I know that we orthodontists believe that our personality and our hobbies and our likes should be reflected in our offices. We think that our offices belong to us so, of course, they should be pleasing to us. The ultimate manifestation of this widely held belief is found in the theme office. I’ve seen 50’s themes, Beach themes, Sci-Fi themes, Rock and Roll themes, various sports themes and many, many more. I have to admit that I think are kinda cool I’ll admit but I’m not a member of your target demographic.

“What’s wrong with making my office my own? It’s my office! I can do whatever I want and my stuff is cool” I can hear you saying.

Honestly there is nothing at all wrong with making your office into something you really like as long as that happens to be something appealing to your target demographic.

I’m sure you think your stuff is cool, and it may be, but this mindset of making our offices appealing and interesting to the owner is just plain dumb. Almost no other businesses do this and for good reason. Logically, our places of business should be made as appealing as possible to our targeted demographic. Duh!

But how do we go about that?

Well, first you must know your target demographic. The people you want to serve will vary from place to place and from office to office but, for the most part, females from roughly 25 to 50 are the deciders in the orthodontic space. Language, race, religion, etc. certainly come into play and you may cater to a niche or subgroup, but no orthodontist can afford to ignore females from 25-50.

What does it mean to cater to females 25 to 50 in this country? Well, each human being is unique but when it comes to designing and decorating an office then you’ll want to think in general terms, though I know that generalization is not a popular or condoned pastime these days. An easy way to find out what you want to know is to host a focus group or have someone do that for you. One word of caution though, don’t allow current patients or their families to participate because they agree with you already. Take what you learn about your targeted demo’s preferences and design your office around that. Doesn’t that make more sense than focusing on what you like?

The other major demographic the vast majority of orthodontists cannot afford to ignore is kids, tweens and teens. Within this group, females consistently outnumber males so keep that in mind as well. When it comes to satisfying this diverse group (there’s a huge difference among the three groups) there is one easy and unifying tactic – music. None of the kids and few of the moms want to hear your 70’s, 80’s or 90’s music. I know you love it, but remember that it’s not about you: or at least it shouldn’t be. Modern music MAKES the modern orthodontic office’s atmosphere appealing and can overcome a great deal. Especially with volume. I know you “don’t like that crap” or “can’t imagine any mom will tolerate the lyrics in those songs” but you’re dead wrong and hurting your practice. Not only do patients and parents like today’s hits, your team likely will as well.

It’s your office and you can do whatever you want when it comes to building and running it. That being said, what is the ultimate purpose of your office? Hopefully it is designed to get people to come and seek treatment from you and to allow you to render treatment for said patients. To do otherwise is to risk everything in the modern dental landscape.