Do our older patients need more dental work?

by Larry Emmott on January 6, 2014

in Digital Marketing,Management

The correct answer to this question could affect all kinds of things we do in the dental office; from the supplies we order to the services we provide even to our office location. However, prior to the use of digital technology, getting answers to these simple questions was tedious, expensive and unreliable. As a result we would just guess. Sure, we’d say to ourselves, it seems to me my older patients need more work; but do they really?

This is another great example of how we can get accurate answers to these questions quickly and easily as a byproduct of doing business using a computer. No more guessing.  These numbers were generated by “ActionRun” a unique e-service that finds and re-activates patients.

So; do older patients need more dental work? The answer will probably surprise you.

If patients maintain a recommended re-call process and visit the dentist every six to twelve months the amount of money spent per dental appointment is essentially the same for twenty year olds, forty year olds and even sixty year olds.

However if a patient slips out of re-care and fails to see the dentist for two years the money spent per dental appointment by sixty year olds is more than double that spent by twenty somethings. In fact the cost per visit starts increasing sharply at about age forty. See the chart below for more detail.

I believe there are two lessons to be learned from these numbers.

  1. Prevention does pay. Keeping patients in a good re-care program keeps costs down.
  2. When patients, especially patients over forty become inactive they are likely to develop dental problems and if we can find and re-activate those people it will improve their dental health and bring additional income to the office.

(NOTE: This data is representative however as we get more data input we are finding other variables will effect the outcome. More to come)

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