Dental Practice Management: Scheduling a Comprehensive Exam

Dental Practice Management: Scheduling a Comprehensive Exam
What is the best dental practice management policy on length of a new patient exam?

51% schedule a minimum of 40 minutes for comprehensive dental exams, this survey found.

Only 27% of dentists said they perform comprehensive exams in less than 30 minutes.

“Actually, I schedule an hour and sometimes it takes longer The compete exam is THE single greatest internal dental marketing technique,” offered one dentist, a subtle comment for comprehensive exams being a part of an overall dental marketing plan.

Here’s how dentists responded to this survey asking what length of time they schedule for an initial comprehensive exam:

  • 4% 10 minutes.
  • 10% 15 minutes.
  • 10% 20 minutes.
  • 3% 25 minutes.
  • 22% 30 minutes
  • 51% 40+ minutes.

Here are some further comments on scheduling comprehensive exams from dentists:

It should be one hour …

“One hour. It’s COMPREHENSIVE. That cannot be done in less than 45 minutes. It means you are looking at radiographs, perio probing, restorative, occlusion, TMJ, health history, and oral cancer exam. I defy anyone who says that a “comprehensive” exam can be done any faster.” (Georgia dentist)

“For new patients, an hour max, but if I only give them 20 minutes of my time, I don’t get the case as often.” (Illinois dentist)

“Really should schedule 50 or 60 minutes on adults.” (General dentist)

“We schedule one hour initial exam for perio charting, radiographs, photos, models, charting restoration, and for getting to know the patient.” (Michigan dentist)

“We schedule an hour, but sometimes it takes even longer.” (California dentist)

It should be more than an hour …

“We schedule 1 1/2 hours for initial medical history gathering, interview, complimentary Velscope cancer screening, necessary x-rays and comprehensive exam. NO cleaning at this appointment.” (Minnesota dentist)

“I actually spend and hour and a half for each new patient examination. Not one gets into hygiene without a NP exam.” (Washington dentist)

“My first appointment is 1.5 hours in length with a pre-paid reservation fee.” (California dentist)

“My patient is scheduled for 2 hours. In that time we take photos, x-rays, models and intra-oral images as well as the full exam, interview and charting with the doctor.” (New Jersey dentist)

“We schedule 90 minutes. 45 minutes for the exam and 45 minutes for records.” (Florida dentist)

Note: Survey sample included 100 respondents.

Discover What Dentists Are Saying About Dental Lasers (video)

Discover What Dentists Are Saying About Dental Lasers  (video)Dental lasers are quite literally cutting-edge technology.

Some dentists find them an amazing tool for fighting gum disease. Others find them highly over-priced and not particularly useful, while others want to buy them, but can’t afford them yet.

Speaking of a dental laser, one dentist said, “It is the best thing to come along in dentistry in the past 20 years!” While another complained, “The laser I paid so much for isn’t a comfortable part of any treatment I do. It’s not paying its own bills!

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if they use lasers on soft tissue for the treatment of gum disease. Watch the video to hear how the dentists responded —

Are you using dental lasers in your dental practiceWhat do you think?

Dental Marketing Can Bring Lots of New Patients (video)

Dental Marketing Can Bring Lots of New Patients (video)Dental marketing programs can bring lots of new dental patients to a doctor’s office.

However, some dentists can’t help but feel dirty about marketing themselves and their dental practices.

As one dentist pointed out, “A restaurant can’t say, ‘We won’t do marketing because we just want to cook good food for people.'”

Sighed a prostodontist, “Marketing is a necessary evil.”

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if dental marketing is part of their job.

Click on Play to hear how dentists answered this question —

What are your thoughts on dental marketing for your dental practice?

There’s Big Business in Acquiring New Dental Patients

There's Big Business in Acquiring New Dental PatientsHalf of the dentists in the latest The Wealthy Dentist survey report that they would be willing to pay $150.00 or more to acquire one new dental patient.

Dentists responded that they would be willing to pay anywhere from $20.00 to over $300.00 for one new patient.

Of course, there were a wide variety of dollar amounts that dentists indicated they would be willing to spend in the acquisition of a new patient.

Here’s how dentists responded to the question, “How much would be willing to pay to acquire one new dental patient?”

• 17% — Up to $20 a patient
• 13% — Up to $50 a patient
• 19% — Up to $100 a patient
• 21% — Up to $150 a patient
• 09% — Up to $200 a patient
• 04% — Up to $250 a patient
• 06% — Up to $300 a patient
• 11% — Over $300 a patient

Acquiring New Dental Patients Survey Graph

Suburban and urban dentists were more willing to pay for more new dental patients than their rural counterparts with suburban dentists willing to pay the most.

Here are some of the comments by dentists in this survey:

“What we mean is that this is our actual cost through our dental marketing efforts.” (Pennsylvania dentist)

“My projected value per patient is $2300.00. So paying a few hundred dollars to get them in my door is a no-brainer.” (Texas dentist)

“I would pay more for veneers or implant patients.” (New Jersey dentist)

“Paying directly to acquire new patients on a per-patient basis is illegal, but general dental advertising and promotion is legal as long as costs are not charged per patient.” (California dentist)

“They’d have to go through with an orthodontic treatment.” (Massachusetts orthodontist)

“Corporate greed from mega dental clinics (owned by non-dentists) have practically no budget to acquire new patients. How in the hell do new graduates with private offices have a chance!!?” (Washington dentist)

Referral marketing has been traditionally considered by many experts to be one of the most effective ways to gain new dental patients because it creates a “warm lead” — a prospective patient who hears about the dentist from a friend whom they know, like and trust.

Potential patients who are “warm leads” will often call the office to set an appointment even if they’ve never visited the dental website simply because their friend or family member made the recommendation.

The cost to acquire that kind of patient is next to zero.

The Wealthy Dentist recommends for best results, that dentists provide an incentive or special offer to include in aTell-A-Friend email. The ‘Tell-A-Friend’ feature is a great low cost way to let your patients market your practice for you.

The Internet Dental Alliance provides pre-written suggestions dentists can use to create special offers, so why not head on over to and check out Dental Email Newsletters for Current Patients and More Referrals today.

Dentists Support Water Fluoridation (video)

Dentists Support Water Fluoridation (video)The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if they are in favor of water fluoridation.

85% of the dentists who responded to the survey are in favor of fluoridation of drinking water.

Water fluoridation has become a hotly-debated topic in cities throughout the U.S. with Portland, Oregon, being the latest city to consider water fluoridation. Fluoridation is either considered a medical miracle or involuntary mass medication, depending on the dentist you ask.

Said one orthodontist in this survey, “There’s a reason fluoride was rated by one of the top 10 health policies of the 21st century.”

Whereas another dentist declared, “It is forced medication of questionable benefit, and its source is chemical waste from fertilizer processing plants…Yuck!”

To hear what dentists had to say about fluoride, Click on Play —

What are your thoughts on fluoride in drinking water?

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