Three Reasons Why Lack Of Follow Up Is Killing Your Business. And Two Easy Ways To Fix It.

I was asked yesterday by one of my readers whether I had written any articles or blogs on the benefits of follow up.

Now I wasn’t really sure whether I had or not. So what I did promise her was that I’d do my best to whip up one for her this week.

You see, the way that I see it, there is absolutely NO REASON ON EARTH whatsoever that every patient of your dental practice should not to be followed up.


Followed up.


And why shouldn’t they be?

Once a client or customer becomes a patient of your dental practice there is always a reason why they should always have an ongoing appointment.


And if they don’t have that appointment, then they need to be followed up.

Because they MUST have an ongoing appointment.

There is absolutely NO REASON why they should not.


So if they leave your office without an appointment it is your moral obligation and duty to follow them up until they make that next appointment.

Somebody once asked me what it was like looking underneath an old amalgam filling once it had been removed.

I replied:

It’s like looking behind your fridge, or your washing machine.

It’s not pretty.

And it’s the same looking behind those lower anteriors. After three or six months, the build up and infection begins.

It starts to form.

And it sits there.

And it doesn’t go away….

And it needs to be removed.

Because just like the stuff behind your fridge, that build up and infection does not just remove itself by itself.

And so if you allow your patients to leave without an ongoing hygiene appointment, then you’re a co-conspirator in the harbouring of disease within that poor patient’s mouth.

It is your moral obligation therefore to follow up follow up follow up your patients and ensure that they maintain their regular hygiene visits for their own benefit.

To reduce disease and the incidence of disease within their oral cavity.

And beyond, because we all know now of the systemic links between poor oral health and poor general health.

And it is our moral obligation to ensure, as health care practitioners, that we have done everything in our powers to make sure our patient returns.

For their benefit.

The second, very logical reason that ALL patients need to have ongoing appointments with our Dental Office is that it just makes better business sense to do so.

Take the opposite situation….

Look at a dental office that does not schedule appointments in advance for ongoing hygiene or to review questionable teeth and conditions.

“Call me if it breaks!”

“Give us a call if your breath smells….”

You can laugh, but there are Dental Offices out there with hundreds, if not thousands of patients who need to be in regular care but who are left to their own devices.

Left roaming the streets.

Roaming the streets with conditions that need reviewing.

With conditions that need treatment.

That we need to treat. That we should have treated.

And for every one of those patients that we’ve let walk off into the ether without an ongoing appointment?

Well we’ve got to find someone else, another patient, to replace the first patient who should have had that appointment for treatment in the first place.

So our dental office needs twice as many patients just to do the same business.

Because we now need a second patient for every patient that we fail to re-appoint and schedule for that ongoing treatment or review.

And it makes no sense to me, when I hear of dentists not following up, and then complaining that they’re not busy enough…

When they’re letting all that work walk out their door and wander the streets…

A key phrase I learned indirectly from Amway can be used here to best describe what we need:

The purpose of an appointment is to make another appointment.

The purpose of an appointment is to make another appointment.

In Amway, the reason they lend you a tape is not so that you listen to it. It’s so that they need to make an appointment to come around and see you to pick up that tape and to give you another.

And see you.

The purpose of an appointment is to make another appointment….

Another lesson I learned about appointments was from a not so good real estate agent, or realtor, that we had engaged to try and sell our home for us in 1994. [Was that a tautology?]

So this agent calls me on the phone one day, and he says:

“I’ve made an appointment for those people to come around and see your home tomorrow at 9:00am”

And I say:

“Er, well that’s not going to happen. You know we have a one year old….”

[This is the polite version…anyone who has had infant children knows mornings are not good times….ever!]

So the agent says:

“That’s O.K.. I’ll change it.”

And then he offers up this pearl….

“It’s easier to change an existing appointment than it is to try to schedule an un-made appointment…”

It’s easier to change an existing appointment than it is to try to schedule an un-made appointment…


In dentistry, it’s easier to make a patient keep an appointment than it is to call them up to make an unmade appointment.

In dentistry, it’s easier to have a patient reschedule an appointment already made at an incorrect time than to call them up later trying to schedule an unmade appointment…

So backed with these two scheduling thoughts, and the notion that dentistry is not static, but rather an ongoing disease in constant progress, well there’s no reason at all that each and every one of our patients should never not have an appointment, and should never NOT be followed up.



The importance of follow up is just one part of  The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple easy to implement system that I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb.  If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me:

Did you like this blog article? If you did then hit the share buttons below and share it with your friends and colleagues. Share it via email, Facebook and twitter!!