It’s Time For Orthodontists and Dentists To Think Seriously About Practice Marketing

Orthodontic and dental practices are beset on all sides, and it’s time for them to fight back.

An article by the Associated Press in late April announced that CVS is adding SmileDirectClub services to “hundreds of its locations.” Granted, that’s a small percentage of the CVS stores in the country, but plans are to expand the new service to more than 1,000 CVS locations. That’s roughly 1 in 10 stores.

This new strategic alliance is going to hit orthodontists and dentists who offer clear aligners right in the bottom line for several reasons.

It’s A Cost, Convenience, and Visibility Thing

CVS is quoting a price of $1850 before insurance for the new service. A SmileDirect employee stationed on location will take a 3D image of the customer’s mouth which is then sent to a dentist or orthodontist for treatment plan approval. The aligners are shipped by SmileDirect, presumably. Periodic check-ins with a dentist or orthodontist are accomplished remotely, even via smartphone.

SmileDirect’s business model makes perfect sense – take advantage of well-known, conveniently located, heavily advertised locations with high traffic and a business model that is at least tangentially related. SmileDirect’s marketing costs should be lower, and it’s likely that CVS will team with SmileDirect to advertise the new service.

To add insult to injury, the article states that “CVS Health also will add SmileDirect service as a covered option in the dental care network of its recently acquired Aetna health insurance business. Another insurer, UnitedHealthcare, announced a similar coverage expansion Thursday.”

It’s the rare orthodontic practice that will be able to compete with this model. But there is a way, and it relies on hitting the new business pairing “where they ain’t.”

Don’t Make It About Price

The pairing and the offer are clearly meant to attract price-driven customers. That’s not to say that people with discretionary income don’t use CVS’ pharmacy services, but they’re far less likely to shop there for other items.

CVS and SmileDirect are unlikely to get a market’s better dental patients with orthodontic needs. It’s really no different than the prospects that an Aspen Dental or a Heartland Dental office attracts; prospects trade the potential of a lasting, comfortable, personal experience for paying less.

There are any number of people who wouldn’t even consider using one of the chains for their dental needs. In fact, in virtually every market, some 20-40 percent of dental prospects favor a relationship with the right orthodontist or dentist over saving money… because they can afford to.

SmartBox Is The Answer

SmartBox is a practice growth firm that helps convert your marketing investment into bottom-line profits.

  • We handle every aspect of helping you attract more of the patients you want.
  • We help your front office convert more callers to appointed patients.
  • We help identify problems with your front office’s phone techniques.
  • We help you retain more of the patients you have.
  • We always have our eye on increasing your bottom line profits.

Discover what creating your own strategic alliance with SmartBox can do for your practice, even in the face of the new CVS-SmileDirect partnership. Schedule a Roadmap call, a deep dive into your goals, the competitive factors at work in your market, and how you’ll achieve those goals.

The call takes about as long as you need to seat a single crown or an implant. Following the call, we’ll send your completely personalized Roadmap to the success you want.

The competition is tough, and it’s only going to get tougher. Take action now to safeguard your future.