Discount Dentists: Q&A With Dr. Ron Arndt, The Dental Coach

by Dr. Ron Arndt

Dental practice management and using group social media couponsBefore any dentist makes the decision to market deep discounts or use a group-purchasing site like Groupon, they should look at their Core Values and Vision.

Question: Coach – Should dentists be using sites like Groupon, and does it make sense for us to offer deep discounts?

Answer: Before I answer that question, let me ask a few more: How do you choose to market your practice? Do you market your practice as a place where patients can get high-quality oral healthcare, or are you Walmart?

You see, those group-coupons can drive an awful lot of patients into your office. However, not every office is prepared for that stampede.

There’s an issue surrounding these deals that receives a lot less attention, but one that really irks me nonetheless. Those daily deal sites are training patients to expect that they can get almost any kind of dental treatment for cheap! This produces confusion and anxiety for the doctor.

Think about this: You are charging some patients full fees and you charge others half fees. Therefore, you are making some patients happy and some patients unhappy. If you offer a discount for the first service, your loyal patients become unhappy because they feel they’ve overpaid. And it doesn’t stop there. Those patients who received dirt cheap service won’t come back and pay full fees, because they are used to your discounted fee.

Does this sound like a recipe for success? What would happen to your practice if you are training patients to wait for the next big deal? What do group-buying sites, like Groupon, do for your brand image?

Have you tried a discount service like Groupon? If so, please share your experience in the comments below.


  1. Ron,

    I have not used Groupon or other media like that, but I am in the process of beginning a “Lifetime Whitening” program where we offer home whitening at a deep discount (say $99 or $129) and then, so long as they don’t miss any scheduled appointments, they get a free touch-up syringe twice a year at recare visits.

    Do you think a program like that leads them to expect discounts in all areas of dental care, or will it function, as I intend, as an incentive keep their appointments?


    Chris Thielen

  2. Coach Ron says:

    Dr. Chris, I really like your idea of extending a Lifetime Whitening with boundaries. It supports the idea of quality care and your interest in your patients taking care of themselves and assuming responsibility for their own well being.

    I do not believe an offer of excellence suggests any other discounted care or the possibility of such. It is a great incentive for them to protect their initial investment and to behave responsibly. Take a bow!!!