News From The Wealthy Dentist #33: February 21, 2007
by Jim Du Molin
What’s a Dentist Need To Do To Get Some Press? Not That Much!
It doesn’t take a marketing genius to realize that getting your name in the local paper could be good for business (as long as you’re not making headlines for a scandal!). But perhaps you’re not sure what you do that’s newsworthy.
Well, the bar is sometimes a lot lower than you might think – it just takes one small good deed, at the right place and the right time. And it doesn’t hurt to have a photographer nearby.
Dr. Tom Davis, a dentist in Binghamton, NY, made news in his local paper after
he stopped to help a neighbor whose car was stuck in the snow. He was driving
home when he saw a woman spinning her tires in vain, her small sedan no match
for the pile of snow it was perched atop.
So Dr. Davis called two assistants, grabbed a shovel, and helped the woman extricate her car. When a local reporter with a camera happened upon the scene, the simple favor became a newsworthy act. Now everyone who reads the Binghamton paper knows what a great guy Dr. Davis is. Not bad for free publicity, huh?
But let’s say no reporters stumble upon you in your most heroic moment. Have no fear! It doesn’t take a lot of work on your part to get yourself and your practice in the news – and that’s free publicity. Let’s take a moment to look at
the power of press releases.
First off, you need to start with some newsworthy item. Some examples:
- You or your practice has received an award or honor.
- You’ve gotten new equipment or introduced a new service.
- You’ve done or are going to do something for the community: free dental care to
local kids, a charitable donation, volunteer work in another country, etc.
- Your practice has moved to a new location.
In creating your press release, think locally. Be sure the text includes your city, state, zip code and possibly county. Remember, most users search the internet to find local products or services. Including information about where
you’re located makes the local media more likely to notice and pick up on your story. You’ll also want to send copies of your press release to the local media – they are your friends! You’ll pick up more clients from a spot in your local
news than from any national media.
Make sure your press release is long enough to look respectable – that means at least 150 words. In fact, your release can be as long as 500-1000 words (for your reference, this article is about 650 words long). Keep in mind, however,
that most news outlets won’t reproduce the whole thing. That’s why most press releases are written in the inverted pyramid format, which means that the most important information is at the beginning of the document. That way, it reads smoothly even if paragraphs are lopped off the bottom. Remember the old adage: who, what, where, when and why.
Finally, if it’s an option, consider scheduling your release in advance. This gives the local media, bloggers and consumers time to read your release and research your practice beforehand. That way, you’ll get more press on the day of the big announcement or more visitors to your event.
Press releases can seem daunting at first, but they’re pretty simple, and they’re a great avenue for publicity. If you’re not sure where to start, there are lots of sites for press releases out there (for example, PR News Wire and Business Wire) – a quick Internet search will show you hundreds more. And don’t forget to include the local media – not just newspapers, but TV stations, radio stations, and popular local
Jim Du Molin
Survey: Men Who Cheat
In The Wealthy Dentist’s weekly poll, we recently asked: Are men in positions of
power more likely to cheat on their wives?
Three out of four dentists we polled said no: “Men (and women) cheat because it
is in our nature to do so,” wrote one respondent. “Men with money and power have
a better chance of cheating on their wives,” wrote another.
And a number of people pointed out the one-sidedness of the question – for
example, “Women cheat also! My ex-wife cheated on me!” The Wealthy Dentist
sincerely apologizes for any appearance of sexism, and certainly does know
(though fortunately not so much from personal experience!) that women can be
just as unethical as men. We just like any excuse to use our favorite Clinton
Check out more comments or more detailed survey results.
Dutch Orthodontists Overcharging Patients
Braces have never been cheap, but authorities in the Netherlands are doing something about it. The government health watchdog NZa recently announced that orthodontists have been systematically overcharging patients – and that they’ll need to drop their prices by 29%!
Two years ago saw the first price slash, an officially-mandated 8% reduction. The new 29% price cut will be distributed over the next 4 years. The first scheduled decrease (an across-the-board price reduction of 2.5%) is set for this summer.
An Arkansas dental practice is changing hands, and patients are getting the short end of the stick. Dr. Charles Rainey struck an agreement with Dr. Carl James to purchase Chuckles Family Dentistry in Rolla, Arkansas upon Dr. James’s
retirement. Partway through the deal, the dentists hit an impasse – and now hundreds of innocent patients are stuck in the middle, unable to retrieve their
The local newspaper published a story in December detailing the shortcomings of Dr. Rainey – a battery conviction a year earlier, alleged misconduct in dispensing narcotics, and claims of botching a patient’s surgery. Rainey and
James are in a financial dispute over exactly how much Rainey owes James for the dental practice. After Rainey was seen removing equipment from the office, James (who still officially owns the property) locked him out.
With charts and patient records locked away beyond Dr. Rainey’s reach, his patients are suffering. They can’t transfer their records to a new dentist, and some are still waiting on crowns and dentures. James even claims that Rainey
sent someone in posing as a police officer in an attempt to remove patient records. James insists his actions are reasonable – that, in fact, he’s not legally able to release the records because he’s no longer a licensed dentist.
Meanwhile, the police claim it’s a civil matter and their hands are tied.
Everyone’s blaming this fiasco on someone else, and in the meantime, it’s the patients who are suffering. Is anyone actually right? Or is everyone more interested in dodging responsibility than in helping patients?
Wyoming’s Only Denturist Now Out of a Job
Gary Vollan is passionate about denturism. For years, he’s been making dentures
directly for the public. But the Wyoming Board of Dental Examiners declared his
practice illegal, claiming he was practicing dentistry without a dental license.
Lots of residents and loyal customers objected, and a state representative
drafted a bill to regulate the denturism profession and let Vollan go back to
work. But – and this may be in part because Vollan is the only denturist in
Wyoming – the bill died in committee.
Though he doesn’t have a dental license, Vollan’s credentials are nothing to scoff at. A dental technician with an associate’s degree in dental lab technology, Vollan graduated from the now-defunct two-year Oregon Denturist
Program. Vollan is a licensed denturist in Oregon, one of 6 states that recognize and regulate the profession. Vollan moved to Wyoming fifteen years ago; at that time, he wrote to the state’s dental board requesting regulation of
denturism. He worked for years as a denturist without incident, but complaints from dentists began when he announced plans to build a new office.
Vollan, a single father of 10, is looking at a lot of work if he wants to practice in Wyoming. The ADA “vigorously opposes denturism,” and the president of the Wyoming Dental Association says it’s a public safety issue – with such an
unregulated profession, there’s no way to know if individuals are qualified or not. Vollan, bolstered by the support of his community, is looking both to appeal his case to the state’s Supreme Court and also to put a denturism
initiative on the ballot.
What do you think? Should the dental profession welcome licensed denturism, or are denturists a danger to patients’ dental health?