3 less obvious ways to increase practice production

Dr. Roger P. Levin.
Dr. Roger P. Levin.

The single most crucial factor in dental practice success is production. Some of the methodologies for helping to increase practice production are obvious. However, other production factors can contribute that are not as obvious and must be considered when creating an annual production goal to ensure production growth.

Three ways to increase production

1. Follow up on unaccepted treatment recommendations.

Most practices take great time and effort to present cases; however, when it comes to following up on unaccepted treatment they fall short. Patients often have questions and are uncomfortable voicing them at the time of the case presentation, or they have not fully formulated them in the presentation appointment. Then they go home, their motivation gradually declines, and as they go on with life, other things take precedence. 

Dr. Roger P. Levin.Dr. Roger P. Levin.

Years ago, Levin Group coined the term "high-value point." This term means that the highest value a patient will ever have to accept treatment is while they are in your office. Once they go home, they may well think about it, do some research on the internet, or talk to friends and family. But the longer it takes for them to make a decision, the more likely the decision will be not to do anything at all. 

Following up with a phone call a week later will always result in some percentage of patients making the decision to accept treatment and schedule. If the practice takes the time to follow up with patients, it comes across as a highly personalized level of customer service and will result in increased practice production.

An additional follow-up strategy is to have the dental hygienist review all unaccepted treatment with every patient visit and bring it up at each recall appointment. You will be surprised to find that many patients gradually accept treatment six months, one year, two years, or longer after the original treatment presentation. However, if it is never brought up, it is very unlikely that patients make the decision on their own to think back to a case presentation one or two years ago and decide to have treatment.

2. Measure elective production on dental patients.

The vast majority of dental practices participate with one or more dental insurance plans. We all know the trials and tribulations of not having fees raised and the frustration of higher overhead without increased reimbursements, which leads to decreased profit on those patients and cases.

However, identifying elective procedures that can be recommended to patients who have dental insurance, as well as fee-for-service patients, is a workaround with dental insurance, because most of these procedures are not covered by dental insurance and the fees are also not set. The practice can charge the full fee and the patient is responsible for payment.

Elective procedures are often desirable to patients because they see it as a way that they can become healthier, look better, etc. But in many cases, practices don't have a process to educate dental insurance patients about potential elective treatment. 

There is even an attitude in some practices that patients with dental insurance will not pay out of pocket for elective care. This is patently untrue. One way to increase practice production is to begin consistently offering elective procedures to patients who might benefit and ignore the fact that they have dental insurance.

3. Add one extra patient per day.

This may sound obvious and like economic common sense. The reason it is not obvious is that most practices become victims of their own schedule, and many schedules are out of date and need to be overhauled. In fact, many practices do not think about adding extra patients unless they are random emergencies. 

One extra patient a day, four days a week can have an impact on production. Having two extra patients in a new schedule is even better. Initially, you may be wondering where you are going to get the time to put these patients into the schedule. 

The reality is that most practices are 30% to 50% below the real production potential. We have spoken to many practice leaders who believe they are at maximum production only to find out they were able to build a new schedule and grow significantly. Adding one new patient day will increase production, profitability, and income.


There are many ways to increase practice production. In fact, in a research project that I have been working on, I have identified over 200 ways to increase practice production. Some of these are obvious and have dramatic effects on production. Others are not as obvious and may never be thought about yet still increase practice production. In today's competitive dental world with higher overhead, staffing challenges, and inflation, increasing production is essential. The good news is that there are many ways to do it even though some are not obvious. 

Dr. Roger P. Levin is CEO of Levin Group, a leading practice management and marketing consulting firm. To contact him or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit LevinGroup.com or email [email protected].

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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