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November 4, 2019

Use them or lose them!
With the impending “busy season” upon us in dentistry– or at least historically that’s what it was in the past, last minute cancellations, no shows and excuses to delay treatment all impact our bottom line. This is a critical time in your practice year to make up for lost ground and set yourself up for future success.

With a little strategic planning, these busy months present the perfect opportunity to ensure your schedule is full and patients are actually in your chairs. The phrase use them or lose them never seemed to be more appropriate and in my mind that means implementing a strategy to get the word out and the patients in.

Your practice is cyclical… analyze and understand the trends in dentistry and most importantly in your office. We frequently have so much information at our fingertips, but yet we never really take the time to analyze the data. Identifying the trends can help you to get ahead of them and use them to your advantage. Understanding these trends can help you plan strategic communication campaigns. Use the trends to set the best dates for correspondence in an effort to maximize when people want to come. Again, October and November are the perfect time to communicate to patients that if they don’t use their benefits, they will lose their benefits.

November and April are usually big traffic months. How can you use this data to your benefit? During high patient flow months, perhaps you could expand your hygiene capacity. Maybe your hygienist can put in an extra day or two, or maybe you could use an extra hygienist or assistant this time of year to handle the volume and facilitate more hygiene. November is here so if you can’t implement a plan now to capitalize on this trend….set yourself up to take advantage in April.

In my opinion, a practice grows or shrinks through its hygiene capacity. If you want to grow, add hygiene. The most ideal time would be in July maybe a day or two a week because typically the best month each year for adding new patients in most practices is August. Adding more hygiene in July/August boosts the practice up a notch then so in January if there is less patient traffic hygiene will carry the office and you will keep things busy by providing perio and other services.

It may seem hard to believe, but approximately 5% of people reach their max for the year. That leaves 95% of the potential patients with unused benefits. You don’t expect insurance carriers to alert their patients to this fact do you? Carriers are making millions off of unused benefits every year. Let’s face it, most patients haven’t a clue as to how their benefits work or if they even have benefits left for the year; so it’s up to you and your staff to get the word out. Use them or lose them!

The season is here. Assign staff to identify patients with unused benefits, especially those with preventative services or restorative treatment. Hire a part-time worker just to handle this task – if properly implemented it will provide both your new employee and you with a little extra holiday bonus.

Just some suggestions for communicating with your patients…

Get clever and creative…. Play up the winter/holiday theme with a mailing or post card that captures the upcoming winter weather….

You paid your premiums all year long, you have earned your dental benefits… don’t let them slip away

Maybe use a corny slogan like this on a postcard with a wintry scene involving ice?


Something referencing New Years Eve….at midnight December 31 the clock strikes 12 and all your hard earned benefits will expire…

If that’s not your style, you could be more serious….

If you have satisfied your deductible for the year, your deductible will reset in January. Take advantage of the lower out of pocket now before next year’s deductible must be satisfied before any reimbursement is disbursed.


Our system shows you still have unused benefits/insurance for the year. Unfortunately you will lose those benefits if you do not use them by the end of the year. We want to help you make the most of your dental coverage and help you receive the benefits you are entitled to, our schedule is filling quickly, so don’t miss this opportunity to use the remaining benefits for the year  Give us a call to schedule an appointment so we can help you…. 

Proper communication is the key to any dental practice. Studies show the practice of dentistry is 90 percent communications and 10 percent clinical. Although I am not minimizing the importance of your clinical skills – the offices that never stop working on communications be it to a patient asking questions or just general information to patients and potential patients – those offices are by far the most successful.

I recommend a multifaceted approach that makes use of all your patient practice /communication tools. A method that uses mail, email texting, face book, twitter, your website and even your practice blog if you have one. Don’t fight the trends or the seasons…. take advantage.  Get ahead of it and set dates for mailings that make sense. 

Get the word out …and maybe since it tis the season….package it up as a little gift for your patients.