedule: covers either the employees or positions specified.
  • Blanket fidelity: covers all employees.
  • Commercial, blanket, and blanket position: provides multiple protection (comprehensive dishonesty, disappearance and destruction coverage, or a blanket crime policy).

There is wide choice in features and coverage as well as cost differences in bonding coverage. It difficult to understand why only two practices in ten have this economical insurance.

Next week, we’ll talk about what to do when you have discovered a problem.

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