Old Dogs and New Tricks: When Dental Practice Production Goes Down

January 15, 2018 6:13 pm Published by Leave your thoughts


When a practice approaches a dental consultant, it’s usually because things have turned south. For many dentists, things used to be great, but over the last few years many feel as though they are losing ground. What happened?

Often times, dentists that find themselves in this position don’t have an objective view of their own practice. They might believe things about their practice that simply aren’t true, or be hanging on to assumptions and methods that might have been true years ago, but no longer are.

Here are some of the most common problems that might be leeching the productivity from your dental practice.

1. You’re outdated.

You don’t have to be a dinosaur to have missed a beat in the technology sector — things change very quickly. As tough as it might be to keep up, there are distinct advantages for those who stay up-to-date. New systems and software can significantly increase efficiency, reduce overhead for administrative costs, improve collections and billing, and facilitate better scheduling.

Patients will look for the latest techniques, so your practice should be competitive in your methods and equipment. Does your practice offer conscious sedation? Laser frenectomies? Digital radiography is a must-have at this point. Most technological updates will improve the efficiency of your practice, making them worth the investment.

2. You’re getting beat online.

Recently I met with a practice owner that couldn’t access the practice Facebook page. They also weren’t able to login to their own website. As I observed the doctor, he navigated to his own website by typing in ‘google.com’ into the address bar, using the Google search box to search for his own practice, and then clicking on his own paid ad to take him to his website. Yikes!

While ads on benches and billboards still have a place, more and more business is coming through the online marketplace. If you don’t have the know-how (or simply the time) to optimize your website and develop content, find an expert to do it for you. By not competing on Google and social media, you are simply giving away patients to your competition.

3. You assume patients are loyal.

When patients feel lukewarm about their dentist, it doesn’t take much for them to give someone else a shot. They may have read great reviews about another dentist nearby, had a change to their insurance, or had an unpleasant experience with you last time. That’s why you always need to be nurturing relationships with your patients.

You don’t see most patients often, so make it count when you do! It doesn’t end when they walk out the door; a patient might have thought the treatment itself was great, but was dissatisfied with follow-up care(or lack thereof) or confusion over billing.

Don’t let old habits bite into your bottom line.

The first step to fixing a problem is recognizing that you have one. With the right guidance and support, even an old dog can learn new tricks that will help him make his dental practice thrive.


~Linda O’Grady

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