A book can be the key to growing your practice, personal brand, and industry reputation.

By Tonya Johnson

There is a book inside every orthodontist, and the information that you share with patients on a daily basis puts you one step closer to getting published. But it takes more than just coming up with bright ideas and deciding to write a book. You have to value the content of what you’re bringing to the table, and be willing to follow through. However, it can be difficult to outline, write, and publish a book without any assistance from a professional—and that’s why so few orthodontists decide to do it.

With five published books under his belt, Adam Witty, founder and chief executive officer of Advantage|Forbes Books, has set out to help orthodontists write and publish a book to grow their practice and build their authority status. He built Advantage into one of the largest business book publishers in America, serving members in 64 countries. To date, the company has supported more than 100 orthodontists and 2,000 other business owners in this effort. Advantage has been included on Inc. 5000’s list of America’s most rapidly growing private companies, seven out of the past 8 years. Witty is a much sought-after speaker, teacher and consultant on marketing and business growth techniques for entrepreneurs and authors.

“I want to remind orthodontists that they are in the marketing business as much as they are in the orthodontics business,” he says. “If you aren’t marketing yourself every morning—‘what are we going to do today to bring a new patient into our practice’, who is? Building authority is all about making yourself the “go to” orthodontist that everyone in your community would prefer to work with. It’s about putting yourself in a ‘category of one.” By simply creating content that answers the common questions prospective patients are seeking, you will have enough content to begin outlining your book in no time.

The Pillars of Authority Marketing

Witty’s latest book Authority Marketing, co-written by Rusty Shelton, provides a blueprint for doctors to strategically build their authority in their community/marketplace. Earlier this year, he shared with a group of practitioners at The Forum 2020, sponsored by Ormco Corp, in Palm Desert, Calif, The 4 Pillars of Authority Marketing, and the three outcomes that they typically create, that he presents in his book. During the presentation, Witty discussed the concept of the Authority Marketing Coliseum, which teaches a practitioner how to become the undisputed expert, influential authority, and in-demand celebrity—and the orthodontist that every patient (and parent) wants to trust with their smile.

He told the doctors that the Authority Marketing Coliseum can also set the business up for hyper growth, which can take their practices to new heights. In turn, this will make marketing, selling and building trust with their patients easier and quicker than ever before. And, if done right, a doctor’s Authority Coliseum can benefit them for the rest of their professional career. Publishing a book is the foundation of the “Authority Marketing Coliseum,” because it can help the orthodontist build credibility and expertise immediately. In addition to writing a book, the four pillars that magnify that authority include:

  • Branding and Omnipresence. Build an authority brand, online and offline.
  • Content Marketing.  Publish highly valuable content that your ideal client profile will consume. Concentrate on answering the questions that are keeping your patients and prospective patients awake at night. Content Marketing includes articles, blog posts, a newsletter, a podcast, short videos, etc.
  • Speaking. Begin to speak in your community about oral health topics and how to craft a perfect smile.
  • PR and Media. No doctor is getting too much free publicity. In fact, most are getting none at all. Give the media something to talk about (hint: your book)! The media wants to talk to the authority and expert on the topic. If you don’t position yourself that way, the media will find someone else.

As a published author, applying the four pillars of marketing will typically, according to Witty,  lead to three outcomes that most doctors are interested in:

  1. Increase the quality and quantity of leads.
  2. Improve the conversion of leads to patients.
  3. Stimulate referrals from patients. 

And Witty says, to make money, advance your orthodontic practice and personal brand, always remember:

  • No trust = no sale. A patient will not accept treatment from you unless they have full trust in you and your ability. Building your authority builds the trust prospects have in you, increasing your lead to patient conversion rate.
  • Authority differentiates you from other doctors. In the orthodontics world, now more than ever, price and price comparisons are at the top of mind for patients. Google has made this really easy. You must be the orange when everyone else is an apple. The more authority you have, the more premium pricing power it gives you and your practice.
  • Affluent clientele will pay more for the who, than the what. As you build your authority it will attract higher educated and affluent clientele who are willing to pay more for the specific provider than the specific treatment.

After the Forum 2020 workshop, Jamie Reynolds, DDS, MS, of Spillane & Reynolds Orthodontics, located in Michigan; Stuart L. Frost, DDS of Frost Orthodontics in Mesa, Ariz; and Grant Collins, DDS, MS of Rochester, Minn, (better known as “The Braces Guy”), joined the marketing and publishing expert in a panel discussion, led by Sheila Tan, vice president of Ormco, to share how they’ve all implemented the principles and tactics of Authority Marketing into their own practices and have seen dramatic results.

Since publishing his book, World Class Smiles, Made in Detroit: The Straight-Shooting Orthodontist’s Guide to Your Amazing Smile, Reynolds says, business has tripled at the practice. As the co-founder of OrthoFi, and a leading national voice on digital and accelerated orthodontics, he lectures around the globe on the Damon System, advanced orthodontic technologies and soft-tissue lasers and aligners.

Becoming a published author

It took Reynolds a year to write the book—which includes material adapted from his lectures and the topics he most enjoys sharing with prospective patients. He had periods when he wrote nothing, then later would be inspired to write a lot in one sitting. “Writing a book is not the only reason for that growth,” Reynolds explains. “However, authorship and the concept of Authority Marketing was a key component of the overall sales and marketing strategy that led to our growth.”

With an unprecedented period of rapid change in the orthodontic profession, Reynolds believes that anything an orthodontist can do to both communicate with prospective clients and position themselves as experts in the field, will be beneficial for both the patient and the doctor. “Patients will get the information they need and begin to consider more thoughtfully about why there is more value in them seeking the opinion of an orthodontic specialist.” Currently, he is working on a practice management book based on data generated by OrthoFi.

Frost has served as an associate clinical professor in the orthodontic program at the University of the Pacific for the past 13 years, and wrote The Artist Orthodontist: Creating An Artistic Smile Is More Than Just Straightening Teeth. “As is evident today, many dentists try and straighten teeth and now there are [direct-to-consumer] aligner companies that bypass the orthodontist all together,” he notes. His Top 10 best seller in the Amazon orthodontics category teaches the public that there is more to a smile than just lining up the front teeth. In the book, Frost, who lectures globally on the Damon system and conducts in-office courses, describes how the face is impacted during treatment and how a beautiful smile can be created by following artistic protocols in tooth alignment.


“Writing a book has allowed me to inspire other orthodontists to see their cases as works of art,” he says. “It has also helped others realize that when they finish their orthodontic cases more beautifully, it actually changes lives and builds patients’ confidence. It has also given me more authority status with my patients and with the doctors I associate with.” OP

Tonya Johnson is associate editor of Orthodontic Products