Chicago Pediatric Dentist’s Playful Display Creates Buzz, Bigger Smiles

With a colorful, playful sign out front touting its “little teeth big smiles” motto, Children’s Dentistry of Forest Park has been an eye-catching attraction along Harlem Avenue for years.

But the practice’s founder, Dr. Jerry Udelson, isn’t one to rest on any laurels.

As a result, the popular pediatric practice (and Inside Edge PR client since January) has added a 6-foot, 200-pound display of giant chattering teeth that figure to inspire even bigger smiles.

A few weekends ago, the fiberglass structure was installed above the office’s entrance and wrapped around three sides of a decorative brick wall. Each tooth is 13 inches tall and overall the 32 teeth are seven feet across.

Attached to the giant teeth is a pair of green high-top sneakers, laced to the top and roughly 2 feet in length.

Looming more than 20 feet off the ground, it now greets not only patients but passers-by along the busy stretch of Harlem just north of Roosevelt Avenue on Forest Park’s eastern border.

Udelson came up with the idea through conversations he had with a friend, artist Lance Friedman, owner of Shattered Glass Group in Chicago. The teeth were manufactured by Mark Cline of Enchanted Castle Studios in Natural Bridge, Va.

“Fun is at the heart of our approach to pediatric dentistry,” said Udelson, who founded the practice in 2004. “In addition to providing top service, we pull out all the stops to make a trip to the dentist an enjoyable experience.”

The Forest Park Review bit into some coverage of the new feature.

Last year, Children’s Dentistry of Forest Park gained acclaim from national website Red Tricycle as a “Most Awesome” selection in the “Happiest Dentist Offices” category. To gain the honor, the practice outdistanced nine other finalists throughout the Chicago area.

The tongue-in-cheek humor serves a greater purpose, establishing an environment for young patients to become diligent and proactive in their dental care as they enter their adult years.

“The more we can reinforce that dental care isn’t some kind of ordeal, the better it will be not only for us, but all dental practitioners in the area,” said Udelson.

To learn more about Children’s Dentistry of Forest Park, call 708-FUN-KIDS (386-5437) or visit www.little-teeth-big-smiles.com.

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In `Thank You Economy,’ 2% Extra Effort Can Reap Major Public Relations, Marketing Mileage

Exactly a week ago, my kids got an unexpected treat at Pump It Up in Elmhurst.

As it happened, last Monday was their 8th birthday, and the trip was a last-minute addition in an already-crowded day of activity for my wife. As she filled out the admission form for the duo, she mentioned that she was not suffering from a brain cramp by writing out Aug. 8 as both the date and the children’s birthday.

A few hours later, after jumping and scrambling and having an energy-expending great time, the kids were showered with Goodie Bags containing an assortment of cool gifts. Whatever dollars the business invested in recognizing them in this simple, impromptu way, it will receive back many times over in return visits and word-of-mouth stories about the thoughtful gesture.

That’s the business side of it. The plain-old human side of things: it’s just a really cool thing to do.

When I heard about the positive experience, my first thought was The Thank You Economy, a no-nonsense, common-sense urging from Gary Vaynerchuk in which he lays out a solid argument, and case studies, that underscore the merit of this kind of business behavior.

I’ve found that often you don’t have to go an extra mile to get most folks’ attention (and capture their appreciation). All the ground you need to cover is, oh, maybe 100 feet. For those scoring at home, that’s not even 2 percent of a mile–though more than enough to get a lot of marketing mileage from the effort.