Does this scenario sound familiar? You take the time to explain to a patient that you’re concerned by something you’ve discovered during an exam. You explain the consequences of not receiving the recommended treatment. Still, the patient walks out of the office without scheduling treatment. It’s a common scenario you can’t always avoid. Some patients will want to consider the potential costs and benefits of treatment, discuss it with their spouse, or think over the best timing. However, if the patient never calls back to schedule for treatment, you may need to follow up to get them on the schedule. 

dental patients treatment acceptance

Since these patients have already shown they are not motivated to pursue treatment, having a strategy in place for following up can make a big impact on case acceptance rates. 

3 ways to improve your strategy 

  1. Demonstrate the value of treatment: For whatever reason, the patient already decided treatment isn’t worth it. They may be concerned about the cost or pain associated with the treatment or may believe it is unnecessary. This is your second chance to establish trust and ensure they see the value of treatment. Take the time to review their file and go through your findings, just like you would during an initial presentation. Sometimes hearing things for a second time is all that is needed for the patient to see the value of treatment. 
  2. Express your concerns: You likely already spent time showing your findings to the patient and explaining the consequences of not seeking treatment. Demonstrate that same level of care with the follow-up and let them know you are concerned for their health. Explain that by not seeking treatment, the consequences could be greater. They may experience more pain or undergo a more expensive treatment because they waited until the problem worsened. 
  3. Go above and beyond: Ensure that the patient knows you’re serious about their health. If you’re unable to get in touch with them over the phone, consider sending a letter signed by the doctor or someone in the office who has a rapport with the patient. Patients are accustomed to receiving emails. A written letter that clearly communicates your concerns and urges the patient to contact you as soon as possible to schedule their treatment will make an impression. Another option could be to send a patient education video via email that allows the patient to see a visual depiction of why you are recommending treatment. The use of effective patient education videos can powerfully convey your concern. It could just be the nudge the patient needs to make their health a priority. 

Not sure where to get started? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Spear Practice Solutions is designed to help. We combine coaching from expert consultants with tailored educational content for team alignment and real-time analytics to improve practice health. 

To learn more about Spear Practice Solutions, contact us at or 866.781.0072 (ext. 3) or visit


Commenter's Profile Image Josh R.
September 13th, 2018
Good article! I find number 3 the most important. An emotional expierence needs to be created which normally leads to an interpersonal connection a patient will never forget.