One of the general dentists in my group spoke with a new patient the other day – she came in for an emergency exam for a toothache and he was asking how she found out about our practice. She said she visited the local hospital emergency room and they gave her a prescription for Vicodin and referred her to one of the major corporate chain dental practices in our area - a 45 minute drive from the hospital!
This woman was smart enough to get online and search for dental practices in the area – and found our website, and called and scheduled her appointment. Hearing this story, I have a new dental marketing program – contacting all the local hospital emergency rooms in our area to ask how they handle dental emergencies and provide them our practice as a referral source. As I think about this project, I also should include the new ‘Urgent Care Centers’ that are much smaller but located throughout the area. Luckily, we already have a brochure created that talks about dental emergencies (we created it for a new hotel that came into town a few years ago).
Where do your local hospital emergency rooms send their patients who come in with a toothache? Would you be willing to take some phone calls from people in pain who could really use your help? If you help someone get out of pain, they may very likely become a regular patient – and you can help them to become part of your recall program, so they never have to be in pain again. In this economy, this may help also to fill some last minute openings in your schedule with people who have simply been putting off a dental visit until they absolutely have to go.