Maximize the Free Growth Opportunities Around Your Dental Practice

Tyler Williams, DDS


When your team members call patients or accept an incoming call to take a payment or have a question answered, how well do you capitalize on that call?

Finding and keeping great patients is the hardest thing that you will ever do in your practice. This is more difficult than any surgical, restorative, or orthodontic procedure you offer by a long shot. I would take doing a difficult treatment on a great patient over a simple procedure on a difficult patient any day. You probably would, too.

Returning calls, taking notes, and maintaining your callback list are hugely important tasks, but they can be very time-consuming for you and your team members. To me, these duties are among the most critical roles in your practice. They build trust with your patients and dramatically, yet often indirectly, affect your practice growth and income.

Keep in mind that your dental practice is the goose that lays the golden eggs. Your time, energy, and money spent there will likely produce the greatest return compared to any other investment over your lifetime.

So, don’t neglect the number one asset in your practice—your patient list.

Your Patient List

Your patient list is far more valuable than any 3D technology, or your entire building, for that matter. Nourish it, dig deep, cultivate your list, and maximize the value that is already inside your practice management software.

This list also involves your team members. Take care of those around you, not just in the form of dental treatment, but in building long-lasting relationships by using a marketing calendar to develop your relationship marketing system.

The Harvard Business Review ran a study years ago that found that a simple 5% to 25% increase in patient retention can bring up your collections by roughly 25% to 50%. Much of that can be pure profit!

As I often tell my team members when it comes to tracking results or making an important investment in our time, if the math doesn’t make sense, nothing else will.

Marketing legend Dan Kennedy is very thoughtful when it comes to his “herd,” in the form of answering letters and faxes he receives with a personal response—sending an old-fashioned letter in an envelope. He doesn’t use email, since he finds it too distracting, unproductive, and impersonal. I adapted one of his adages for growing your dental practice, which is “You don’t get a patient to do treatment on. You offer treatment to gain trust with a new patient.”

Make sure your team members are familiar with the patient relationship system we call “PHUBB.” Have them write this acronym down on a 3×5 card and keep it near your office phones as a reminder on how to capitalize on each call from any existing patient or new patient:

  • P: Profile updates (address, phone number, email)
  • H: Hygiene (re-care appointment, periodontal treatment, or root canal/ortho/other specialty procedure follow-up)
  • U: Urgent or important treatment schedules and discussed (disease related examples: deep decay, tooth extraction, implants, ortho, root canals)
  • B: Billing up-to-date (outstanding balances paid)
  • B: Benefits (insurance, payment plans, warranty on your work, special offers, in-house membership benefits)

If you’d like more insight on how to use PHUBB to improve the retention and referrals in your practice for your team, email me at and I’ll email you a free one-page template to set it up in your office.

If you gain nothing else from this article, please nail down this concept of maximizing your patient relationships, especially when they are already contacting you to set up an appointment or ask a billing question. Kill two birds with one stone!

Not only will it make your job easier and your marketing way more effective, but it also will easily bring in tens of thousands of dollars or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in new collections per year. Plus, you’ll be able to really help more of your patients get the care they need.

Here’s to your success in 2021.

Dr. Williams is an “in the trenches” practicing dentist and the founder of Pinecrest Practice Growth. He is the author of the new book, The Owner’s Guide to a Productive Dental Practice: 7 Pillars Every Dentist Needs to Grow in the New Economy. He has been featured on ABC’s Good Things Utah, NBC News Radio, the ForbesBooks Radio podcast, The Profitable Dentist, The One Thing marketing podcast, Sirius XM Radio, UK Health Radio, and KTALK Utah radio, as well as in several national dental research publications. To contact Dr. Williams to obtain a free copy of the “PHUBB” one-page guide for your team, email him at

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