A new survey of 9,000 orthodontists and dentists by TeleVox, Mobile, Ala, has found that most orthodontic and dental practices are struggling with incorporating social media and marketing into their practices. The 2010 North American Dental Practice Survey findings show a need for a solution that does not require practitioners to shift resources away from other important practice objectives.

The survey found that almost three-quarters of the staff responsible for marketing their practices have no qualifications or experience in the field. The survey also found that almost 50% of orthodontists and dentists are taking on the marketing responsibility of their practices.

While 95% of practices surveyed reported having a Web site, only 50% had a Facebook fan page. Despite the fact that a Web presence has become an effective means of connecting with patients and potential patients, many practices are struggling with the technology.

More than 50% of orthodontic and dental practices surveyed reported that they are not proactively promoting and marketing their products, but would do so if it was made simple. Still, nearly all practices surveyed plan to or are currently deploying new forms of patient communications—including Web and e-mail marketing, as well as Twitter, Facebook, and SMS texting—in the next year.