The “Mythical” New Dental Patient: Location and Marital Status

If you haven’t read my two previous posts, you should. They report the results of a 2013 Gallup survey on the annual utilization of dental services in the U.S. and contrast the results with those of a 2008 survey.

Today, we’ll look at the untapped pool of potential new dental patients by location and marital status.

Results by Location

Regionally, about 69 percent of people who live in the East visited the dentist, the highest rate of any region. That was followed by the Midwest, where about 67 percent of people visited the dentist. Third was the West, where 65.5 percent of people visited the dentist in the last year. And coming in last was the South, where only 60 percent of people visited the dentist in the last year.

Only the West showed more than a 1 percent decrease in those rates from a similar poll done in 2008, and the West dropped less than 2 percent.

Most of this can be attributed to household income, but there could be some cultural issues at play here as well.

So think about where you live. Are there opportunities to reach out to those who are not going to the dentist regularly?

Looking at these numbers, there probably are.

Results by Marital Status

We’ve already seen that, nationally, women are more likely to visit the dentist than men, 67 percent to about 62 percent.

Yet about 71 percent of married people went to the dentist at least once in the last year – far higher than either men or women individually.

Among marital statuses, only married exceeded the national average of about 65 percent. Next closest was single, at about 61 percent, almost 2 percentage points lower than in 2008. Following that was divorced, at about 56 percent, a sizeable 3.5 percent less than in 2008.

Notice we are now about 10 percent below the national average.

After divorced, about 55 percent of domestic partners visited the dentist in the last year, about a percent less than in 2008. Widowed was next to last on the list at about 53.5 percent and unchanged since 2008.

Bringing up the rear was separated at 46.6 – a whopping 6 percent decrease from just five years ago.

If you’ll notice, that is fewer than half of all separated people and 25 percentage points below married.

When you look at divorced, widowed and separated, I bet that has a lot to do with loss of dental insurance and reduced household income.

You can see there is real opportunity to market to married couples as people likely to go to the dentist. There also is opportunity among those who are divorced because they are used to going and have decided to stop.

Be sure to read Thursday’s post where I’ll turn all this data into specific recommendations for tapping this huge pool of prospective new patients for your practice.




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About the author
Colin Receveur is a nationally recognized speaker, author, and dental web marketing expert who has pioneered the way dentists market themselves online for the past decade. Since incorporating in 2001, Colin has established a rock solid track record with his dentist clients and turned SmartBox into a stalwart of proven results for hundreds of dental practices.