A surprising strategy to attract new adult patients to your practice


Most dental practice promotional dollars are spent on attracting new adult patients who are searching for a range of attributes such as gentleness, cosmetic dentistry, implants, convenience or emergency care. But how much is spent on appealing to children?

Children are a great way of bringing adults into your practice. During my ten years as a dental practice owner, I often heard parents say, as they scheduled their children in for an initial exam, that if the child was happy with the experience then they would feel comfortable enough to book in themselves.

It seems that dentistry is the one area that children are sent in as the ‘scouts’ or ‘guinea pigs’ to test the service!

Usually, marketing is designed to appeal to a specific demographic. However, children are different. Families generally attend the same GP, the same optometrist…and the same dentist. So, attracting and providing a great experience to children can appeal to 4, 5, 6+ potential patients at a time. I strongly recommend it if you want more patients.

Following are a selection of proven promotions that appeal to children:

  • Oral Health Promotion in kindergartens and pre-schools. The key is to make them fun and interactive. Provide incentives to convert these promotions into actual appointment times. (Email me directly for a detailed strategy.)
  • Banner advertising at local sporting arenas with an incentive focused on mouthguards.
  • Provide free information and advice on child/parenting-focused online forums and social media sites. You could post tooth eruption charts, how to provide effective oral hygiene to toddlers, dietary advice for stronger teeth, education on fissure sealants and mouthguards.
  • Hold in-house tours for children where they see what happens during a dental check-up. The children meet the dental team (possibly even the tooth fairy), see how the dental examination is performed and learn the best way to brush. Engage the children by getting them to wear a mask and gloves and ‘examine’ a stuffed toy seated in the dental chair. Send them away with a show-bag that includes promotional information about your practice for the parents.
  • Advertise in school newsletters and student diaries.
  • Ensure your SEO ad words include child focused words and phrases.
  • Use events such as Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Christmas and Easter as team ‘dress-up’ days. Promote these via your social media sites and website. Parents are more likely to choose a dental practice for their children where they will have a fun experience with a team who enjoy making children happy.

I encourage getting your team together and brainstorming your own promotional ideas. The dental experience that appeals to children is very different to that of an adult. Consider what children like and get excited about in other areas of their life and see how this can be implemented as part of the dental visit experience.