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Practical Strategies for How to Increase Patient Volume in a Dental Office

By Planet DDS
May 18, 2021

Have you ever walked into an empty room and wondered, “Where did everyone go?” If you’re a dentist struggling to increase your patient volume in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, you might feel that same sense of unease.

According to the ADA Health Policy Institute, dental practices are currently experiencing patient volumes that are only about 80% of what they were pre-pandemic[1]. With this in mind, it’s crucial to address the question of where your patients have gone and figure out how to bring them back.

By focusing on patient retention, implementing effective marketing strategies, and providing top-notch dental care, you can start boosting your patient numbers and ensuring the long-term success of your practice. Don’t let the impact of the pandemic hold you back – it’s time to take action and get back to business.

How to Increase Patient Volume in a Dental Office

1) Be five-star review worthy

Next to scanning page one search results most will check out reviews when seeking a service like dentistry. An outstanding review is where the patient experience shines.

When it comes to attracting new patients, your professional background and training are certainly important. But what really sets you apart is what your current patients have to say about you – in fact, a recent study found that a whopping 86% of patients choose a new dentist based on online reviews [2].

While negative reviews can certainly hurt your reputation, the overall impact of positive reviews can be even more powerful. To harness the power of patient reviews and boost your patient volume, try implementing these strategies:

  • Ask every patient to leave a review after their appointment
  • Respond to negative reviews with grace and specificity
  • Use feedback from reviews to improve your patient experience
  • Recognize and thank your five-star reviewers publicly

2) Rethink scheduling

As a dentist, scheduling blocks of time for appointments can feel restrictive at times. However, by focusing on maximizing the production value of each block, you can rethink your schedule and make the most of your available time.

To achieve this level of productivity, try implementing these strategies:

  • Study and monitor your time usage for each procedure, and look for ways to optimize your workflow and reduce time per appointment, provide online scheduling to help patients manage their appointments
  • Strategize ways to reduce the overall time required for each patient appointment, without compromising the quality of care
  • Be proactive about managing your schedule, and aim to maintain a consistent pace throughout the day to avoid wasting time
  • Dental scheduling software can help you maximize your team’s efforts

By focusing on these productivity-enhancing strategies, you can make the most of your available time and increase your practice’s overall production value.

3) Improve your patient experience

Improving your patient experience is a key way to acquire new patients for your dental practice. Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Start with your environment: The patient experience is strongly influenced by the environment in which it takes place. To create a relaxing, comfortable, and low-stress atmosphere, consider:
    • Eliminating anything that contributes to dental dread, such as uncomfortable chairs or harsh lighting
    • Choosing colors, furniture, and amenities that create a positive emotional appeal
    • Using scents and sounds to enhance the patient experience
  1. Add services that appeal to patients: Expanding your range of services can help you attract new patients and retain existing ones. Consider:
    • Adding specialty services, such as expanded orthodontics, cosmetic dentistry procedures, and general wellness services
    • Hiring or shuffling staff to deliver these services effectively
  1. Use teledentistry to enhance patient convenience: Teledentistry can be a valuable tool for improving patient engagement and providing additional services. Consider:
    • Offering virtual consultations for emergency cases or specialist referrals
    • Providing initial consultations remotely, freeing up in-house chairs for scheduled procedures

By focusing on these strategies, you can create a unique and memorable patient experience that sets your practice apart and attracts new patients.

4) Be intentional about engagement

One keyway to boost patient engagement is by attaching a “next” to each patient, whether it’s their next appointment, follow-up, or reminder. By making sure that every patient leaves your office with a clear understanding of what comes next, you can help them stay on track with their dental care and build trust in your practice.

  • Confirm next appointment opportunities during front-desk handoffs and chair side consults.
  • Have current and accurate patient information (e.g. mobile number, email, etc.).
  • Know each patient’s preferred mode of communication (e.g. phone, email, text message, social media, direct mail, etc).

Patient Volume Increases When You Have Good Patient Engagement

While dental marketing strategies are essential for attracting new patients, keeping those patients coming back requires more than just effective advertising. To truly retain patients and build long-lasting relationships, you need a well-equipped dental practice management platform.

By providing improved patient experience in your dental office that includes efficient scheduling, streamlined communication, and top-notch care, you can boost patient retention and loyalty. And as you retain more patients, you’ll likely see an increase in patient volume, thanks to word-of-mouth referrals and reactivated patients who return for additional treatments.

Investing in a patient-centric management platform is an investment in the future of your practice. By focusing on the patient experience and using technology to streamline your operations, you’ll be better positioned to thrive in today’s competitive dental landscape.

Consider a cloud-based solution and improve your practice efficiency

You might find the cloud solution like Denticon to be a more seamless and low maintenance platform for your practice. Some feature you can look forward to are:

  • Built-in patient-facing modules
  • Monthly subscription rate that’s predictable
  • Data hosted in the cloud that’s remotely and securely accessible
  • Savings compared with a legacy system can total an average of 40%

Thinking about new ideas for your dental practice management software? Updating your processes can be how to improve patient experience in your dental office immensely. Contact us or request a demo of the Denticon platform today!


[1]               According to the American Dental Association

[2]               According to Solutionreach