An interesting article appears in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery titled “Marketing—Preparing the Soil for Success” by James Hupp vol. 71, pp. 1-2, 2013. The article discusses how the general public does not know much about the possible health care services that an oral and maxillofacial surgeon can provide. It also is a bit of a reality check of how health care is practiced in the United States article. The article talks about a new marketing initiative and says
“To me, this represents the association’s wish to start a new time of planning and laying the groundwork for a new season of better educated consumers seeking our care.”
The author discusses how the image of oral and maxillofacial surgeons by the general public is not that well understood. Most would know that they remove teeth and have much expertise in this area as well as knowing that they provide sedation and anesthesia in their offices. Beyond this though, it is not clear what is known by the general public. This sounds to me like a reasonable belief and assumption.
The article says
“...despite our long history of providing care for patients with routine and complex facial fractures, craniomaxillofacial deformities, life-threatening infections, and benign and malignant pathologies of the orofacial complex, I do not believe our capabilities are widely appreciated.”
The article mentions that oral and maxillofacial surgeons provide dental implants, can provide advance forms of pain and anxiety control, and can work with orthodontists into bringing under or overdeveloped jaws into harmony through teamwork with orthodontists. Further, oral and maxillofacial surgeons provide care for those with severe facial trauma beyond just plastic surgeons and some have skills in facial esthetic surgery. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons also have skills in surgical oncology and reconstruction by restoring such abilities such as chewing food, swallowing food, and speaking clearly that may have been lost.
It will be interesting to see what types of marketing efforts may arise in the coming months or have already came about. Of course, one would rather see surgeons honing their clinical skills and research efforts rather than focusing on marketing their services, but this is an unfortunate reality of how health care is practiced in the United States.