Marketing the dental practice: Know the rules

By | November 5, 2014

Marketing your dental practice is key to attracting new patients but it’s also important to do so ethically and to follow the law.

“The key is to be informed,” said Dr. Kevin Sessa, chair of the ADA Council on Dental Practice. “When you know the rules, you are better equipped to avoid breaking them. As dentists and small business owners, we’re all looking for ways to attract new patients and to retain our existing ones. Marketing your practice is a great way to do that but it’s important to do so in a legal and ethical way.”

The ADA has several resources that can help new and veteran dentists understand not only the basics of marketing and advertising but how to promote their practices within the law. One such publication, “Advertising Basics for Dentists and Dental Associations: A Guide to Federal and State Rules and Standards,” is an overview of federal and advertising-related laws and regulations.

It’s also a primer that includes links to useful electronic resources; discusses state advertising regulations; and also has a section on codes of ethics in dentistry.

Members can read the online publication hereEthical marketing. The publication emphasizes that while dentists can advertise their practice, they shouldn’t solicit patients in any form of communication that’s false or misleading. Dentists can find additional legal and ethical resources on

“Truthful, nondeceptive advertising of a dentist’s qualifications, services or facilities can help patients make informed choices about practitioners and services,” according to the publication. “On the other hand, advertising that is false or misleading harms patients by making it more difficult and costly for them to make informed choices.”

Knowing the basics of advertising laws also helps dentists know when to seek legal advice. Those with more questions or who need clarification can contact the ADA Division of Legal Affairs at

The ADA also offers “Internal Marketing: The Key to Dental Practice Success,” through its ADA Catalog. Chapters discuss cultivating referrals, developing practice newsletters and websites and utilizing social networking profitably and responsibly.

The 122-page book (P080) costs $49.95 for members and 74.95 for nonmembers; the e-book (P080D) is $39.95 for members and $59.95 for nonmembers; and the print and e-book bundle is $59.95 for members and $84.95 for nonmembers. All can be purchased on

Stay tuned for The ADA Practical Guide to Internet Marketing, coming in January.


6 thoughts on “Marketing the dental practice: Know the rules

  1. Whittier Square Dentistry

    Thanks for this timely article on building our dental practice ethically. We are actively promoting our business and the resources you suggest are much appreciated. We will use them to help us grow in and ethical way.

  2. Fernando Gomez

    One of the elements that will determine the success of your marketing campaign is the copy. This article reiterates the importance of content creation within the rules, which I believe is one of the key concepts in achieving satisfactory results. Seeking advice from an expert content marketer will be a great help.

  3. Dr. Steffany Mohan

    Great article you have shared. Thank you very much for such a complete guide. Buying a dental practice can be one of the most important milestones in a dentist’s career. Good sharing.

  4. Denys Dubner

    “Marketing your practice is a great way to do that but it’s important to do so in a legal and ethical way” is SPOT ON!!!

    We run online marketing campaigns for dental, vision correction and hair recovery practices in US and EU for several years now. If we didn’t have legal support we’d have to close our agency a long time ago.

    Great Article!


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