Growing a Dental Practice Effectively
Grow your practice by executing with excellence across the fields of clinical dentistry, marketing and advertising, patient experience, staff management, and business operations.
Let’s dive into detail on what you need to know.
What Makes a Good Dental Practice?
The best dental offices fire on all cylinders. By balancing warm service, professional care, smooth operations, and strategic business practices, they create long-term partnerships focused on oral health, not just quick fixes. This differentiated approach sets them apart.
So what defines a truly great dental practice beyond technical skills? It comes down to mastering the patient experience, high-quality care, teamwork, systems, business operations, facilities, and reputation.
Unmatched Patient Experience
The best practices start with patient-centric care. Warm service makes patients feel welcomed and cared for as people. Appointment booking should be easy and convenient, offices should provide a tranquil, comfortable setting, and modern technologies and amenities create positive experiences.
Excellent Quality of Care
Superior quality of care comes from dentists dedicating themselves to continuing education, advancing their skills, and providing minimally invasive treatment focused on long-term oral health. Their expertise and compassion build trust and loyalty.
Staff Expertise and Teamwork
Cohesive, talented teams provide seamless experiences patients appreciate. Ongoing training keeps staff skills sharp. Smooth coordination behind the scenes optimizes workflows and office operations.
Effective Business Operations
Meticulous management of budgets, metrics, technologies and marketing separates excellent practices. Precision operations enable profitability and growth while allowing dentists to concentrate fully on patient care.
The office environment completes the patient experience. Inviting designs, natural light, and relaxation features promote comfort. Cutting-edge equipment enables minimally invasive, precise dentistry, and robust protocols ensure spotless organization and sterilization.
Reputations are built over years through delivering consistent quality across all areas. Positive word-of-mouth, online reviews, and local recognition reinforce the practice’s image as a leading provider of elite yet accessible care.
Successful Dental Practice Strategies for Growth
Sustain growth with strategic planning and execution across all aspects of your dental practice.
While growth levels will fluctuate, you can implement a combination of key initiatives that can help drive incremental ideas to grow your patient base, revenues, and profitability over time. Here’s how to grow your dental practice successfully:
Focus on Patient Experience
The main goal of your dental practice growth strategy should be to increase patient volume. After all, your practice wouldn’t exist without its patients.
An exceptional patient experience is crucial to attract new patients, retain existing ones, and bring back those who have left. Dental practices must focus on understanding dental patients’ needs and preferences in order to deliver personalized service that drives loyalty and growth.
How to Attract New Patients to Your Dental Office
Attracting new patients is essential for driving growth and requires a multi-pronged strategy across marketing, outreach, and patient experience. Here’s how to do it effectively:
- Run targeted online and social media ads to reach prospective patients
- Offer new patient discounts and incentives to drive appointments
- Host free dental screenings and community events to introduce your practice
- Form referral relationships with local businesses and health providers
- List your practice on insurance provider directories
- Optimize your website and Maps listing to rank for relevant searches
- Encourage happy patients to leave online reviews
Deliver an amazing first impression and visit experience to convert prospective patients into loyal, long-term patients.
How to Increase Loyalty of Existing Patients
You should aim to understand your existing patients and provide experiences that make them feel valued to build patient retention. To increase the loyalty of existing patients, you should:
- Send thank you notes, birthday cards and emails to make patients feel valued
- Follow up after appointments to check on recovery and satisfaction
- Use patient engagement software to streamline communication and collect feedback
- Develop an incentive program to reward referrals and loyalty
- Offer patient appreciation events like free cleanings or gift card giveaways
- Survey patients regularly to identify areas for improvement
Keep current patients happy and communicate consistently to drive referrals, compliance, and practice growth.
How to Reactivate Patients
Re-engage patients through proactive patient communication to bring back those who have become inactive. Here are some tips for growing your practice by marketing to inactive patients:
- Run reports to identify patients due for appointments or with gaps in care
- Segment outreach campaigns for inactive patients with tailored offers
- Train staff on conducting warm hand-off calls to re-engage patients
- Send reminders about unfinished treatment plans and follow-ups
- Develop reload offers encouraging patients to rebook exams
- Diagnose why patients leave through surveys and call outreach
Proactively engage lost patients. This will help you recover lost revenue and meet growth goals.
Increase Your Marketing Efforts
An effective dental marketing strategy is essential for growing your practice and bringing in new patients. Dedicate time and advertising spend to marketing your dental practice across multiple channels.
How to Promote a Dental Clinic
Dental practice marketing should use both traditional and digital tactics to maximize reach. Here are some proven ways to promote your dental clinic:
- Run print, TV, radio and billboard ads
- Distribute practice brochures and flyers throughout the community
- Sponsor local events, sports teams and nonprofits
- Execute direct mail campaigns with special offers
- Leverage social media and PPC ads to reach local audiences
- Track marketing metrics to identify the best growth solutions
A targeted, multi-channel approach is key for successful clinic promotion. Track results and optimize your efforts based on data to refine your strategy over time.
How to Improve Your Digital Presence
Your online presence is often the first impression for prospective patients searching for a new dentist. Follow these tips to improve your online presence:
- Build a mobile-friendly website optimized for keywords and user experience
- Produce fresh, comprehensive content focusing on your services
- Be active on social media and respond promptly to messages/reviews
- Claim online directory and review site listings
- Encourage patient reviews through email requests and follow-ups
- Monitor your online reputation and brand mentions regularly
- Learn and use proven dental SEO tactics and SEO backlinks to improve visibility
A strong digital presence establishes credibility and helps drive website traffic and conversions. Investing in your online platforms should be an ongoing priority as digital marketing continues to evolve.
Promotions and incentives can attract new patients and encourage loyalty. Here are some ideas:
- Offer new patient exam discounts
- Give gift cards for referrals
- Send incentive programs for booking appointments
- Hold monthly raffles for free treatments
- Provide referral rewards to existing patients
Creative promotions not only help acquire new patients but can also boost practice growth by improving patient engagement. Test new offers and analyze results consistently to determine the most effective promotions for your practice.
Track Key Performance Indicators
Monitor patient data and key performance indicators (KPIs) for valuable insights into metrics that can help you improve your dental practice growth strategy. KPIs to track include:
- New patient numbers
- Recall effectiveness
- Patient satisfaction scores
- Treatment acceptance rates
- Revenue and profit goals
- How patients engage with communications
- Communication preferences of patients
Analyze KPIs to identify what marketing and operational tactics work to sustain growth. Setting specific goals for each metric will allow you to measure performance over time.
Optimize Office Systems and Processes
Optimize workflows and office systems to maximize the practices’ efficiency and growth. Best practices include:
- Review booking processes and identify bottlenecks
- Implement automated appointment reminders
- Train team members on updated protocols
- Evaluate technology needs with an eye for efficiency
- Standardize patient intake and billing processes
- Schedule regular team meetings to improve coordination
Tight operations and workflows allow the practice to see more patients and deliver better care. Review systems on a consistent basis and look for areas of improvement to ensure you adapt to the evolving industry.
Implement Referral Marketing
Referral relationships are vital for growing your dental practice patient base. To build marketing referrals, you should:
- Identify complementary providers to co-promote services
- Present about your services at local business events
- Send new patient offers to local partner offices
- Host referral appreciation lunches or dinners
- Track referral data to identify best sources
Strategic referral marketing alliances can significantly increase new patient flow. Nurturing referral relationships requires ongoing communication and reciprocation.
Host community events and be involved in your community to grow your dental practice. Potential events you could host include:
- Free dental screenings days
- Family fun days with activities and prizes
- Oral health presentations at local companies
- Sponsoring local sports teams and nonprofit events
- Partnering with schools for kids dental education
- Holiday events like patient appreciation nights
Thoughtful community events build brand awareness and goodwill. They also provide opportunities to meet prospective patients and referral sources, further growing your private practice.
Provide Continued Education and Training for Your Staff
Invest in ongoing training to improve staff capabilities and practice management. Comprehensive training and development programs lead to highly skilled teams that support excellent services, which leads to a healthy reputation among existing and potential clients. Ideas include:
- Hold regular in-office trainings on systems and skills
- Send team members to external workshops and conferences
- Have lunch & learns with guest speakers
- Sponsor continuing education courses
- Conduct drills on patient scenarios and objections
Knowledgeable, confident staff translate to higher efficiency, productivity, and patient satisfaction. Training should incorporate both clinical and operational skill development.
Improve the Appearance of Your Dental Practice
The appearance and aesthetics of your dental practice have a significant impact on the patient experience. An inviting, professional office space conveys your brand’s values and makes guests comfortable.
How to Make a Dental Practice Attractive
The patient experience starts from the moment one walks through your doors. Ensure that your practice aesthetics align with your brand identity and values. Here’s how to build your dream dental practice:
- Conduct regular walkthroughs to identify areas for improvement
- Refresh interior design features like artwork, decor, signage
- Maintain tidy reception and waiting areas
- Display credentials, awards and patient reviews
- Ensure functional, comfortable treatment rooms
- Optimize patient flows from the front office to exam rooms
- Make a great first impression with the dental office exterior and interior
With strategic upgrades and improvements, you can create an office aligned with your vision that also appeals to patients. This should be an ongoing process as designs and technologies evolve over time.
What Makes a Dental Practice Unique?
Stand out from the competition by defining and promoting your unique value proposition. Some examples include:
- Have an easily recognizable brand identity and logo
- Offer personalized patient experiences
- Focus on specific demographics like kids or seniors
- Include convenient hours like evenings and weekends
- Expand specialty services like orthodontics, periodontics, etc.
- Add high-tech oral health equipment
- Include amenities like coffee, music, TVs, WiFi
Identify signature elements that differentiate your practice and give prospective patients compelling reasons to choose your office. Reinforce your differentiation with effective marketing practices to attract your target patient base.
Are You Looking to Purchase and Grow a Practice?
Acquiring an existing practice is the fast-track to growth, but the process is complex. From valuations to negotiations to financing, there are many moving pieces to coordinate. Our experienced dental practice purchase consultants guide you through every step.
Looking to purchase and grow your own practice? Contact us today and book an appointment. With our team quarterbacking the entire journey, you can invest in an established practice with confidence. Our tailored guidance enables smooth acquisitions, so you can focus on patients and growth from day one.
Listen to this podcast episode to understand the 5 things you need to purchase a dental practice.
FAQ on Dental Practice Growth
Is the dental industry growing?
Yes, the dental industry is experiencing steady growth driven by greater consumer focus on oral health, an aging population retaining natural teeth longer, and expanded insurance coverage. This increased demand benefits both large corporate dental chains and independent private practices. Successful healthcare marketing strategies can help fuel the growth of your dental practice even more.
What is the average growth rate of a dental practice?
Most successful dental medical practices target a growth rate between 3-5% annually to expand patient volume and revenue sustainably over time. Achieving higher growth typically requires adding locations, services, staff and marketing aggressively.
Will dentistry be in demand in 2030?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dentistry will continue growing at above average rates versus other healthcare practices through 2030. Demographic trends of population growth, aging, and insurance coverage expansion will drive rising demand for dental practitioners.
Is opening a dental practice profitable?
Dental practice owners can achieve steady profitability by executing effective business strategies. Controlling costs, optimizing billing and collections, focusing on higher reimbursing procedures, and scaling gradually are key to generating strong profits over time.
What is the highest field in dentistry?
Oral surgery is often considered the most lucrative field within dentistry, given procedures like wisdom tooth extraction that have high reimbursement rates. Orthodontics and prosthodontics also rank among the highest paid dental specialties.
Where are you Stuck?
Whether you’re trying to find a practice or have already closed on one, we provide expert guidance for every aspect of the deal. Click any of the links below to learn more.