In my travels around the city visiting dental offices I came across this one.

Mr Dentist

You might think I’m going to be critical just for the fun of it, but that really is not my intent. Instead, I am intrigued by the marketing strategy and business model. After all, when someone creates the front of his business to communicate in the way this dentist has, I believe he is inviting reactions and responses.

First, obviously, this is an attempt to attract patients and the dentist has an idea who it is he or she wants to attract.

As to the dentist’s skills, the front of the building doesn’t tell us this. We might make a few assumptions, but whatever those assumptions are, are unproven. Neither gender nor ethnic background have anything to do with the skills of the dentist. I know this based on working with a wide variety of dentists throughout my career. And there is nothing wrong with choosing to work with low-income groups as a personal calling. However, public presentation with regards to signs, office location, external and internal lighting, color selection and the rest all have affects on potential customers/clients/patients. I am curious why he came to promote his practice in the way he has. He certainly is outside the norm, which can be good or bad depending…

Of course the biggest attractant to the marketplace for this dentist is his practice’s title, “Mr. Dentist.” This might not be that provocative in other countries where dentists have the title mister and not doctor. Again, it is the level of training and licensure that are important when it comes to patient care, not the title. However, in the United States, where a dentist must have the title doctor, I think he is making a statement with a particular objective in mind. Is it an admission of lower quality care? After all the patient, understanding that dentists are doctors, elects to go to “Mr. Dentist.” Is this a way of subtly preparing patients to not get their hopes up? On the other hand, this dentist offers dental implants which is normally found at the higher end of dental treatment options. Is there such a thing as schlocky dental implants? I’m afraid so. Buyer beware.

His signage also seems to infer that this particular dentist is not proud to be a dentist. I find this a troubling thought, frankly. Dentistry is hard enough to do without not liking the process in the first place. For this reason, I believe that attitude is as important as skill when it comes to being a good healthcare provider.

Perhaps this dentist is trying to send a message to patients that he isn’t stuck on himself or the doctor title like he believes all his colleagues are. If this is the case, I think it is a poor assumption on his part. Most of us understand the nature of the title and are way past thinking that much about this by the time we have been in practice just a few days or months normally.

Finally, attempting to convey the message that one is a nice down-to-earth fellow using store-front signage readable a mile away that tells people they can call you mister instead of doctor, seems a little over-the-top.

It’s sort of like yelling to someone, “I’m soft spoken!”