Late this fall, OPT-in Dental Advantage, a coalition of dentists and dental laboratory professionals committed to preserving the dentist-patient relationship and quality care, will launch the first Private Practice National Public Relations campaign. Funded by OPT-In members with additional support from dental companies, the campaign is being launched in reaction to complaints by private practitioners who say patients are being taught that dentists and dentistry are all the same, big clinics are cheaper and better, and that insurance companies create quality care.
“Private-practice dentists are losing patients daily to other clinical settings, while insurance continues to burden profitability for us all. That affects not just dentists but laboratories, too,” says OPT-In Laboratory Cooperative member Mike Hennessy, owner of Hennessy Dental Lab in Riviera Beach, Florida.
The organization has contracted the public relations firm Braithwaite Communications to develop brand-building content for national news outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, CNN, and others. According to Dean Mersky, DDS, founder of OPT-In Dental Advantage, “Today, insurance companies and large corporate dental chains are unilaterally influencing consumer decisions and attitudes. Meanwhile, private practitioners, with no representation, have no voice to help consumers understand the limitations of insurance and the real differences between practice models.”
Along with promoting private-practice dental care, Braithwaite will also address controversial insurance practices. To address this, the public relations campaign will educate patients on what to believe and what not to believe about dental insurance, and how the wrong decision can negatively impact their health. Consumers will be directed to the OPT-In consumer website, optindentaladvantage.com.
“We are the only experts in dental care,” says OPT-In Dental Advantage member Shad Lewis, DMD, of Reading, Pennsylvania. “If we aren’t willing to take responsibility for our profession, who will? If we aren’t willing to protect patients, to whom will they turn? Whose responsibility is it, if not ours?”
Mersky adds, “Henry Ford once said, ‘Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.' We can do all Ford suggests, if we want to. Considering all that is at stake, we should want to. Consumers need to know, and nobody is going to tell them, if not us.”
To learn more about the OPT-In campaign, dental laboratory owners, dentists, and dental company representatives can visit optincompanies.com or call 855-321-OPTN (6786).