Dentists Putting Dental Work on Sale

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One out of three dentists is currently running a sale or promotion, found our most recent survey. Many feel they have no choice in the current economy, while other are concerned that offering discounts may cheapen the perceived value of dentistry.

Of course, many dentists already offer regular discounts as part of their normal dental marketing strategies. Others are adopting the practice as finances get tighter and patients become less eager to spend.

"Offer free consultations on implant cases, then try to wow them," advised one dentist.

Success with sales

  • “15-20%, but only for those without insurance. It has made a difference with people getting the work done, as they feel they are getting some help with the economy.” (Arizona dentist)
  • “One ad offers $100 off any dental service. Another ad is good for $50 off every $500 you spend. (Offers may not be combined.) 'Free whitening for life' is not bringing any returns as an ad, but it works well as an in-office patient referral system. Another offer that's working is $1000 off on any Invisalign case, with up-front payment.” (Colorado dentist)

Discounts for cash

  • “What we offer on a routine basis is a 5% courtesy for payment up-front. We will work with patients on an as-needed basis to extend further discounts (up to 10%) or to allow split payments on crowns (half due at time of scheduling and half at prep appointment).” (Texas dentist)

Discounted dental work

  • “25-50% off dental implant surgical placement. It has worked well!” (California
  • "10% -20% off Lumineers, Zoom, implants, etc. with payment at start of treatment.” (General dentist)

New patient exam discounts

  • “New patient exam with x-rays for $49.99.” (California dentist)
  • “We are offering new patient exams, x-rays, and cleaning for $49.” (Utah dentist)
  • “A new patient exam (and prophy in absence of perio) is $140 off.- regularly $289, now $149." (Virginia dentist)
  • “We routinely offer new patient discounts on comprehensive exam, cleanings, and tooth whitening. In December, we offered a $39 prophy for new patients as a limited-time offer. Hate to do it, but whatever it takes to stay afloat in this economy!” (Maine dentist)

Attract new patients

  • “Discounting only works if you are trying to attract new patients.” (Illinois pediatric dentist)
  • “We're offering practice entry discounts just to make it easier for patients to come in the first time. We offer free consultations on implant cases, then try to wow them.” (Washington dentist)

Whitening discounts

  • “Whitening is now $50 off.” (Missouri dentist)
  • “We've discounted Zoom whitening by $100.” (Tennessee dentist)
  • “For our Care to Share patients, we offer free tooth whitening.” (Utah dentist)

The dangers of discounts

  • “For higher-end practices, you have to be careful so promos don't come off cheesy.” (Pennsylvania dentist)
  • “I just raised my fees. Things are never as bad as they seem or as good as we'd like. Panic is the worst management philosophy possible.” (Ohio orthodontist)
  • “I think it cheapens dentistry. I already do free Lumineers consults which require time. We are in special times. I am tired of the drill-and-fill dentistry. I love cosmetics and implants and provide both. It is much more satisfying for me and the patient. I just can't sell it as well as others…” (Mississippi dentist)

Don't rush into it

  • "Actually, I'm still considering it – trying to work out what would be the most effective and legal way of promoting the discount, and what services to place it on. So far, we're staying busy, and haven't had the need, but, we're ready.” (Arkansas dentist)
  • “We're running dental promotions, but no more than usual.” (District of Columbia dentist)


Note: Survey sample included 62 respondents.

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