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Internet Marketing FrenzyMany dental practices are scrambling to get exposure on the internet. The competition is becoming fierce in some areas... and especially for cosmetic and makeover procedures.
There are a number of marketing firms that assist dentists in their marketing, supplying them with advertising copy and even samples of dental photography. These firms often provide "marketing packages" that serve to market the practice for a variety of standard dental procedures.
Stock Dental Photography for General DentistryFor General Dentistry procedures it is probably safe to assume that a stock photo (a "purchased" photo from a publisher) for teeth whitening demonstrates the basic benefits and effects of the procedure. The same probably could be said of replacing old fillings with new white fillings.
These types of pictures demonstates, mostly, the effects of a particular material and some basic process to apply it. For particular dental procedures however, the use of appropriate photography becomes very important.
Acceptable Photography for Advanced ProceduresMany, if not most, people using the internet to research dental practices are NOT in need of general dentistry however. There is usually some unique need they have for a particular service or collection of procedures that guides their search.
Some dentists are using stock photography to demonstrate procedures, complete with before and after pictures, that have the potential of being misleading. Beware that many dentists may be promoting complex procedures but do not possess photos of their own work. Many dentists will label or caption their photos with statements referring to "actual work" of the dentist.
Many more dentists, unfortunately, do not. For complex restorative, reconstructive and makeover dentistry, photographs of actual work performed should be expected. Websites of this type that seem to have ample photography are probably using photos of actual work performed (most makeover dentists take pride in their talent and skills).
Caveat EmptorWebsites that seem to have too few photographs to support the procedures and expertise that are being marketed may be using borrowed or purchased stock photos. Consumers should verify that website photos are "actual work performed." Otherwise, caveat emptor (let the buyer beware).