How to Turn Common Patient Questions Into Appointments

Jackie Ulasewich-Cullen


We believe that dentistry starts not when patients come in for their first dental visit, but when they call to get information about your practice. This initial call is the first impression a new patient may have of you, and it’s when most patients ask two common questions that can be a deciding factor as to whether or not they book the appointment with you or not. 

Do you know what these two questions are? We discussed with Maegen Brach of Dental Success Today how to handle this first call and how you and your staff can turn it around so you are in the driver’s seat and get the outcome you want—a booked appointment.

“How much does this service cost?” and “Do you take my insurance?” are usually the two most common questions a new patient asks. How these questions are answered can make or break the call. There’s so much more that patients should know about your practice to help them decide if you are a good fit.

That’s why Maegen suggests building rapport and trust with the patient first. It can start before you even pick up the phone. Get into a positive mindset when the phone rings so that when you pick up the call, you sound friendly and welcoming. Next, ask questions such as “Who am I speaking with?” and “How did you hear about our practice?” instead of jumping right into a Q & A session with them about services and costs.

Continue to build upon a friendly conversation. Patients aren’t very used to this when calling in to a dental office for the first time, and it helps get them comfortable and open up. At this point, there’s one question you can ask that will give you key information to help you understand the needs of your callers better and provide them with information that will matter to them: “Can you tell me about your last dental experience?” 

Based on their answer, you can reply by telling them what they should expect from your practice, emphasizing the positive and caring qualities of your customer service. This helps focus the conversation away from insurance or costs to show them you are invested in their health and helping them achieve positive outcomes.

We agree with Maegen that the key takeaway from this information is that you want to be in control during this first phone call with a new patient. In our latest podcast, we go in depth with specific examples of how to steer the conversation away from generic questions that lead to dead ends and how to answer the two most common questions patients ask. You’ll learn how to tactfully segway the conversation with talking points your practice can implement right away. Don’t let these calls slip through your fingers!

With more than a decade of experience in corporate dental laboratory marketing and brand development, Ms. UlasewichCullen decided to take her passion for the dental business and marketing to the next level by founding My Dental Agency. Since starting her company, she and her team have helped a wide variety of practices all over the nation focus their message, reach their target audience, and increase their sales through effective marketing campaigns. She can be reached at (800) 689-6434 or via email at

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