The summer is quickly coming to an end and this means the hustle and bustle of tackling back-to-school supplies and pediatrician appointments are in full force. But in the process of getting kids back-to-school ready, parents shouldn’t forget about their kids’ teeth. School starting back is a great opportunity for dentists to instill new oral hygiene habits, refine old ones, and remind parents of why it is important to keep up with their bi-annual dental exams and cleanings.
Encouraging early appointments
Encourage your patients to schedule their dental check-ups early! This means avoiding the back-to-school rush and cramming in last minute appointments around Labor Day weekend. Scheduling early also means avoiding patients leaving outstanding treatment, because let’s face it, once the school season starts, homework, sports, and after school activities will prioritize before a dental appointment.
Great ways to promote back-to-school visits include sending an early reminder before families are on summer vacation or kids go to sleep away camp. Send a press release to the local community paper or post on social media sites with dental tips for a healthy year-round smile. Facebook and Instagram are a popular, low-cost way of reaching out to patients. Offering a back-to-school special with giveaways and drawings is another great way to reach out to new patients and hygiene re-care. We know sports season is around the corner, so a special offer of a Pro-form Mouthguard is a fun way to promote your office and keep your patients safe. Organizing a public event geared toward families is a sure way of reaching out to existing patients. Don’t forget to remind patients to bring family and friends to these sponsored events to gather all of those referrals! All of these incentives will help boost new hygiene and promote re-care, but also keep kids in tip-top shape for the school year.
Avoid that summer toothache!
Dental disease can lead to pain, difficulty eating and speaking and can negatively affect children’s overall health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that tooth decay is the most common chronic infectious disease among children and 19 percent of children ages 2 to 19 years old have untreated tooth decay. Dental diseases affects academic performance and leads to an astounding 51 million missed school hours each year.
What if there was a simple way to encourage families to make their back-to-school dental visits easier and more convenient?
It is all about making a fun, kid friendly atmosphere to encourage parents to bring the kids in. More importantly, we can’t forget about the parents too! Offer a promotion of teeth whitening discounts or a gift card to a local coffee shop if parents book within a certain week of. This will keep your office focused on the entire family and will hopefully bring parents in for any needed dental treatment as well.
Often parents will wait to bring a child to the dentist for their first visit until there is trauma or a toothache, creating a stressful first visit for both the parent and child. One way to create pleasant dental experiences is to encourage early routine prophy visits. The AAPD recommends a child’s first dental visit at age one or when the first tooth erupts. This recommendation not only helps avoid potential dental problems, but creates stress free dental experiences. The goal of a child prophy is to be educational, but we also want to make it a fun experience to encourage the start of “dental home” and good lifelong dental routines.
Some techniques is to incorporate the use of fun and kid-friendly prophy paste flavors. Gelato Prophy Paste offers six delicious flavors to accommodate different flavor preferences while also being available in four different grits to accommodate the the removal of light to heavy stains. We may have terrible memories of bitter tasting fluoride in trays causing gagging for 3+ minutes. Gelato Neutral pH Gels now offers a quick 60-second application in different flavors that are focused on children. This line of products is delicious and helps increase patient compliance.
By offering exciting new kid friendly products, your patients will be raving to their families and friends about how easy and fun it can be to go to the dentist! And just hopefully they will book early enough to start their school year off the right way!
Dr. Erica Anand, a native Long Islander, received her Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry with Cum Laude from Stony Brook University. She attended Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine where she earned her Doctorate of Dental Surgery degree. While in dental school, Dr. Erica received the Delta Dental award and was involved in the outreach mission to Chile where she treated underserved children and families. She went on to complete a two-year specialty-training program in pediatric dentistry at Stony Brook University. Her extensive education includes treating children with special needs, dental phobias, and oral rehabilitation under general anesthesia. She maintains memberships of the American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and New York State Dental Association, and is an American Board of Pediatric Dentistry Candidate.