By Meg Kaiser

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last couple of weeks, you’ve no doubt heard about the new game craze Pokemon Go. You’ve probably seen people walking and staring intently at their phones, on the lookout for the Pokemon in the area, exchanging high fives and comparing characters when they “capture” one.

Rumor has it that many dentists are taking part in the fun. Because this game has been lauded as a walk down memory lane for those who grew up in the ‘90s, many dentists who are in their 30s are playing the game and having a blast, including Dental Economics editor Chris Salierno, DDS.

“I downloaded the game because I wanted to experiment with this brilliant mix of augmented reality and geocaching,” Dr. Salierno said. “I have to admit that I’m hooked. National and local landmarks, artworks, and libraries are among the sites that attract players. What a wonderful way to get people to visit and learn about their environment!”

By now you’re probably asking, how does this latest game craze affect my dental practice? Well, just as with other small businesses, it’s been suggested that Pokemon Go can actually draw people to your office.

“If your practice is near one of the Pokemon sites, embrace it,” said Dr. Salierno. “If you treat children, you can have a lot of fun engaging that audience in-office and via social media.”

Chances are pretty good at least one of your staff members is familiar with the game and can channel their enthusiasm into getting your practice’s name into the Pokemon mix. How? Well, that’s been explained by some experts at Story Block Media, whose blog, “Ways Your Business Can Generate Revenue and Leads Using Pokemon Go,” can be found here.

Samantha Barnes leads off the blog with, “The nostalgia for the ’90s is no secret weapon. Enter Pokemon Go—the inevitable revival of the popular game was not only well-anticipated but became an overnight success. To nerds like me, this really was no surprise. And from a nerd with marketing chops like me, I have some suggestions on how you can use Pokemon Go to generate revenue and leads for your business.”

Ben Ard of also has some ideas about how dental practices can take advantage of the Pokemon craze, including hosting a Pokemon party and offering a charging station for players who happen to be near your office. Read his thoughts here.

Social media is the ideal place to draw in Pokemon fans and place your dental practice on the cutting edge of fun. Embrace the levity, especially if your practice caters to children. And it wouldn’t hurt for you to download and play the game yourself. Then your patients will know you really are the cool dentist.

Are you Valor, Mystic, or Instinct? If this makes no sense to you yet, now is your chance to catch up on the craze. But before you get too carried away, Ms. Barnes also includes in her blog some helpful tips on what not to do with Pokemon Go if you choose to have your practice take part. For instance, “lures” to a dental practice might not be the best idea because they would be rather disruptive for business. But if you’re lucky enough to be located close to a business that is using lures to attract players, maybe you can figure out a way to call attention to your practice while players are so close.

If you just jumped on the Pokemon Go bandwagon, have fun with it. Watch your practice’s name grow as patients find their Pokemon near and maybe even in your practice. And, we’ll see you at the gym!