Advertising, in all of its forms, print, television, online, direct mail and others surround us in our everyday life; from deciding which grocery store to go to or which auto repair shop is best for you. Whether we realize it or not advertising affects your decisions. It should be no surprise then that even dental practices have become part of the advertising landscape. Dentistry, though, is far different from other industries that advertise, leading many to wonder whether it's even okay to put out advertisements for their clinics.

The ADA Weighs In

Perhaps one of the most important factors in the debate over whether dentists should advertise is the voice of professional organizations like the American Dental Association. Its bodies like these that help protect dentists and patients alike. Unfortunately, they can be a bit confusing on the issue. They suggest that practices like yours have a right to advertise, but you can't use any false or misleading statements in your ads. All of your material, whether you're talking about what comes from a direct mail company or your daily Tweets, has to be truthful and non-deceptive in every way, shape, and form.

Dental practices all have a variety of advertising strategies that seem to work for them. Many of them, from social media to direct mail postcards, employ testimonials of former and current patients. This kind of advertising, though, concerns some dentists.

Other professional organizations and governing boards, like each state's medical boards, also offer guidelines but many of them are similarly broad. For example, the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners recently updated their rules. They now allow patient testimonials but they make it clear that no false, misleading, or deceptive advertising can take place.

Your Next Steps

Because so many dentists are aggressively advertising their practices these days, ignoring the opportunity may only serve to sink your business. There's likely a happy medium for you in the world of advertising. The key is to first understand the rules and regulations that govern your practice. You may even want a bit of help deciphering those from your attorney. It can also be helpful to have an experienced direct mail company and online marketing company on your side to help develop stronger ads that will not only protect your practice from concerns about false and misleading ads, but also help create stronger campaigns that will ensure that you don't spend all of your time advertising.

Owning a dental practice is never going to be like owning another type of small business. Instead, many of the little aspects are going to require a bit of added thought and time. Be sure to inject plenty of time into the marketing equation, then run with it to make sure your practice is able to thrive in today's oversaturated advertising world.

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