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Are you asking the right questions to grow your dental practice?

Sept. 10, 2023
Dentists often believe they need more patients, so they ask how to get them. But the more appropriate questions should be about how to get the patients they already have to accept treatment.

There's an issue in the dental profession that is seldom discussed—we’re not asking the right questions. There are a lot of things that we do well in dentistry—we’re caring, compassionate, and dedicated. However, sometimes we’re not able to think outside the box.

Dentists want to know,“How can I get more new patients?” I want to know, “Why do you want more new patients, and what is happening with the patients you do have?

The real question dentists should be asking is, “What can I do with my existing patients to increase my productivity and meet the goals I’ve set with my team?”

There’s a good chance that you have all of the opportunities you need right in your own practice. Here are three questions to help you meet your needs with your existing patients.

1. Are you aware of the big picture?

An abundance of patients  is great—as long as you know what's going on with the big picture

  • Do you monitor your active patient count monthly?
  • Do you monitor your hygiene retention monthly?
  • Do you know how many patients are due this month but are not being seen?

If you’re not monitoring these key performance indicators, you may not realize how many patients are coming to your office once and then not returning.

You might also want to read: 7 important KPIs for your dental practice

2. What are you doing to keep your current patients happy?

Patients expect more with every visit.

  • Are you keeping up with technology and techniques?
  • Do you have affordable financing options or an in-office membership plan to help your patients say yes to treatment?
  • Are you engaging your patients with your website and social media presence?

Look around your practice. Can you do more to keep your patients happy?

3. Are you explaining the risks and benefits of treatment in a way that encourages patients to move forward?

You already have an advantage with your existing patients because with them, you have the opportunity to build a relationship. Patients are more likely to follow through with your recommended treatment if they trust you. Many times, the failure comes from not creating the urgency or providing the risks and benefits of treatment in a way patients can relate to.

How are you explaining the risks and benefits of the treatment and creating urgency to have it completed? I would encourage you to talk at your morning huddle about what is already diagnosed. What can you do or say differently to encourage your patients to move forward with treatment? That will make it good for you and good for them.

Editor's note: Originally posted in 2017 and updated regularly

About the Author

Danya Montoya

Danya Montoya has many years of dental experience and expertise in client relations. She is also a contributing author and speaker.