Dental practices provide essential healthcare for patients. Whether it's a regular check-up or a critical dental procedure, dentists help keep their patients safe and healthy. Generally, the more patients the practice has, the more revenue it generates.
However, sometimes dental practices face roadblocks when trying to raise their earnings. From dealing with insurance companies to managing patient care tools, the costs of running a practice add up quickly. Many wonder how to make money as a dentist while handling these extra costs.
Luckily, you can try many new strategies to raise your dentist revenue. Here's an overview of how to increase your dental income.
Sources of Income
How do dentists make money, and how much do dentists make? Dental businesses often have multiple sources of income, all of which influence the ultimate amount of revenue they accrue. You may find new ways to increase your earnings with each source.
Here are some common income sources for dentists:
- Traditional income: You generate this type of income when you open a traditional practice and give regular dental procedures to patients. As you treat more patients, you build a loyal customer base to generate earnings. You can also find more clients through referrals. If your practice grows large enough, you might be able to open more locations or hire more dentists.
- Performance-based income: Many dentists also perform extra dental services to earn more income, usually at a one-time rate. These services might consist of giving a lecture to students or performing surgery at a different practice. These arrangements are generally not consistent, so they're not a constant source of income for dentists.
- Passive income: Passive income is money you earn with little or no effort. You might generate these funds from interest income or pension funds. Dentists could also make more passive income from activities like blogging or creating creative content, like online videos.
10 Ways to Increase Your Revenue
No matter how you generate your income as a dentist, you can try new ways to increase those earnings. Here are 10 ideas for increasing dental revenue.
1. Offer Fluoride Treatment for Adults
Although many dentists only offer fluoride to their younger patients, you can also provide these services for adults. Typical insurance plans don't cover fluoride treatments, so many dentists never give their adult patients the option. But if you add a fluoride option for ages 18 and up, your practice can earn more income.
Fluoride assists pediatric patients as their teeth break through their gums, but it also assists adults. The treatment helps revitalize teeth enamel and prevents decay. Consider adding fluoride options for your adult patients and explain the benefits. Even if insurance doesn't cover the procedures, many patients would likely still be interested. In turn, you could raise your monthly earnings.
2. Reduce Overhead Costs
Another way to increase your dental revenue is by decreasing overhead costs. For dental practices, overhead costs consist of anything from staff payments to the cost of medical tools.
Other examples of overhead costs include:
- Staff salaries and insurance
- Tools and supplies
- Lab equipment or leases
- Rent for the building
Without proper regulation, these costs could add up dramatically and lose your practice thousands in revenue. Luckily, you can try new ways to ensure these costs don't get out of hand, such as:
- Using strong training systems: A comprehensive training system documents the operational procedures for the dental practice. This way, any new staff member can easily receive training and begin working efficiently as soon as possible. You can integrate new staff into your practice with optimal efficiency. A proper training program can even help decrease turnover, helping you save money on looking for new personnel. A more efficient training procedure will also decrease the time new employees spend training, saving your practice time and money.
- Tracking all expenses: Often, you lose track of overhead costs in hidden fees and expenses. Think about the amount you spend on shipping costs, broken or defective items, or product surpluses. To reduce these prices, keep track of all your purchases. If you notice these extra costs occurring with specific vendors or brands, consider switching or seeking more cost-effective options. Try to buy only as much of the product as you need to ensure you reduce extraneous costs.
- Evaluating your brands: Another way to save money in the long term is to study the brands your practice uses for your supplies. While cheaper options might seem more appealing now, they might cost more in the long run if you have to replace them more often. On the other hand, high-quality items are usually more expensive at the moment but last longer, making them more cost-effective. Consider choosing the better quality brand in future purchases, and monitor if it reduces costs over time.
3. Ensure Patients Receive Radiographs
Next, you can increase revenue by setting up a consistent radiograph schedule. Radiographs are critical for overall dental health, letting you view potential decay, disease, or other tooth problems. X-rays are usually taken after every few years, depending on the doctor's preferences.
However, many dental practices don't monitor radiographs consistently. You lose a lot of potential revenue by missing a few patients' radiographs or only taking X-rays when a patient has a problem. Additionally, insurance plans typically cover radiographs, meaning patients don't have to pay extra, so this is an easy way to increase your practice's revenue.
Try creating a specific calendar for X-rays, and ensure that receptionists reference it when making appointments.
4. Shorten Your Appointments
An additional way to increase your earnings is by shortening appointments. While a 60-minute check-up appointment is often seen as the standard, reducing the time by just 10 minutes earns your practice even more revenue.
Changing appointment lengths from 60 minutes to 50 minutes allows you to schedule more patients in one day, and the more openings you have, the more new patients you can take in. Over time, your revenue will increase from the additional patients' business.
5. Invest in Passive Income Streams
As experts in their field, dentists often continue researching passions and sharing their findings with the dental community. Furthering your knowledge lets you expand your network and increase your expertise. When you become a published writer in your field, you establish yourself as a thought leader within the dental community.
Dentists can also turn these passions and research projects into an additional income source. After creating explanatory projects, you can publish or sell them. They can generate money passively, meaning you don't have to do additional work once the content is published. As people purchase your materials and spread the word to the rest of the community, you earn money passively.
Here are some ideas for content you can create:
- Blogging or other creative content: One way to reach others in your field is by creating online content. If you enjoy writing, consider starting a blog about niche interests or topics. Or, if videos are more your style, you could create tutorials or other how-to videos about the dental profession. The writing and filming will take extra work, but you can generate income without any more effort once you post them. Add links to products or display ads to generate money passively.
- Developing an online course: You could design your own online guides or courses about specialized topics. These courses can appeal to dental students looking for extra help or practicing dentists with specific questions. Your guides will allow others to see you as a helpful and intellectual leader in the field. You can use various tutorials to learn how to create your course, then tailor it to your preferences. Once you complete it, sell access online to generate additional revenue.
- Writing an e-book: Dentists can also write books on specialized topics or other dental interests. Publishing a sustained body of work displays your expertise and can help other dentists with their questions. You can self-publish e-books online for an extra income source.
6. Promote the Use of Nightguards
You can also earn more revenue by encouraging your patients to use nightguards. The guard protects teeth from clenching or grinding while someone sleeps. Many patients grind their teeth but are unaware of it, so you can warn them of the harm it causes while also selling the gear. In doing so, you earn more revenue while helping your patients' oral health.
7. Include More High-Profit Treatment Options
The more specialized the treatment is, the more profit it generates. If you don't already, consider adding more specialized treatment options in addition to the standardized care at your practice.
A few examples of high-profit care options include:
- Crowns and bridges
Make sure you complete these procedures with as much efficiency as possible. Taking too much time for these operations or spending too much on equipment could cause you to lose revenue.
8. Improve Your Customer Service
Good customer service is a cornerstone of any practice. When you create positive connections with your patients, they're more likely to return. Additionally, these patients are more likely to spread the word to their friends and family. As your positive reputation grows, so will your profits.
Here are some things you can try to improve your customer service:
- Implement it into your training: When you onboard a new employee, include customer service as an essential part of training. Instruct your employees to keep a positive attitude when interacting with patients. Remember your patients' names and other small facts about them, like where they work or what their family is like. In doing so, you and your employees will show that you care.
- Offer rewards for loyal patients: Returning patients are often the foundation of your practice. Show you value them by offering rewards like whitening treatments for reduced costs or fun gifts. You could also implement a referral program. If a patient refers a new patient to you, both the returning patient and the new patient get a price reduction, gift card, or other benefits.
- Manage your online presence: The internet is the first step in selecting a new provider for many people. Provide potential new patients with reviews, photos, and other helpful tips. Setting up a pleasing and easily navigable website gives patients a strong first impression. If a client has an issue with your practice or leaves a negative online review, be sure to resolve it as kindly as possible.
The happier your patients are, the more likely they will return. So, with the right customer service practices, you could raise your revenue.
9. Add an Associate to Your Practice
Bringing on an associate dentist to your service is a big consideration, but the pay-off can be massive. With an associate, you can open your office for longer hours without having to cover the extra shifts yourself. With more hours available, you can fit in more patients and increase your revenue.
10. Create a Dental Membership Plan
Lastly, an excellent way to improve your earnings is by starting a dental membership plan. The plan usually involves patients paying you a monthly or yearly fee in place of a typical dental insurance policy. In turn, the membership provides patients with additional benefits or discounts.
Usually, membership plans include:
- Two annual cleanings
- Annual X-rays
- Fluoride or teeth whitening
- Discounted rates for other procedures like fillings or implants
With a dental membership plan, you interact with fewer commercial insurance providers. In turn, it becomes much simpler for you to provide care to your patients.
Membership plans offer many benefits to both you and your patients, including:
- No hidden costs: Patients pay an upfront fee for dental services without a go-between. Dental providers can receive the money immediately, without any hassle from insurance companies, and patients don't encounter any hidden fees. This makes a membership plan much easier to navigate than an average insurance plan.
- Cost-efficiency: Membership fees are much less than typical insurance rates in many cases. Many patients go without dental insurance because they can't afford it, only to pay more in the long run due to overlooked dental issues. For instance, if a patient skipped their annual dental check-up for years because they didn't have insurance, a dental care provider wouldn't be able to warn them of possible health issues. The patient could then have to pay thousands in surgery or treatment to fix their problem, but they could have avoided treatment if they had dental care in the first place. A membership makes dental care more accessible for these patients.
- Increased revenue: Patients might lose insurance for various reasons. In turn, dentists might lose these patients' business. When you offer a dental membership plan, you can keep your patients and count on consistent pay. You get to design the membership plan and adapt it as needed. Your clients will appreciate the extra benefits and the accessibility of the membership, making them more likely to be loyal in the long term.
Build a Dental Membership Plan With Kleer
If you're looking to maximize your practice's revenue, a dental membership plan might be just what you need. Kleer offers membership solutions for dentists that can increase profits and create happier customers. Our plans help you create a bond with your customers to keep them returning for your services.
With Kleer's easy design, launch, and management of a membership plan, you're sure to find results in no time. We help give dentists and patients control over their healthcare. To get started with Kleer, request a demo today. We look forward to finding you the best solution for your practice.