Naming Your Dental Practice, What You Need To Know
This post was originally published May 31, 2016 and updated March 6, 2020.
Do you need to come up with a name for your dental practice? There might be more than one reason that you’d need to do it. For example, you might buying an existing dental practice and need a new identity to make the practice your own. Or, you might be opening your own practice and wondering what to call it.
Or perhaps you brought on a new business partner or associate, and the original name doesn’t exactly fit anymore. Whatever the reason, it’s essential to come up with the right name. Rebranding your practice requires some thought and attention to detail.
What’s in a Dental Practice Name?
Does the name of your practice matter? The short answer is yes. The right name can make the job of marketing your practice easy. It can attract new patients and make you stand out from other practices in your area.
Here are some of the key points to keep in mind when conceptualizing a new name for your dentalpractice:
When choosing a dental clinic name, you have several options. It’s important to take your goals, vision, and circumstances into consideration, since each of these may warrant a different approach. There’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach to naming a dental practice, but in this article, we’ll focus on “one size fits many.”
You want people to think “dentist” when the business name pops up. You want to make this easy and instantaneous.
Names are important, but be careful not to get too bogged down in the process. Think through the decision, of course -- but don’t suffer paralysis by analysis. In the end, it probably isn’t the end of the world if you are:
Las Vegas Smile Artists
Las Vegas Family & Implant Dentistry
See what I’m saying?
Now, here are some things to keep in mind as you choose a name.
1. Consider the Legalities of a Potential Dental Office Name
Your first consideration (and arguably your last) must be the legality of your name. If you already have a name in mind, you’ll need to check to make sure your name isn’t taken. There are several places to check:
Also, very important:
Do a Google search on the name!
This step is critical.
Not doing your research ahead of time could cost you countless hours of legal issues, thousands of dollars, and the potential of rebranding your business shortly after inadvertently choosing an inappropriate or trademarked name.
2. What’s Your Personal Brand?
Using your actual name as part of your practice’s name is considered “personal branding” in the marketing world. Many dentists do this - just use their full name followed by DMD or DDS. This approach is simple as you’re unlikely to encounter another dentist in your area with the same name as you.
While most people will recognize you’re a dentist when attaching the DDS to your name, using the DMD is sometimes confusing to potential patients who may mistake your degree in dentistry for that of a physician.
There’s also the question of whether using your name help you create a memorable brand. If you come from a long line of dentists who practiced in the same area, then you can probably benefit by using the family name for your practice.
However, if your name isn’t well known then the branding benefits of using it are limited. You might be better served by choosing a catchy name that people are likely to remember. Which name makes for a better brand:
Bright Smile Dentistry
Dr. Millie R. Crock, DDS
Nothing against Millie, but the first name is far more memorable than the second. Keep that in mind as you ponder whether to use your name.
It’s also worth noting that if you plan to one day sell the business or add a partner you may be better served with a different approach. Remember to begin with the end in mind. Considering your future plans for your practice can save you trouble down the line.
3. Your Practice Name Says What You Do
The next approach to consider is incorporating the name of your specialty into the name of your practice. This is a good way to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Look at the picture below. It might not be the most exciting name out there, but it highlights a specialty that’s a real selling point for some patients.
This type of name could be a wise choice if you are a specialist or offer specialty services, such as cosmetic dentistry, emergency services, endodontics, pediatric services, or TMJ/TMD. It can also be combined with some of the other examples listed in this article. In the example above, the name combines a specialty (sedation dentistry) with a specific location (San Diego.)
The primary advantage of including specialties in your name is that it eliminates guesswork. If a patient who’s interested in pediatric dentistry looks up dentists in their area and sees two choices, only one of which uses the words “pediatric dentistry” in the name, which one do you think they’re more likely to choose?
4. Your Practice Name Says Where You Are
Earlier, I told you that there’s some benefit to including the name of your city in the name of your practice. Let’s talk a bit more about that.
First, most searches on Google today are local by default. Even if someone searches for a dentist without including a local keyword like a city, they’re still going to get local results because Google’s algorithms know where they’re located.
That means that using dental and locational keywords in your business name is smart. It can help put your practice at the top of Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP.)
Also, Google has recently made it so that only three businesses appear in the coveted 3-pack that appears at the top of the SERP, and the practices that show up there get the lion’s share of clicks. Using local keywords makes it more likely that you’ll earn one of those spots.
However, search engines aren’t the only reason to use locational words in the name of your practice. For example, if there is a local landmark or park nearby you may be able to incorporate that name into yours. Consider taking advantage of community goodwill when you choose a name for your dental practice.
This can be a great branding approach provided that you don’t have immediate plans to open additional offices or to move. Let’s look at an example.
This is what Riverwoods Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery did. The practice is in Provo, UT near an area known as The Riverwoods.
You can see that they used the Riverwoods name, and they even incorporated visual representations of the name into their logo, which includes a tree and a river.
5. Name Your Practice with Your Patients in Mind
Anyone with marketing experience can tell you that when it comes to building a successful brand, your audience is a big part of the equation.
Why? Because not every dental practice is suitable for every prospective patient. Think about it. A practice that caters to children isn’t likely to be a good match for a wealthy single man. A practice that specializes in high-priced concierge dentistry won’t appeal to a middle-class family.
For that reason, it might be a good idea to choose a name that’s likely to speak directly to the people in your target audience. Here are some examples.
This dental practice, located in Salt Lake City, caters to wealthy clients. In addition to offering high-tech dental services, they offer spa services such as manicures, pedicures, and facials. Their goal is to pamper their patients and by including the word “spa” in their name, they’ve made that clear.
By contrast, check out this name (and logo) from a dental practice that specializes in treating kids:
Notice that the name, the colors, and the logo all work together to make it clear that this practice knows how to put kids at ease when they come to see the dentist. The takeaway here is that including your audience can help you create a compelling brand – and a compelling name.
6. Focus on Your Patients’ Feelings
Another marketing approach that’s useful is to focus on the benefits of what you do – specifically, how will patients feel if they choose you as their dentist?
One of the most popular options is to use the word “smile” in the name of your dental practice. It works because people make an association between their smiles and the condition of their teeth – but they also associate a smile with being happy. Look at this example from a Boston-area dentist:
The message this name sends is that not only will you have a great smile if you choose this dentist, it will be so beautiful that others will admire it. That’s an attractive thought for many patients.
Some other examples along these lines include:
Happy Family Dentistry
The Painless Dentist
You can see how these names play to prospective patients’ emotions and influence the way they think about a dental practice before they ever walk into the office.
7. Use Wordplay to Catch Patients’ Attention
One trendy approach is to come up with a name that’s practically an advertising jingle by itself. This approach can be effective if you can find something original and catchy. Remember, your patients want to identify with your brand. When they receive a compliment on the whiteness of their teeth, you want them to share refer their friends to you.
Some examples of wordplay include rhyming. Consider the poetry of this name:
You might also play with double meanings. For example, one memorable name for a dental practice might be:
The Whole Tooth
It plays on the oath people take in court, but it replaces “truth” with “tooth” for a unique and memorable name.
You get the idea, I hope. Having a little fun with the name of your dental practice can help you stand out in a crowd. You don’t have to settle for an ordinary name when you can come up with something that’s truly special.
Another argument in favor of this type of creative naming is that your name can grow with your practice. You might be starting out with just one dentist in one office, but with a creative name, you can easily add additional dentists, more staff, and even open more offices down the line – all without having to change your practice’s name.
8. Additional Considerations for Creating the Best Dental Practice Name
The options above cover the general naming ideas for dental practices.
What else should you consider when naming your dental office?
What’s in a name? Plenty when it comes to naming your dental practice. If you choose the wrong name, you may struggle to attract patients and grow your practice. If you choose the right one, patients will want to make you their dentist even if they don’t know anything about you.
A name is a powerful thing. Careful, thoughtful planning before choosing a name for your dental practice will allow you to gain name recognition within your community. It also forms the cornerstone of your marketing strategy.
Do you have suggestions about creating effective dental practice names? Tell us in the comments!