How to Run a Successful Dental Practice – Part 3

How to Run a Successful Dental Practice, Part 3: Give Your Dental Patients a Reason to Return

Written By:  Tracy Civick

Prefer to watch the video?  Check out:  How to Give Your Patients a Reason to Return

Welcome to part three in our three-part series, “How to Run a Successful Dental Practice”.  In PART 1 we learned how to set healthy production goals.  In PART 2 we discussed how to hire your perfect team, and today’s topic is…

Front Office Coach Can Teach You How to Run a Successful Dental Practice and Give Dental Patients a Reason to Return

I feel as though we discuss how to create the ultimate new patient experience so much that we loose sight of the importance of our existing patients.  If we don’t show our existing patients value and appreciation, they may not return.  How do you make sure you give them a reason to return?  Let’s find out…

There are three components to a successful patient appointment:  warm welcome, connected education, and a fond farewell.  If you ensure that these points hit the mark each time, you will build a loyal, long-term patient base that stays, pays, and refers.

Showing dental patients a warm welcome sets the tone for the appointment.  When the patient walks in the door, the front desk team should smile, stand, make eye contact, and say, “Welcome back Mrs. Jones, it’s great to see you.  How have you been?” Listen to their answer and respond appropriately.  If they mention they just returned from vacation, ask to see pictures.  If they mention any major life moments, let the team know as well.  Greeting them by name, taking an interest in their life, and being genuine goes a long way to show a person they are appreciated.

Next, we must connect with the dental patients while educating them on their dental needs.  Often times a dentist will want to explain every aspect of a patient’s treatment and about half way through the patient’s eyes glaze over.  Get to know your patient’s personalities and meet them where they are in terms of education.  Existing dental patients already trust the doctor.  This trust factor is why they returned to your office.  So, if treatment is diagnosed, you don’t need to prove your ability by explaining every detail.  Mirror your patient’s personality.  If they want the bullets points, respect them by giving them short quick explanations.  If a patient loves to chat and asks a lot of questions, give them more detailed explanations.  Get to know your dental patients and treat them accordingly.  This is connected education.

Last, always leave your dental patients with a fond farewell.  This is where we need to reinforce the patient’s reason to return.  While we never allow a patient to leave without their next visit scheduled, we also don’t want them to leave without a reason to keep that future appointment.  This can be accomplished through a proper hand-off at check out. Be aware of your verbiage when passing off a patient.  For example:  a hygienist might say, “Mrs. Jones has excellent at home oral dental care and doesn’t have any treatment needed. Please just get her scheduled for her 6-month cleaning.”  What message does this give to the patient?  This tells them that they are healthy and their 6-month visit isn’t too important because it’s “just” a cleaning.  Try taking out the word “just” when discussing dental visits.  Instead the hand-off should go something like this: “Mrs. Jones is healthy and got a terrific report from the doctor today.  We want to make sure to maintain her oral health so please make sure she is scheduled for her next visit in 6 months.”  This verbiage sets the tone for the importance of the next visit and they will think twice before cancelling.

Talk about these three dental appointment components at your next morning huddle.  Ensure that your team is on the same page and always provides value to patients to help you have a successful dental practice and give your patient’s a reason to return.

To learn more about how to learn how to give patients a reason to return or would like additional hiring tools, contact us today at or 214-755-0955.  For more information about our custom training solutions, visit

About the Author…

Successful Dental PracticeTracy Civick is a nationally recognized speaker, coach, and author who focuses on motivating dental front office teams to grow practice revenue and get a better handle on the daily dental practice front office tasks.  Her memberships include The Academy of Dental Management Consultants and AADOM, Academy of Dental Office Managers.

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