Oklahoma Dental Association Launches Advertising Campaign for Dentistry; Urges Other Societies To

Oklahoma Dental Association Launches Advertising Campaign for Dentistry; Urges Other Societies To Join; National Campaign Is Stalled by Bureaucracy

Oklahoma Dental Association Launches Advertising Campaign for Dentistry; Urges Other Societies To Join; National Campaign Is Stalled by Bureaucracy

It is time for dentists to wake up and smell the coffee when it comes to the ADA sponsoring a national advertising campaign. It doesn`t really matter how important we feel it is, the good `ol boys club ain`t gonna let it happen. Now don`t misunderstand me. I fully support the idea of national advertising and realize that a few commercials about sealants, implants or cosmetic dentistry during "E.R.", "Friends" or certain sporting events could mean an explosion in production, as well as benefiting the public. It will never get to that point because of the usual bureaucratic B.S. that happens in large organizations.

So, what`s a poor dentist to do? How about getting off your complaining duffs and doing something about it? Take matters into your own hands at a lower level. Organize through your state councils to use a state-wide approach to a multimedia advertising campaign. Here in Oklahoma, over two years ago, such an idea was brought forth. Countless hours of work by many dentists in this state, including myself, were put into this project. Opposition was met at every turn. But as of this fall, a state-wide television and radio advertising campaign is in full swing.

The project itself, while time-consuming, was not that hard. The most difficult part was convincing the state`s dentists of the positive effects it could have on their individual practices. Once done, the bill was passed through our House of Delegates. Sponsored by a dues assessment to the members, our campaign is underway.

We in Oklahoma are not the first to do this. Several states, including Michigan and California, have preceded us. One great thing about this is you don`t have to reinvent the wheel. To keep our costs down, we were able to lease commercials that already had been used in other states and just change some graphics and wording. With the commercial ending, "See your Oklahoma Dental Association member," it also is a great way to promote participation of dentists not involved with organized dentistry in your state. We also developed a package of stickers, counter displays, etc., showing that we are ODA members.

The bottom line is this: Don`t just wait around for someone else to take care of you. Be proactive. Fight for a national campaign; but, if it isn`t going to happen in the foreseeable future, take matters into your own hands. Be persistent and ruthless. We have to fight for our profession before managed care manages to destroy us.

Kevin L. Winters, DDS

Claremore, OK

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