The Best Dental Marketing: 5 Primary Reasons Patients Don't Return

Are your dental patients disappearing? If so, then you already know something is definitely wrong. You could have the best dental marketing plan out there but if your practice isn't built to attract and keep new patients happy you're just wasting your time and money.

Lifetime dental patients are the key to success for any practice. After all, returning patients mean more meaningful relationships, more security, more return on investment…and that’s just the start!

If your new patients are not transforming into avid lifetime patients who trust and value your services, then it’s time to address what could be causing them to walk permanently out the door.

Here are five primary reasons why dental patients don’t return—and what you can do to change it.

Looking for More New HIGH QUALITY Patients? Schedule a Strategy Session Today: Click Here


Poor Customer Service

For many, going to the dentist is a stressful experience. The last thing a patient wants is to experience poor customer service when their nerves are already high.

Yet 80% of people surveyed by the Dental Economics Publication said they experienced rude, overbearing employees who exhibited a non-caring attitude sometime during their dental experience. The service was poor enough that many of them left the practice permanently as a result—even if they claimed to have liked the dentist.

To avoid such a catastrophe, it is crucial that each and every impression of your practice is a positive one, and that it resonates with the overall high-quality service you want to be known for. This starts with having a clear, easy-to-navigate website with all the information a first-time patient might want or need. It continues for your entire relationship with that patient, whether they are in the office or not.

From long wait times to dirty bathrooms, you might be surprised to discover how your dental office operates on a daily basis. To learn more about putting yourself in your patient’s shoes, don’t miss this fantastic article by Dentistry IQ: The Worst Dental Office Ever.

Unclear Fees and Charges

The majority of people consider a visit to the dentist to be a costly expense. However, according to a nationwide survey, it is not the price alone that stops patients from returning to the dentist.

What is it then?

Not knowing the difference between required and optional dental treatments.

A resounding 31% of respondents said they believe dentists try to sell them unnecessary services and procedures.

Avoid confusion and misconception by training your staff to be clear and transparent. This gets back to over-delivering on customer service, and building trust with new patients the moment they land on your website. Always discuss cost before beginning any procedure. Offer various treatment options. And most importantly, make it super-clear the VALUE that you are offering. It’s more than a beautiful smile—it’ a healthy mouth that affects their entire well-being.

Inattentive Dentists

Being a dentist is an extremely rewarding job, but it is also an incredibly stressful one. Challenging patients who want to question everything you do don’t make the job any easier.

But though we understand how stressful being a dentist can be, your patients don’t. And either way, they deserve an attentive and present dentist that they can trust with any service, no matter how big or how small.

Your patients expect you to listen and understand their needs. If this doesn’t happen, they will go elsewhere—and they won’t refer their friends and family to frequent your practice. To ensure you’re always as mentally present as you are physically present, take the necessary steps to protect your health and well-being. Go on holidays when needed. Adopt a routine physical exercise regimen. Delegate marketing and other tasks you don’t need to be doing so that you have more freedom and energy to enjoy the life and work you are meant to do.

Taking simple steps every day to preserve your mental and physical health will make you a more attentive and present dentist. And that means more satisfied patients who continually return to your practice.

Your Practice Seems Out Of Date

We live in an increasingly digital world. It’s no longer an option—patients expect a modern practice. This goes for everything from the equipment you use inside the office to the way you represent yourself outside of it.

Take your website. Just having any old website is no longer enough if you want to keep your patients returning for life. In fact, 50% of consumers say they judge the quality of your dental practice based on your website alone. That goes for its design, its clarity, available information about services and financing, and more.

And when patients come to your office, they want to see modern technology that clearly portrays you are up-to-date with technological advances in the dentistry industry. The good news is that incorporating more modern technology into your practice can make you a more efficient—and more profitable—practice. It’s a win-win for everyone.

You Don’t Deliver Expected Results

It seems obvious. Of course your dental patients are not going to be happy with your practice if they don’t receive expected results. With that in mind, this figure is shocking:

Over 95% of US adults who have been treated by a dental hygienist say they felt comfortable with the care they received.

This number could be a sign that the majority of patients don’t understand the roles and education of a dental hygienist. Or it could reveal that your staff is not delivering high-quality services. Either way, it is your practice’s responsibility to ensure that your patients are thrilled with the services you provide—and as a result remain trusting, lifetime dental patients.


A successful dental practice is built off patients who return for life. If your dental patients are disappearing, then take a look at the five points above to ensure every essence of your practice is over-delivering on high-quality services to your patients.



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