Patients are the lifeblood of your dental practice, but returning patients are the ones who bolster your success. The fact though is this: a patient’s first visit to a clinic is often the last as well. Dentists tell their patients to see them three or six months after, but showing up rarely happens. So, why don’t they return? These may be the reasons:
They had an unpleasant experience.
Perhaps it’s the procedure that took so long—and the waiting before the procedure that also took so long that bothered them. Or the fact that they were uncomfortable in the chair. Unsatisfaction can come from the different stages of the visit experience.
To prevent this, technology is your ally. Use dental practice management software to organize appointments better. Increase patient comfort by using intraoral scanning. Speed up dental treatments by sending 3D models to an orthodontics laboratory. Improve your services with technology.
They don’t understand its importance.
“Why would I go for dental cleaning every six months when I have proper hygiene already?” This is the common belief of many patients. Unless you make them understand the reason for coming back, they won’t return to your clinic and go through your recommendations. You must be able to hit two layers of understanding here, namely rational and emotional.
The rational would say, “It’s important for you to have dental cleaning to prevent cavities and gum infections.” The emotional would say, “It’s important for you to have dental cleaning so you can have the peace of mind that your mouth is healthy.” The bottom line is you have to let them know the importance of coming back for oral care maintenance.
They don’t feel empowered.
Apart from fixing broken teeth and checking infected gums, dentists also have the unwritten duty of increasing the confidence of their patients. Oral health is a very personal thing. Teeth problems are a source of insecurity, and having someone crawl through one’s mouth exposes anxieties. So, even though dental work is already exhausting, go the extra mile in reassuring your patients. Let them feel empowered with the way you talk and work your way through treatments.
Patients never return for a reason. But you could give them a good reason to stay and be a lifetime patient at your clinic.