October is the beginning of fall, with cooler weather and shorter days signaling the end of summer. It’s National Orthodontic Health Month (NOHM), a time to celebrate oral health, straight smiles, and advances in orthodontic treatment. It’s also a time for new orthodontic patients to learn more about treatment options and consider beginning their orthodontic journey to a healthier smile. Below are some great ways you can promote NOHM and celebrate orthodontic health.

Offer Free Exams

To be competitive in any market, you should be offering free consultations already. But if you aren’t, National Orthodontic Health Month is a great time to start! Free initial exams are the perfect way to draw in new patients without them feeling pressure to commit to treatment prior to meeting you. Many new patients and their parents will feel more comfortable seeing your office, meeting the staff, and learning about treatments and payments before deciding on a treatment provider. By giving them the option to learn all this information in person (or virtually), you can relieve some of their anxiety.

Give Out Healthy Treats

October is also the month of Halloween, which means candy! But being an orthodontist office, providing candy to patients isn’t the best idea. Instead, to celebrate NOHM, consider providing healthy treats like sugar-free candy, chips, or fruit. You can also hand out pens, pencils, stickers, bags, or small toys as an alternative to sugary sweets. Another idea would be to give your patients a list of healthy and unhealthy treats to help them make better decisions throughout NOHM and the rest of the holiday season. 

School Visits

Just like dentists visit schools in February for National Children’s Dental Health Month, you can schedule times to talk to kids about how orthodontics help keep their smiles looking their best. Bring some of the branded swag mentioned in the section above, and be sure to include a handout with useful information about treatment and how to contact your practice to schedule a consultation.

Have a Contest or a Giveaway during National Orthodontic Health Month

Throughout the month of October, have different contests and giveaways for your patients. You could have a coloring contest for the younger kids and offer movie tickets or passes to local attractions as the prizes. You could have an essay content for the older kids, having them write about oral health or other orthodontic topics. Additionally, having a food drive is a great way to engage your patients throughout NOHM. You could even offer a prize to the person who brings in the most canned goods. 

Promote the Bullying Bites Campaign

NOHM is the perfect time to have your patients become familiar with Bullying Bites, the anti-bullying campaign sponsored by AAO. AAO has flyers you can put up around your orthodontic office. October 18 is Unity Day against bullying—have your staff wear orange and encourage your patients too as well. Photos of everyone’s orange attire can be shared on social media with the hashtag #bullyingbites. Just be sure to get permission from your patients and/or their parents before posting their photos.

National Orthodontic Health Month is a great way to engage your current patients and promote your orthodontic office. Whether through giveaways, social media posts, or campaigns, using October as a month to celebrate orthodontic treatment and oral health is a wonderful way to grow your practice.