Every year in early August, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) launches Dental Health Week, encouraging Australians to take better care of their oral health. This year it’s the 5th –11th of August.
Dental Health Week is their flagship promotional event, but it’s not just to raise public awareness. The ADA also offers dentists a great opportunity to publicise their own practices, bring in new patients and remind existing patients of the importance of dental care.
This year’s Dental Health Week slogan is ‘How’s your oral health tracking?’. Why not get involved to take advantage of the publicity which the ADA attracts each year?
The ADA has multiple resources to provide ideas and material for promoting your practice during Dental HealthWeek. You can download and print up posters and fact sheets for your practice –there is even bunting for additional colour. Fact sheets can also be useful for patients year-round so no need to pull them down after a week.
But it doesn’t stop there. Why not use this event to engage your visiting patients and staff with special occasions during the week? Or take your skills and knowledge out to the community with interviews or speaking events. Developing your public profile in your local community helps to build awareness of your practice, and trust in your skills.Dental Health Week is a great opportunity if you’re new to the area or haven’t done local events before.
While a professional appearance is standard for dental practice staff, a dress-up day for an occasion like Dental HealthWeek is an opportunity for engaging your staff and visiting patients. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, discuss the theme with your team and see what ideas they come up with. Something like ‘healthy eating’, always important for oral health, could involve fruit and vegetable cut outs or prints and funny hats. A healthy morning tea for staff and patients on the day could include cut-up fruit and vegetable sticks with dips such as hummus.
You could also have a colouring in competition for visiting children during the week. If you have printouts and crayons, they can colour while they’re in the waiting room, or take them home and drop them back in by the cut-off date.
With the media’s 24-hour news cycle needing more stories with fewer resources, your practice could be handy for an interview if your local media (television, radio or newspaper) knows in advance you’re available. Most media provides email and phone contacts for news tips –you can also contact them to let them know you’re having an event or available for comments on dental health in the area.
Take photos of your practice and the team dressed up as well. Time-poor community papers are often happy to run a picture about the day, especially if you’ve accompanied it with a brief, readable account of why your practice has dressed up and what your services are.
If you’re a member of local organisations such as sports clubs and community groups like Rotary or Lions clubs, offer to give a presentation on oral health, targeted to their demographic. For example, protecting teeth during contact sports and what to do if a tooth is broken or lost will be popular with parents of children’s sports clubs. If you’re not a member, always enquire to see if they’re in need of speakers. Many groups offer monthly talks to their members but can’t always find new speakers.
Other options could be presenting at medical clinics and pharmacies. Local schools might also appreciate an oral health talk for their students, tailored to the appropriate age group. The ADA hasPowerPoint slides in the Resource Kit or you can build up your own resources as you go.
Building up a local promotional network is important to create awareness in prospective patients and engage your current patients.
If you’re happy creating and giving public presentations, look for local opportunities and hone accompanying PowerPoint material.If you’re less enthusiastic about public speaking, you might prefer to prepare media information for local radio or newspapers. Or there may be another team member who can present well and can be the practice speaker.
If you donate for special events at school communities, you may have presentation or speaking opportunities, or your practice may gain publicity which attracts local parents. Stay aware of local occasions to build your profile within the community where your patients live. Not every idea will work everywhere, but with experience you can fine-tune what works for your practice.
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