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7 Effective Ways to Increase Dental Case Acceptance

5-minute read

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Patients can be challenging. They know they need your services, but when it comes time to accept treatment, they may hesitate.

Nationally, only about 34% of presented restorative treatment is accepted, according to Jarvis Analytics. That means that for every $100,000 in presented treatment, only about $34,000 is completed.

Here are seven effective ways to get more patients to accept treatment:

  • Create a positive experience
  • Build an emotional connection
  • Identify potential roadblocks
  • Deliver information based on the patient’s personality type
  • Help patients overcome concerns about cost
  • Give the right message at the right time
  • Focus on quality of life, not quality of teeth

Click here to download the full guide to share with your team. Below are the highlights.

1: Create a Positive Experience

Your patients are forming an opinion of you long before they actually meet you. More than 75% of prospective patients visit a provider’s website before a visit, according to the Diamond Group. Try adding a 24/7 live chat feature to your website to answer questions and collect the relevant information to pass along to your team to schedule. By making it easy for patients to get the information they need, you’re creating a positive first impression.

Another easy way to create a great impression before a patient ever enters your practice is to give them a personal call. Assign a team member to identify the biggest cases for the next day and have the dentist or hygienist make a quick call to say they’re looking forward to meeting them. Most of the time, the provider will reach voicemail and that’s fine. The goal is to show your commitment to customer service and generate goodwill.

2: Build an Emotional Connection

People make decisions based on how they feel. If they like you, they’re more likely to want to do business with you.

Every interaction with every team member will influence how the patient feels about your practice. Start building rapport by asking the patient about their day or giving a compliment if you think it will be received well. Then transition into asking questions about their visit, displaying your natural empathy and compassion.

Download our guide for a list of great questions to ask.

3: Identify Potential Roadblocks to Treatment

There are three main concerns that keep people from moving forward with treatment: financial concerns, the time commitment, and fear.

By identifying any of these early on, you can address the concern and increase the likelihood of case acceptance.

You also can find out if there’s a special event coming up or another factor that could influence the patient’s timeline. Then you can pass that information along to the doctor. 

4: Deliver Information According to the Patient’s Personality

Every patient is different, but they typically fall into four personality types. By identifying the patient’s personality type, you can predict how they may react to the information you need to share with them—and adjust the manner in which you deliver it.

Our guide provides deep insight into the different personality types and the best way to present treatment in each situation. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Type-A Personality

This type of patient is results-oriented and appreciates promptness, efficiency, and getting to the point quickly. When you show that you respect what’s important to them, they are more willing to agree to treatment.


  • Friendly, Outgoing Personality

Friendly and outgoing people value relationships deeply and will be more likely to want to do business with somebody they like and trust. By giving the patient your full attention, showing empathy, and focusing on the positive outcome, you’ll build a rapport that will move this patient to treatment acceptance.

  • Quiet & Shy Personality

The majority of people are quiet, reserved, or nervous when they come into the dental practice. Using a gentle tone, simple language, and reassuring words will increase their confidence in accepting treatment.

  • Inquisitive, Detail-Oriented Personality

This personality type values accuracy, expertise and competency, and feels more in control when they have information. Anticipating their questions, allotting extra time for answers, and guiding the conversation back to how they’ll feel once the dental work is complete will persuade this type of patient to accept treatment.

5: Help Patients Overcome Concerns About Cost

The number one way to increase case acceptance is to train your team on how to confidently and compassionately discuss the cost of treatment. There are five key steps, which are detailed in our guide.

The most important step is to reassure the patient that cost is a common concern and that your team has helped many people just like them to be able to afford the care they need and deserve.

6: Give the Right Message at the Right Time

There may be legitimate reasons why the patient can’t say “yes” to treatment immediately. In those cases, establish what they need to in order to move forward. Here are some ideas:


  • Provide patient education materials
  • Schedule a telehealth / virtual follow-up appointment
  • Create follow-up emails
  • Check back when financial situation eases

In all situations, remain understanding and use reassuring words such as, “I understand. That makes sense. Here’s how we can work together.” That helps diffuse any embarrassment the patient may have and keeps the focus on solutions.

7: Focus on Quality of Life, Not Quality of Teeth

People make decisions with their hearts, not just their minds. One of the best ways to increase dental treatment acceptance is to have your patients imagine a future where they can smile confidently, especially in family pictures or on Zoom. Or perhaps they want to be able to eat steak or corn-on-the-cob again. Paint a picture with your words about how the care you’re able to provide will improve their quality of life, not just the quality of their teeth.

Let them know that you can’t wait to help them have the smile they deserve—and to add their picture to your book of success stories so they can inspire other people to change their lives for the better, too. 

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