TOKENS BRING PRIZE STATION TO DENTIST — AND A SMILE TO ALL
Dr. Daren Gehring’s pediatric dentistry patients aren’t your average patients—they come in bright eyed and excited, and only cry when it’s time to leave. That’s because Dr. Gehring’s brand new office isn’t your average dentist’s office. Massage chairs, a fish tank, slides and iPads in the waiting room–Cache Valley Pediatric Dentistry’s state-of-the-art office aims to make their visit exciting and fun, a place where they can play as well as have their teeth fixed.
One aspect of making the dentist’s office appealing to younger patients is the prize they get upon leaving. And we’re not talking a toothbrush and a canister of floss here—patients get a custom gold token during their appointment that they can spend at one of eight prize machines as they leave. Prizes span from light-up rings to paratroopers, bracelets to little ninja figurines.
As mom or dad check out and schedule the next appointment, the young patients—now armed with clean teeth and a gold token—can take their time deciding on their toy. Parents are freed of child wrangling as they consult calendars and insurance policies, and kids forget all about the recent appointment as they weigh their prize options.
The prize station is not new to the patients—there was a small box of toys at each dental station in the previous office. Kids would sit and study the contents of the boxes for up to 5 minutes, occupying dental assistant’s time when they could have been setting up for the next patient.
As CVPD was researching other reward options, they came across a company that would set up toy machines with different toy options. For a fee, the company would even keep it stocked. According to Emily Gehring, CVPD’s Business Manager, the service was tempting but far from perfect.
“We weren't excited about relying on someone else to stock the machines, pay way too much for each toy and not have a way to provide toys to our youngest patients because the toys were only for 3 years and up,” she said.
Gehring took the idea behind the service, but made it work for Cache Valley Pediatric Dentistry’s needs. She purchased the eight toy machines, and an additional bouncy ball machine, and created a “Prize Station,” right next to the main entrance. Young patients’ fears go out the door as they walk in the doors and are greeted by the promise of a prize after their appointment.
Those machines only accept the custom coins given by dental assistants at the end of the appointment, so patients can’t come in and use their allowance to purchase anything. They know that if they’re good patients, they’ll get a coin to spend on their way out.
“Of course, they’re all good patients,” Gehring joked.
The custom tokens are about the size of a quarter, and minted in a bronze alloy made to look like gold. Converting the toy machines was a simple process that CVPD did themselves. The tokens are printed with the Cache Valley Pediatric Dentistry logo—a small family of teeth under a bright sun.
Gehring worked with members of the Osborne Coinage/TokensDirect design team to make sure the product art met her standards. The tokens were quickly minted and the “Prize Station” was up and running within the month.
“The kids get a great selection of toys and are in control of how long they need to take to make that very important decision. The custom tokens were a larger upfront expense, but since our machines are all in house, we won't ever have to reorder them.”
The gold “Prize Station” token is just one of many rewards and prizes young patients receive at CVPD, in addition to special contests and raffles hosted periodically.
The token system is entirely internal—the tokens are given and spent on premises, meaning that none are lost or not redeemed, and Gehring doesn’t have to keep buying tokens over and over. The only continuing purchase required in the system is to restock the machines, which allows them to change the prizes to suit the patients.
Cache Valley Pediatric Dentistry put a lot of love into their new office. With rooms designed for waiting families, iPads available for parents and teenage patients, and a number of other features, CVPD is making the office fun and exciting for families and patients alike. Cache Valley Family Magazine even awarded the office, naming it the best Pediatric Dentist in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
For Cache Valley Pediatric Dentistry, the goal is transforming a child that comes in afraid and becomes a happy and quality patient during the appointment. The “Prize Station” system, fed by custom minted tokens, is one small part in that process— but a part that makes dentists, parents, and young patients smile wide.