4 Easy Steps to Increased Treatment Acceptance

In the majority of today's dental practices, fabulous opportunities lie within the walls of those practices.  Most dental practices can double the amount of dentistry presently being provided by nurturing that which they already have: their existing patient family. 

The most crucial marketing strategy—the one at which practice growth and stability begin and end—is to nurture patients with education and case acceptance presentations they can understand, and that  explain their exact needs. You can start even before patients see you!

There are four easy steps to the case acceptance process.

  1. Build Relationships
  2. Establish Need and Instill Desire
  3. Ask for the Commitment
  4. Make Financial Arrangements and Schedule Treatment

In this edition of the Dentrix eNewsletter, we’ll cover some great ways to build and nurture patient relationships at the first possible moment. Watch for future editions to see how critical steps like “instilling desire” and “asking for the commitment” can happen naturally with personalized case presentations and simple followup!

Let’s get started.

Treatment Acceptance: The Goals

Developing an effective flow for your treatment presentations ensures success with the following treatment goals:

  1. The patient outlines the goals they want to accomplish.
  2. Patients are educated about the need for and the benefits of the dental treatments that you are recommending—and trust you to provide the best care.
  3. Patients become motivated to accept those particular recommendations and choose treatment with your office

The case acceptance protocol is not just one person's responsibility, and it doesn’t help your practice if your team thinks that it is the responsibility of the doctor only.  Everyone is critical.  Communicate to your team that each person on the team has a "moment of truth", and that each person on the team can make or break a patient's willingness to proceed with treatment. This attitude in your practice will make the first step of building relationships a breeze!

Step One: Build the Relationship.

Remember: it costs much less to nurture an existing client than it does to access a new one.  Develop an education mentality that accomplishes the following:  (1) nurtures your own patient family, and (2) enables your staff to reach patients in multiple ways outside the practice. This keeps them focused on their needed treatment and your offered services.
Most of the time, the initial contact is made on the telephone. The telephone may be the single most powerful marketing tool in your practice.  People calling your dental office make a subconscious decision about the dental treatment they will receive by the treatment they receive on the telephone. In fact, they often make a decision about whether they will come to you or go to someone else based on their first impression on the telephone. It is very important that the person answering the telephone be enthusiastic, warm and knowledgeable—and not rushed. They must concentrate when answering that telephone, and focus on the business at hand: the person on the other end of the line.


Building the relationship continues as the patient is received in the office. The person greeting the patient should stop what he/she is doing, stand up, and make a conscious effort to greet the patient by name.  An introduction is desirable.

For Example: "Mrs. Smith?  I'm Cathy.  I spoke with you on the telephone. Welcome to our practice!  We're glad you are here.  Thank you for returning your information to me.  We have all of the necessary information, so the doctor will be right with you. Make yourself comfortable for just a moment, and I will let the team know that you are here. By the way, I notice that John Jones referred you to our practice.  He's great.  We really appreciate him telling you about us."

Once the patient has been introduced and filled out any additional paperwork left after pre-registration, there may be a few minutes’ wait time before a chair or consult room is available. This is a great opportunity to start patient education: in the lobby while they wait! With a dental education DVD playing on a TV screen in your waiting area, you can set the tone of the patient visit and orient them to expect a level of professional expertise from your staff they might not see anywhere else. Beyond that, you communicate a positive focus on good oral health practices by drawing their attention to dental topics of your choice. Look for a premium lobby education tool that promotes good oral health and your dental services—and expect questions when the patient reaches your chair!  

Lobby education is the fastest and easiest way to open dialogue about treatment and groom patients to expect more of your office—and choose more treatment for their own health.

Click here to learn more about great ways to connect to patients in your lobby and start case acceptance at the first possible moment!

Watch for future issues of Dentrix eNews to see how critical steps like “instilling desire” and “asking for the commitment” can happen naturally with personalized case presentations and simple followup!

Article written by Cathy Jameson, Jameson Management and edited by Holly Holm, Henry Schein Practice Solutions.

Published: 04/06/2010
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