Reconnect with Inactive Dental Patients and Give Them a Reason to Reactivate


Reconnect with Inactive Dental Patients and Give Them a Reason to Reactivate

Sep 24, 2021

“They fell through the cracks…”

That phrase implies two things and both can apply to how you approach and reactivate inactive dental patients.

One implication is that that they’ve moved on. Another is that they felt the need to do so in the first place.

In fairness, it could have little or nothing to do with you. After all, you know that patients are prone to drift away for various reasons.

The bigger picture is that you can apply some front-end and back-end strategies to fill-the-cracks (so to speak).

Who are we talking about here?

The metric is shifting a bit but generally speaking an “inactive patient” is one who has not scheduled within an 18 month period. That timeframe is utilized by most when assessing patient loyalty.

Some might discount an inactive patient’s value. But it’s not a fair assessment when you consider the factors that contributed to them choosing your practice in the first place.

This speaks to the need to have accurate and measurable data on each patient.

  • Why they choose your practice
  • How they heard about you
  • When the first scheduled
  • Their scheduling history and related reasons for delaying treatment, etc.

These factors and more can reveal much about a patient’s reason for “ghosting” your services. And there’s equal relevance to determining if their relationship with you is salvageable.

That’s where strategy comes in to play.

First, let’s take a look at patient value

The average lifetime value of a dental patient ranges from $12,000 to $15,000. Keep in mind that a single patient is a networked asset to your practice. This means they have connection to other household or family members, friends, co-workers, etc.

A patient’s value extends beyond that initial monetary range. Their value is potentially compounded when they (for whatever reason) become inactive and/or fall off your scheduling “grid.”

A patient-value based insight is a good first step to keeping your patient data in perspective. Not all inactive patients will reactivate but some will.

And given their range of value to your practice it’s worth the energy to create and maintain a routine strategy to recover their loyalty to your services.

How to reconnect with inactive patients and keep them engaged with your dental practice

Apply preventive measures

You’re accustomed to preventive thinking relative to dental care. Patients who value preventive care tend to have less dental issues and are therefore healthier.

Use the same preventive mindset when evaluating your patient experience.

It’s true that some patients will “shop” the local dental “market” for the perceived cost-effective treatment or service related promotion. This makes it all the more relevant to provide a patient experience that distracts from the deal-of-the-month mailers that circulate.

  • Elevate your care and compassion standards.
  • Engage your patients around their personal and emotional reasons for dental treatment.
  • Equip your team to listen for each patient’s emotional connection to dentistry (the good and bad).

Re-engage on a personal level

Communication narrows the gap between dental visits. it might surprise you to segment your inactive patient data according to communication frequency and quality.

There could be notable similarities between inactive patients not hearing from you and the quality of communicationthose same inactive patients have received from your office.

Good communication is personal. This implies that generic, bulk, templated communication could be delivering an impersonal message.

Effective communication takes time. It also requires intuition about each patient’s relationship with your practice.

Again, they chose you for a reason. Their inactivity also comes with a reason (or two) attached.

You won’t know until you re-engage with them.

  • Reach out with a personalized message to inactive patients.
  • Do some “homework” to find a personal connection with your practice, a team member (e.g. hygienist, DA, front-office), their most recent treatment, previously stated treatment goals within their patient notes, etc.
  • Create a brief message that indicates you know them and that they’re more than a “number” in your database.
  • Refresh their memory about a discussed treatment goal, their financial questions, a personal reason for selecting your practice, etc.

And if a patient has moved away or moved on – graciously acknowledge their time with your practice and wish them well. Personal gestures are remembered…perhaps they’ll return or provide a referral as a result of your personalized effort.

Notice we didn’t specify phoning, texting, email, or voicemail here. Let your patient’s preferences (and your awareness) guide HOW you communicate with each individually.

Keep them on “a” list

It’s common to delete inactive patients from your database. But maybe there’s another option.

Segmenting your patient data is common. Why not do the same with inactive patients for the purpose of routine communication.

Think of inactive patient data like a subscriber list. For example, not everyone who subscribes to a product or service’s mailing list purchases consistently.

Their buying decision is often a matter of timing.

At the right moment, delivered content might tip a consumer (like a patient) to take advantage of the shared information.

  • Keep inactive patients in your practice communication queue (until they tell you otherwise).
  • Maintain a connection with inactive patients via a monthly newsletter, emails linking to your most recent blog content, and/or social media post(s).

Dental content relevant to your current/active patients will likely be useful to your inactive patients as well. At a minimum, maintain a “subscriber” relationship with them.

Perhaps timing will be on their side (and yours) for influencing them to re-activate with your practice and services.

Inactive doesn’t mean unreachable

It’s to your advantage to have a system in place (preferably an automated one) that keeps inactive patients in the loop with your dental practice.

  • Utilize available inactive patient data
  • Analyze the data
  • Personalize the data into strategic reactivation opportunities

Check out the following resources to gain insight into how you can effectively perform data analysis on a dedicated platform:

“Mine” Your Data for Unscheduled Dental Treatment and Increase Your Revenue

Using a Dental Analytics Platform to Track Your Metrics for Better Patient Care

Reconnect with inactive (and active) dental patients using an all-in-one dental dashboard

The Jarvis Analytics platform helps assure that you’re tracking the important metrics and staying on-track with your goals as your dental practice and/or DSO grows and expands.


  • Integrates seamlessly with your chosen practice management software/platform
  • Presents the metrics you want and need in an easy-to-view dental dashboard that reduces data complexity for growing dental practices, dental groups, and DSOs

Experience Jarvis in action. Request a demo today!


Contact us for more information about data tracking that leads to profitability.


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