New Dental Patients – Balancing Convenience and Thoroughness

A common challenge with new dental patients is balancing their need for convenience with your need to do a thorough job.  When an established patient comes in for a regular visit, you know how much time to allow and you rarely encounter surprises that cause you to run late.  This is not always the case with new patients.  What follows are ideas from high performing dental practices that may help you better manage the new patient visit.

Dental Patient and Dentist

Even though you know that patients typically have the expectation that you can do the exam and cleaning all in one visit, consider what works best for your practice.  Many practices prefer to see the patient first for an exam, and then when the appropriate step with the hygiene team has been determined, schedule the patient back for a cleaning or treatment for gum disease.   If this is your preference, make sure your front team knows how to communicate the benefits of this approach.

Since you are in the business of providing service, you also want to consider flexibility in your approach.  For example, many dental practices will consider offering an exam and cleaning in one visit if the new patient has not been treated for gum disease in the past, and if the patient has been in for a cleaning within the last year.  Consider your parameters for offering flexibility to new patients who may have limited time to come see you.


Even though you want to offer flexibility, consider how this flexibility may negatively impact other patients.  You typically have certain times of the day that work better for new patient exams, and it makes for a much better experience for everyone if you do not try and cram in an exam when you are already too busy.

Since there is a bit of a balancing act between offering convenience and providing thorough care, make sure you take the steps to ensure a great new patient experience.

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