Create Powerful Partnerships with Dentists

Strong relationships between dentists and orthodontists are not only beneficial to their practices; when the two work well together they serve the patients’ best interest as well.

Make a Connection

Dentists have a lot of influence on where the patient decides to go for orthodontic treatment. As an orthodontist, it’s important that your practice stands out in their mind. Starting at the beginning, orthodontists should make an effort to network with their surrounding dentists. This can be done both online and face-to-face. Social media can be extremely valuable for increasing interaction between dentists and orthodontists. For example, follow them on Instagram and comment on the content they post. Or, connect with them on LinkedIn, where you can join an industry-based group to expand your network and increase your chances of referrals.

Networking in person has its advantages as well. Invite their staff out to lunch to learn more about their practice, while also allowing them the opportunity to learn about your experience and credentials. Make sure to make a strong first impression, whichever method you choose. These initial networking efforts will help lay the foundation for your relationship.

Orthodontists should foster strong relationships with doctors in their area. A study published in BMC Oral Health found that collaboration between dental practitioners and non-dental primary care providers could greatly improve oral health, especially for people in rural areas. In the United States, more than 100 million people visit their primary care physician annually, but not their dental provider. Many primary care physicians can recognize dental or orthodontic issues and make patient referrals. 

Form relationships with dentists, oral surgeons, and endodontists. As patients visit one dental professional, other issues may be identified that fall within your area of expertise. Networking with other dental practitioners will allow you to establish connections that can foster patient relationships.  It can also help you stay up to date on medical issues, bounce ideas off another expert in your area of expertise, and get advice.

Offering a discount to dentists and their team members can help convince them to partner with you in the beginning, allowing you a chance to prove the value of having a relationship with your practice. Word of mouth serves as the most powerful marketing tool, so having dental employees display your excellent work can also encourage referrals. As their friends, family, and patients see their smile transformation, they will inevitably ask about the work they had done. 

Teach a dental hygienist continuing education (CE) course

Conducting a continuing education course for dental hygienists is a great way to both demonstrate expertise and help local hygienists obtain their necessary CE credits. This will help expand your professional network and give you the opportunity to foster relationships with several practices at the same time. They can also get a feeling for your personality and see you are interested in giving back to the community if the CE course is offered free of charge. 

Build a Strong Relationship

Once you’ve made a connection, it’s important you work to maintain a strong relationship. Let them know you appreciate their business and value what they can add to your practice. Have breakfast delivered to their office on occasion, or find other unique ways to show your appreciation.

It’s also important to point out that orthodontists offer benefits for dentists, too. While you’re building your relationship, discuss your own successes and use that as leverage for why you should work together. For example, you can talk about your education and experience, and reveal how many new patients you acquire each month. This way they will see the benefit of partnering with you because you can send new patients their way as well. Your relationship should be an equal partnership that results in a win-win scenario.

Make the Most of the Partnership

Referrals are the primary motive for dentists and orthodontists to partner with each other. Most patient-doctor relationships are built on trust; therefore, a patient is likely to take their doctor’s recommendation on who they should turn to for treatment.

In addition to word-of-mouth recommendations, dentists and orthodontists can partner together by showcasing their relationship through social media. For example, you can promote each other’s content or collaborate to create new content together. Typically, dentists and orthodontists are local organizations, so it can be a smart business move to share photos of you working together at community events. Showcasing your partnership to your online followers may also encourage referrals without either of you having to make a formal recommendation.

Put the Patient First

Now that you’ve acquired new patients, your partnership will work to their advantage if executed correctly.The key is simple: Always put the patient first. Dental Products Report conducted an interview with orthodontist Dr. David Sarver on the relationship between dentists and orthodontists. He was asked who decides the treatment plan for the patient. His response was that it varies case by case, and he used volleyball as a metaphor of their relationship. One of them takes the role of the leader, while the other is the “setter” who assists whoever hits the ball over the net. They work as a team where one creates the plan and the other one helps execute it to enhance their patient’s outcome. Having strong, trustworthy partnerships will help ensure everyone is working together in the patient’s best interest.

These partnerships have the potential to be extremely powerful; however, the final outcome is determined by whether orthodontists successfully take advantage of these opportunities. Contact Ortho Sales Engine for more information on connecting with dentists and creating beneficial relationships for your practice.

Ortho Sales Engine specializes in marketing solutions for orthodontists, combines more than 20 in-house services to create customized, repeatable marketing systems, and serves as a trusted partner to doctors and their teams. To learn more or schedule a free consultation, visit