Marketing your orthodontic practice is imperative to bringing in new patients, but when you have to sit and think of new, creative ideas the task often drudges on. This is especially true if you, or someone on your staff is not a marketer by trade. Don’t worry though. Our team at Doctor Referral Institute is here to help you get started.

One marketing tactic to consider is fun and engaging contests for your community to get involved in. To help you, and other orthodontists, gain inspiration our team has collected five contests ideas that will be a hit at your practice.

1. Braces-Friendly Recipe Contests

Often those who receive braces are not prepared for the type of food changes that take place in their life. Having treats (especially during holidays) that will not damage orthodontic appliances is mandatory in the maintenance of braces. Offer a recipe contest during Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or other sweet-friendly holidays.

  • The Rules: The recipe must be fit for someone to eat who wears braces, and matches the holiday theme. The winner, after being announced, will have their recipe featured on your social media channels and the treat will be offered in the office between dates specified by your office for people to try.

2. The Funniest Orthodontic Meme Contest

Memes (pronounced “meeeems” are seen all over the internet today from Pinterest, to Facebook, and everywhere in between. They typically describe a situation that rings true to a particular event, or group of people. Have your patients create a meme that perfectly (and funnily) describes what it is like having braces. This will be especially engaging for your teenaged patients.

Examples of memes:




  • The Rules: Memes must be created and shared with your office via social media using a hashtag (such as #BraceYourselfContest). They must follow your channels. The greatest smiling-inducing meme wins. Winner gets to take home a prize of your practice’s choosing.

3. Draw Your Orthodontist Contest

Orthodontists create meaningful relationships with their patients over years, and years, of appointments. Chances are your patients have your face memorized, and know your personality decently well. Encourage engagement at your practice by holding a contest where they draw your portrait, and you share the winning art.

  • The Rules: This is best done by children ages 5 - 9. Drawings need to be due by a specific date, and hung up in the office when received. There should be a vote among your staff, and winner gets a prize of your practice’s choosing.

4. Run a Flossing Challenge Contest

Like a gym, teeth maintenance is important, but often difficult to get people to due consistently. One way to get your staff and patients involved together is to have a challenge-type contest. Flossing is especially important for those with braces, so encourage better upkeep and engagement by holding a flossing contest. Create a group on Facebook, and invite your patients to join it. Everyone involved in the challenge will be able to check in when they have flossed that day, including your staff members. Encourage your patients to invite local friends and family to the group to join in the challenge as well.

  • The Rules: Winners must be a part of the “30-Day Flossing Challenge by Dr. Name” group on Facebook. Winners who check in by posting within the group all 30-days win a prize. Those who flossed 90% of the time, get a lesser prize.

5. The Brace Face Selfie Challenge Contest

The best way to encourage engagement and promote your practice is to have your patients promote for you. When patients choose to post about your practice, HIPPA laws go away and make things less cumbersome for you. One way to create this engagement is to have a “selfie challenge” contest.

  • The Rules: Patient must take a selfie with a sign you’ve created while in your office and tag your office in their post. You will reshare on your business page. Vote for favorite selfies will be made each month internally. Winner gets a prize chosen by your staff that month.

What Else Can You Do Besides Contests?

Contests are a great way to engage current and new patients, but other marketing tactics can drive more patient volume as well. If you haven’t considered referral marketing for your practice yet, now is the time. More than ever, it is important to form meaningful, face-to-face relationships with dentists and other doctors in your area to help drive referrals back to your practice. Referred patients are more likely to attend appointments and fulfill invoices on time. The team at Doctor Referral Institute has created a system that helps you achieve results, while taking the work off of your plate by providing a fully managed team of referral specialists, in-depth reporting on progress, and a strategy that brings you quality patients. Learn more about what we do here.


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About The Author

For over 12 years, Rominski owned and operated one of the largest physical medicine practices in the country. He built that business by building relationships with physicians that referred the type of qualified patients that he specialized in. Not only did that grow the practice, but patients were happy they were being referred to a doctor that specialized in the condition they had. From those concepts, Rominski started Doctor Referral Institute and implemented my New Patient Referral System. Doctor Referral Institute builds relationships between providers to grow their practice and increase patient outcomes.