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I hear the word reactivation so often.

When we contact our patients to reactivate them, what does it really mean?

Reactivate means to “restore to a state of activity”.

We want to bring our patients back so that they are active in our appointment book.

To me, the word reactivation creates an impersonal, mechanical and generic procedure that we follow to contact our patients and try to make an appointment for them.


What I see in most practices is that the act of reactivating patients has become just that, a mechanical and even thoughtless process our front office follows with very little concern whether the patient responds to our letter, email or phone call.

What I see is the thought that the job is to send out the reactivation message and the rest is up to the patient.

Of course prevention of having to reactivate patients is the real answer but that is whole different story!

The trouble is, that more often than not, reactivation is one of those tasks that nobody really likes to be doing in our practice.

True reactivation of a patient needs to be more than just a procedure that is done every now and then.

Reactivation of patients needs to be thoughtful, meaningful and personal.

I recently heard a front office coordinator say she just didn’t know where to start with patient reactivation.

The sooner you make contact with your patient following their last appointment, the more likely they are to make another appointment.

Start by reactivating those patients who have most recently had an appointment.

If you wait too long to contact patients who have not gone ahead with their treatment they may end up going to another Dentist or they will be more resistant to making another appointment.

I believe the very best way to make contact and reactivate patients, is on the phone.

Start with the patients who have recently been in and be prepared for the phone call.

Being prepared for the reactivation call means you have looked at the patient’s file and you are fully aware of the following:

  • The patients last appointment. Knowing what happened at the patient’s last appointment and the patient’s response to treatment is very important and will help you handling any issues or resistance on the call.
  • Any cancelled appointments. Sometimes the patients we are reactivating may have made an appointment and then cancelled it. You want to know why they cancelled so that you can look for solutions during the call.
  • Treatment Plan with the Dentist or the Hygienist. On the call you have information about the treatment that has been diagnosed by the dentist and the consequences of what will happen if that treatment is not completed. This will help build urgency and concern in the patient about their treatment.
  • Any previous resistance to treatment. It is so important to know the reason the patient didn’t go ahead with their treatment in the first place. This reason may still be a valid reason in the eyes of the patient so knowing this will help when you call.
  • Life events for the patient. Knowing what is happening in the lives of our patients can help when we call to reactivate patients. Timing dental treatment with the patients schedule can work well. Being flexible and accommodating helps the patients go ahead with treatment.

Knowing as much as possible prior to the call is what can make the difference between making an appointment for the patient and not.

The most effective way to get to this level of communication is easy.

Call your patients. Have a conversation with them.

Ask questions and look for solutions.

Then, make their appointment.


This blog will feature simple practical ideas that are easy to implement tomorrow in your Dental Office, impacting immediately on your Patients’ Dental  Phone Experiences, and ultimately, improving your practice profitability.

At present I have availability for three new private clients. For more information on how I can improve your Dental Office’s Phone Numbers contact me, Jayne Bandy at  jayne@theDPE.com

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