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5 Reasons Patients Don’t Schedule Treatment

By Planet DDS
October 22, 2020

Discover a sure way to help them move forward

By Dr. Greg Grillo

Do you know how much unscheduled treatment gathers dust in your patient charts? Most dental practices don’t realize they’re sitting on a gold mine of diagnosed needs. Patients routinely leave your office without scheduling further appointments, but dental disease progresses over time. Problems pushed aside now often become high-priority issues later.

In theory, it sounds simple: you recommend a service and your patient schedules. But every dentist knows that the process routinely breaks down.

As clinicians, we treat people, not just teeth. We manage emotions, not just periodontal disease. We juggle expectations, not just multiple extractions. What we record for an eMax crown on #4 is much more than ADA code 2740. It’s a service for Mrs. Wilson, whose husband is in chemotherapy, who just dropped her car off for new tires and brakes. And don’t forget that she had traumatic childhood dental visits.

That’s the type of reality that leaves thousands of dollars of treatment unfinished in every practice. While you’ll never complete all of it, converting even a small percentage to chair time equates to substantial profits. As dentists, we frequently need to review these 5 key obstacles patients face when scheduling treatment. High awareness helps us choose tools that guide patients towards the care they need.

1. Fear

Most people feel a little anxiety when facing any healthcare visit. About 60 % of people report dental anxiety, and a third avoid treatment due to their fear. Attracting those patients who altogether avoid care is a complex topic. But any uneasiness can foster inertia that keeps even current patients from scheduling.

2. Trust

Dentistry demands an exceptional level of trust, and we’re responsible for creating an environment that fosters this priceless asset. One study showed that patients with a low level of trust are 54% less likely to have a regular dentist than those with high trust. Every method you use to build trust, including between appointments, pays off.

3. Cost

Projections suggest that consumers will spend $203 billion on dentistry by 2027, an annual growth rate of 4.8%. As inflation heats up, the competition for a piece of the consumer’s budget does, too. But for many patients, perceived value matters more than price. If a patient assigns a higher priority to a dental implant than a new snowmobile, they’ll adjust their budget to match their values.

4. Convenience

It may not seem like a big deal for a patient to pick up the phone and make a call to finish their root canal. But if they sat on hold for a few minutes the last time they called, that memory may be enough of a barrier to keep them from trying again. If they could schedule appointments online, that can encourage them to take the next step.

5. Time

Everyone juggles life’s demands, and few of us feel like we have enough time. In the last 20 years, working time has increased by 15% , and leisure time has decreased by 33%. Telemedicine visits are estimated to save about 100 minutes of patient’s time, and virtual consults offer one more way to boost efficiency.

An Easier Way to Add Revenue

Just one of these factors can cause a patient to defer treatment. But the real reason they fail to move forward may be a murky blend of several deterrents. And once a patient leaves your office without scheduling, it may feel like you lose control of the process.

Until now.

After 20 years of serving the dental profession, the founders of Legwork know the unique challenges that practices face. They’ve developed solutions that solve perplexing problems along every step of the patient journey. From online scheduling to pre-visit comfort surveys , Legwork covers all the bases. Helping patients value and schedule the treatment they deserve is just one of our ongoing advancements.

Legwork Treatment Opportunities includes nurturing content on specific services, including implants, whitening, sleep apnea, and much more. The patient-friendly workflows deliver educational content designed to overcome obstacles. And with links to online appointments, patients can access any openings in your schedule. Discover convenience, service, and more revenue for your practice with the Legwork single-platform solution!