By Roger P. Levin, DDS
A surprising number of patients receiving orthodontic treatment are adults, with estimates ranging from 20% to 50%. This adult orthodontic market represents an extraordinary growth opportunity for any orthodontic practice that has not yet focused on it. You can grow your practice significantly by recognizing the production potential, understanding what motivates adults to accept orthodontic treatment, and implementing some simple, proven marketing strategies.
Understanding the Adult Orthodontic Candidate
For various reasons, many Americans have reached adulthood with smiles that would benefit from orthodontic treatment—and quite a few of them also have the means to pay for it. With both aging Boomers and younger adults wanting to look their best, the rationale for orthodontic treatment can be very persuasive. To gain a high rate of treatment acceptance, your treatment coordinator (TC) should emphasize such points as:
• Clear aligners are much less visible than the old metal braces
• Discomfort has also been greatly reduced
• Treatment usually lasts only 12 to 20 months
• A corrected bite can result in better oral hygiene and health
• Financing options make orthodontic treatment very affordable
• For individuals pursuing a career, a healthy smile is a great asset
Getting the Word Out
Once you decide to pursue the adult orthodontic market, you’ll discover that you can accomplish a great deal with simple modifications to some of the activities you and your staff members are already doing. These include:
• Marketing Directly to Parents of Patients
Parents who bring their children to the practice for orthodontic treatment are often excellent candidates for treatment themselves. Once young patients are established in their treatment schedule and positive, trusting relationships have been formed, your TC can broach the subject. There’s no need to apply pressure or make a pitch. Just pointing out that parents could get treatment at the practice, too, will go a long way toward winning them over. Mentioning a reduced family rate (which would also apply to patients’ siblings) will promote acceptance.
• Marketing Through Patients’ Parents
Even if the parents themselves do not want or need orthodontic treatment, they can easily be turned into ambassadors for the practice. All it takes is telling them that the practice welcomes referrals of adult patients in addition to adolescents… and would appreciate them mentioning it to their friends, coworkers and others.
Any orthodontic practice that is flat or declining should immediately implement adult patient marketing strategies and train Treatment Coordinators and other staff members to take advantage of this often-neglected segment.
Recognizing the vital role a well-trained TC can play in the success of the modern orthodontic practice, Levin Group has created the only nationwide study club exclusively for ortho TCs. The Treatment Coordinator Online Study Club™ is a rich educational resource dedicated to upgrading the skills of ortho TCs… and it’s absolutely free. For details and to sign up your TC, go to www.levingroup.com/orthotc