By Sally McKenzie, contributing writer

December 8, 2017 -- If your practice's production numbers are down, it can be more than a little frustrating. Lackluster production hurts your bottom line and also usually leads to low team morale and a lot of extra stress.

Dentists in my experience may have no idea why their production numbers are so low or what they need to do to turn them around. Luckily, you don't have to figure it out on your own. Production numbers can become stagnant for many reasons. Here are five of those reasons, and how to boost your practice production numbers and your bottom line.

1. You never set daily production goals

Sally McKenzie
Sally McKenzie, CEO of McKenzie Management.

It's easy to get off track when you don't have any goals to guide you. If you haven't already, now is a great time to sit down and create a vision for your practice. Then, develop daily production goals to support that vision.

To do that, really think about the type of lifestyle you'd like to lead and the number of hours you're willing to work to get there. It's also important to consider the various expenses that come with owning and maintaining a successful dental practice. Determine how much money you need to make to achieve both your personal and professional goals, and then set your production goals from there.

2. You're not scheduled to meet production goals

This comes down to training your scheduling coordinator. Make sure he or she knows to schedule you (and all producers) to meet daily production goals, not just to keep you busy. Once your days are scheduled properly, you'll notice an increase in practice production and revenues.

3. Patients aren't coming back

“If you create an exceptional patient experience, both patient retention and production numbers will start to rise.”

If you want a productive dental practice, you need loyal patients who accept the treatment you recommend and who refer you to family and friends. Ideally, patient retention should be at about 95%, but most practices I work with are nowhere near that number.

If patient retention is low in your practice, focus on building better relationships and providing top-notch customer service. Take the time to educate your patients and ask them about their work and families. Talk with them about the services you provide and how you can help them meet their oral healthcare goals. If you create an exceptional patient experience, both patient retention and production numbers will start to rise.

4. Patients say no to treatment

This could be because your case presentations aren't as effective as they should be. Many dentists spend five to 10 minutes explaining treatment to patients chairside and think that's enough. Patients don't want to take up a lot of your time, so they don't ask questions or get the education they need.

That's why I suggest hiring a treatment coordinator. This team member can sit down with patients in a quiet, comfortable room to talk about all aspects of treatment. Patients can spend as much time as necessary asking questions and bringing up concerns. The coordinator should also follow up with every patient two days after the initial presentation to answer any lingering questions and ultimately get them on the schedule.

5. You have a lot of unscheduled treatment

Most practices only turn to the unscheduled treatment report when there's a last-minute cancellation, but that simply isn't enough. Your patient coordinator could track unscheduled treatment and contact at least five unscheduled patients a day. These calls can be used to educate patients about the possible consequences of not going forward with treatment and address any perceived barriers to care. Getting these patients on the schedule will do wonders for practice production and revenues.

Production numbers can become stagnant in a dental practice for many reasons, but if you make the necessary changes, you can finally start meeting daily goals and growing your bottom line. Start with these tips, but feel free to contact me if you need more guidance.

Sally McKenzie is the CEO of McKenzie Management, a full-service, nationwide dental practice management company. Contact her directly at 877-777-6151 or at

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

Copyright © 2017

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