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12 gifts dentists can give patients on their first visit

Jan. 23, 2015
You want to encourage patients to return to your office, and free items might just do the trick. Here are 12 ideas if you're wondering what patients will like.

Going to a new dentist can be stressful, and you as dentists should be doing all you can to ease the distress of your new patients. Their first visit to your dental practice is a great time for you to help patients feel comfortable, and sharing free items with them is one way to do that. Here are 12 gifts that dentists can give to patients during their first visit to your dental practice.

A hygiene kit
This should include printed information about what the dental office can offer them. It can also include a toothbrush, small toothpaste, and dental floss. It can also include tools such as a dental mirror that allows patients to see the back of their teeth.

Free X-Ray and exam offers
Patients feel good when they don’t have to pay a fortune to get things started at your office. You can help them get these initial elements taken care of at no cost. Then you can schedule their follow-up appointments if they need additional care.

Goodie bags with toys, stickers, and coloring books
For young patients, goodie bags that contain toys, stickers, coloring books, and other items can be a great option. This helps patients feel great about their overall experience at your office. They will love being able to take home some items they earned for visiting the dentist. It can also encourage them to come back to your office in the future.

Reusable bags
Reusable bags that have some goodies in them are a great way to get things off to a good start with patients. Perhaps you can include discounts for various products such as an electric toothbrush. The reusable bags can be used for supplies, grocery shopping, and more. Advertise your dental business by printing the details of the business and your logo on these reusable bags.

Key chainsKey chains are a good choice because so many people need them. Consider a keychain that has a built-in flashlight. Patients will be more likely to use it that way. Plus, this is free advertising for your dental office if you have all your business information printed on the key chains.

Dental timer
It takes two minutes of brushing to completely clean the teeth. Yet as we all know, many people fail to brush for the recommended duration. A terrific gift for first-time patients is a dental timer. They can then become more aware of just how much time they’re spending on their brushing process.

A calendar
The pages of a free calendar can be customized to offer great dental hygiene tips for each month. A calendar can be given out in the last several weeks of the year for the coming year, or during the first couple of months of the New Year.

Who doesn’t need a great pen? This is a wonderful gift for new patients that most will really like. Every time they use it they’ll be reminded to take care of their dental health. A pen can also serve as a reminder to schedule a follow-up appointment. Make sure you invest in good quality pens so they last for a long time.

Sugar-free mints and candies
People often don’t try sugar-free products. They worry they won’t taste good so they don’t want to spend money on them. When you give away sugar-free products, patients will be more inclined to try them. If they like them, it may encourage them to purchase them in the future and thus avoid sugar-packed products.

Hand sanitizer and antibacterial kits
Hand sanitizer and antibacterial kits are becoming common gifts in dental and medical offices. These can be customized to have your office information printed on them. There are pocket hand sanitizers that are slim, like a credit card, and fit into the back pocket. These are perfect for outdoor events where someone may need them, but they don’t want to carry a big bottle around in their purse or bag.

Lip balm
Lip is inexpensive and something first time patients will use. It comes in plain and flavored options. This is a gift you can be sure it won’t be thrown away. Lip balm is available in tubes, or you might want to consider the tins with lids that slide back and forth.

A discount coupon
Offering a discount on specialty work is a good way to get patients to come back to your office, for example, a 25% off coupon for teeth whitening. Make sure such offers are time sensitive.

A dentist's work is never done
What's keeping patients away from your practice? Sometimes it's fear. How can you change that?

Dr. Paul Athanasius is a graduate of New York University School of Dentistry. After dental school Dr. Athanasius attended the general residency program at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, New Jersey, where he excelled in providing comprehensive care of patients with a focus on oral surgery, molar root canal treatments, fixed prosthesis, implant supported restorations, and operating room dentistry for developmentally disabled patients.