How to ensure regular attendance of your dental patients

If you are struggling to get your non-plan patients to attend the practice regularly you may need to consider the following:

Why patients don’t attend

Fear

Often non-attendance is due to a fear – a fear of pain, a general fear of dentists or a fear of being judged. Patients who haven’t seen a dentist for a very long time, or who know that they have poor oral health may feel too embarrassed.

It is so important to convey to such patients that there is no judgement; that you are there to help them achieve good oral health and you will do your upmost to make them feel comfortable and at ease.

Busy


Life is busy and hectic for most people, so the ideal scenario is to book a patients’ next check up when they are in the practice as this takes away the stress of patients having another item on their to-do-list – booking their regular dental check-up.

Having a strong, robust recall process in place will help ensure regular attendance. Ensuring appointment reminders are via the patient’s chosen method of communication will also improve attendance rates.

Regular communication = Regular attendance


You must communicate consistently and regularly with your patients so that they do indeed feel as though they are your patients. Without regular contact a loyal relationship cannot be built.
Patient newsletters – paper based and or via email – are an excellent communication tool to help keep in touch with patients. Sent out regularly you can keep them informed of changes at the practice, promote specific treatments, promote the dental plan, educate them on particular dental health issues and encourage them to recommend their friends and family.

Don’t forget to encourage your patients to follow you on Facebook too (and of course, ensure that you regularly post content and engage with your patients).

Educate, educate, educate


Even for those patients who are plan members or/and attend regularly, it is key to educate all patients on the importance of good oral healthcare – prevention is better than cure. Consistently remind patients why they should attend for regular check-ups, not just for their oral hygiene but also the early detection of other serious health issues.

Promote the benefits of joining your dental plan
We have written some previous blog posts that focus on encouraging patients to join your plan. Click on the links below to find out more:

How to make your dental plan a key part of every patient journey

Some helpful advise on communicating the benefits of being on a plan

Overcoming objections to joining a plan

How best to promote your dental plan to patients

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