Increasing Treatment and Getting Paid

Nine things you can do to raise case acceptance rates.

Updated 6/30/20

Without full chairs and patients receiving treatment regularly, your practice cannot thrive. Even a five percent increase in treatment acceptance and collections can dramatically increase practice productivity.

Here nine tips to boost your productivity through increased case acceptance:

  • Spend more time on “people work” than on paperwork. 80 percent of the decision to choose your care is based on the ability to connect with your patient. Get to know your patients and earn their trust before you start informing them of office policies. And they’ll be more compliant if they like you.
  • Always present ideal treatment first. The patient will never choose your comprehensive treatment plan if they never hear about it.
  • Begin with the end in mind. Patients may be more motivated for periodontal care if they know there is a beautiful, healthy smile waiting at the end. Describe the benefits of their care.
  • Don’t forget recare. There are a lot of incomplete treatment plans hovering over existing patients. Learn how to re-introduce incomplete treatment and new treatment during continuing care appointments.
  • Increase patient comfort. No hard pressure sales–it’s all elective. Patients will feel more relaxed and more comfortable listening to treatment options. Give them the information they need to be comfortable and confident in your care.
  • Make the conversation matter. You are asking the patient to make an investment. It should be done privately and given the time it deserves with no interruptions.
  • Present with confidence. Don’t assume the patient will have an issue with your fees or your payment expectations.
  • Learn to negotiate. Financial arrangements are a two-way conversation. Present your preferred option first and wait for the patient to respond. Avoid lists of payment options. Know what they are and reveal them as needed.
  • Ask the right questions. “What is preventing you from proceeding with care?” You may be able to help eliminate or minimize the barriers if you know what they are.

Learn More

Dentrix offers a free eBook with more helpful tips on improving case acceptance. Download it at www.dentrix.com/solved.

Read “7 Keys to Case Acceptance,” “Foolproof Steps to Increase Patient Case Acceptance” and “Increasing Treatment Acceptance and Getting Paid” for other ideas to encourage case acceptance.


By Debra Engelhardt-Nash, Co-founder The Nash Institute for Dental Learning

Debra Engelhardt-Nash has been in dentistry over 25 years. She is a trainer, author, presenter, and consultant who has presented workshops nationally and internationally. She was a contributing editor for Contemporary Esthetics and Restorative Practice and an editorial board member for Contemporary Assisting. Debra was also an instructor for the Central Piedmont Community College Dental Assisting Program and a guest instructor for Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry. Debra is a founding member and former president of the National Academy of Dental Management Consultants. She is an active member of the American Dental Assistants Association and the American Academy of Dental Practice Administration. Debra has been listed in Dentistry Today as a leader in continuing dental education and dental consulting since 2005. She received the American Dental Assistants Association’s highest honor, the Kay Moser Distinguished Service Award, in 2008, and she has been chosen as one of the Top 25 Women in Dentistry for 2014 by Dental Products Report. Debra will be the 2015 recipient of the Gordon Christensen Lecturer Recognition award, which was presented during the 150th Chicago Midwinter Meeting.


Published as part of a collection of key takeaways from the 2014 Business of Dentistry Conference, along with:


Originally published in Dentrix Magazine, Winter 2014