Dentists and orthodontists are two sides of the same coin, helping their patients get the pretty, healthy and long-lasting teeth they desire. If you're a dentist, it would be a shame not to leverage these obvious partners in your field to build your business, increase your consumer awareness and simply enjoy the perks of professional relationships.

Here are five of the best ways to give back to the orthodontists in your area and leverage them for your own business at the same time.

1. Refer business to local orthodontists

Much like dentistry, orthodontists are local service providers. You can't get your braces tightened online, after all. That means your local clientele are a perfect match for theirs, so go ahead and start sending people their way.

If they notice enough referral traffic coming through their door, chances are good they'll at least check you out. Once they discover you to be a reputable business in whom they have faith, they'll likely be grateful enough to start sending patients your way as well.

2. Take treats into the office

No matter how great the job, no one likes being stuck at work. And what better way to make work less painful than a basket of treats delivered by your friendly dentist?

Of course, this is the industry dedicated to caring for teeth, so skip the high-sugar Costco muffins and instead opt for something healthier, like a fruit basket or granola bars.

Make sure every platter or assortment comes with a card stating who it's from and why you're sending the goodies. A simple "We'd like to get to know you better" will suffice, but don't skip that personalized message.

3. Offer a free cleaning for orthodontist patients

People with Invisalign need their teeth cleaned, too!

Offer your local orthodontist a deal in which their patients get a free cleaning from you if they receive a certain number of orthodontic services each year, say. That way, the orthodontist has real motivation to promote your offer, and you'll see more patients.

4. Partner with an orthodontist for a reduced services day

This is a brilliant strategy, because it works for both parties and is awesome for patients.

Here's how to do it: Speak with your orthodontist partner ahead of time and choose days on which you'll offer your free services. Don't select the same day; this limits the amount of time patients have to choose from when setting up appointments. Plus, no one wants back-to-back tooth action.

Instead, choose two separate days and advertise mutually using the same branded collateral. Choose a theme that works for both your brands, highlight both practices, and keep a stack in both offices to give out in the months leading up to the event. Put the details on your website as well.

5. Put each other's information on appointment cards

The appointment card is a time-honored tradition in all care providers' offices. Ask an orthodontist to append your info to their "Your next visit" card, and do the same for them. That way, each time your patients look at those handy-dandy reminders, they'll also see the name of the other.

Of course, not all relationships work out, and that's OK. If a certain orthodontist doesn't want to partner up or never seems to return the favor, don't keep attempting to make the relationship work. Simply switch your sights to someone a bit more helpful and go from there.

Soon enough, you'll see those results — and those customers start rolling in.