adult patient

By Roger P. Levin, DDS

Faced with greater competition, many orthodontists have begun focusing more attention on adults as prospective patients. One segment of a practice’s adult market—the parents of young patients—can be reached relatively easily because there is already direct contact with them. However, reaching the larger group of adults who have no relationship with the ortho practice poses a greater challenge.

Following are some proven strategies for attracting new adult patients:

  • Reach out through young patients’ parents. Ortho practices seeking growth recognize parents of patients as an excellent source of referrals of young candidates for treatment. These referrers should also be asked for referrals of any adults who may need orthodontics. This can be accomplished by simply broadening the message in the ortho practice’s existing patient referral strategies. Instead of asking only for referrals of children, ask for referrals of children and adults who would benefit from better smiles. The advantages of this strategy are that there is virtually no added expense and that parents of patients can serve as great advocates for the ortho practice.
  • Become the community’s adult orthodontics expert. Write articles about the need for and advantages of ortho treatment for adults, and place these articles in local newspapers, newsletters, and any other available outlets. Also, volunteer to discuss the subject on local TV and radio stations.
  • Add “adult-friendly” features to the practice… and highlight them on the practice’s website. Practices should consider equipping and decorating one treatment room with adult patients in mind. Photos of adult patients can be included in marketing communications. Special hours can also be established to cater to working adults. These can be promoted on the practice’s website, along with ortho technologies that offer distinct advantages to adult patients.

The Levin Group Data Center™ reports that, of all the patients across the country getting ortho treatment, approximately 15% to 20% are adults. Any ortho practice not achieving this level is missing out on an excellent growth opportunity.

To learn how to run a more profitable, efficient and satisfying practice, visit the Levin Group Resource Center at You can also connect with Levin Group on Facebook and Twitter (@Levin_Group) to learn strategies and share ideas.