Spreading Goodwill with the Goodie Bag

Patients Goodie BagThere are certain things every patient comes to expect when visiting the dentist. They generally expect prompt treatment, a staff that is attentive and kind, trained to ease any anxiety a patient may experience, and a doctor who provides quality care. But aside from these expectations, patients still look forward to that something special at the end of their appointments- goodie bags! In these tough economic times, like everyone else dentists are forced to cut back on the extras. It may be tempting to reduce goodie bag “goodies,” or to eliminate them altogether. However, the goodwill these tokens bring to your practice makes them worth the price- and the potential growth they promote. There is nothing worse than being disappointed when expectations are not met. However, exceed patient expectations, and you will have happy, referral-giving patients for life!


  • The Bag Itself

Consider how your bags are presented. Many companies specialize in dental-themed printed bags with handles, a pocket for business cards, and sometimes an imprint of your practice name and information. This is a great option if you can afford it, but other possibilities, such as brown paper lunch bags bought in bulk from a dollar store, can be effective as well. Not only are these bags reusable and biodegradable, but they can also be equally charming as their more expensive counterparts as long as some time is devoted to making the bags your own.

  • Decorative Options

No matter what kind of bag you choose, dressing it up a little can go a long way. Try tying ribbon around the top of the brown paper bag, or adorning a clear one with stickers. Adhering address labels is another way to decorate the bag a bit. If possible, keep a stock of bags decorated with different stickers or colors, depending on the age of the patient that will be taking it home.


Everyone loves receiving gifts and freebies. However, not all gifts are created equal.Taking the time to add a personal touch to anything you distribute to patients, including goodie bags, can boost your practice in the patient’s eyes.

It is always nice to receive a toothbrush and floss at the end of an appointment, but by getting a little more creative, you have the opportunity to show each individual patient that you see them as just that- an individual.

  • Established Patients

You never know which patients will be interested in those coupons and brochures you receive for new dental products. Including a few of those, along with a tongue scraper, a squeezer for maximizing toothpaste tubes, and some mouth wash will give your bags an edge. You can even make the toothbrush and floss giveaway a little more interesting by sometimes offering travel or disposable brushes, and floss holders.

  • New Patients

New patient bags should be loaded up with lots of goodies to leave a positive first impression. Sending them off with the usual items, plus a fridge magnet or a to-go mug imprinted with your information will leave new patients with a memorable token, and you an opportunity to get your name out there.

  • Adolescents

Teenagers and tweens are generally a tough group to please, but by customizing their bags to include goodies catered to their needs, you may bring a rare smile to an adolescent face! Small samples of lip balm, mouth rinses or sprays, and sugar-free or xylitol chewing gum are usually appreciated by this age group.
For patients with orthodontic needs, floss threads to aid flossing with braces, flavored wax, and interproximal brushes would all be appropriate extras.

  • Children

Filling up the bags with items children might enjoy is probably the easiest task! Children love to receive little treasures, and the range of options is endless. Stickers, dental-themed coloring and activity books, balloons, “Tooth Fairy boxes” for lost teeth, and toothbrush covers shaped like animals are all likely to please your young patients. Also including sand timers to encourage proper brushing time, and flavored dental floss is usually a hit with children, and helps make practicing good oral hygiene more fun.

These tokens are also especially important to children, because they encourage the kids to associate the experience with fun. Goodie bags help build trust for the little ones, reminding them that trips to the dentist aren’t so bad after all.


At the end of the day (or the end of the appointment), you do not want patients walking away thinking you have become cheap or downgraded your dedication to quality. In these financially-tight times, the practices that are thriving are not those that have cut out all the things that make them special and unique; it is those that continue to go above and beyond to provide the best service and care possible that succeed and even grow during recessions.

People love to feel special, and the goodwill your efforts to package and personalize goodie bags garner will strengthen loyalty, and give you an edge over competition. Perhaps it will even promote referrals, allowing you to “bag” some new patients!