Lindcee Barrera

Lindcee Barrera

Full Schedule Project Manager

Don’t settle for an 84% full dental schedule

Recently, the American Dental Association (ADA) surveyed dentists in their monthly “Economic Outlook and Emerging Issues in Dentistry” poll. The results from over 7,000 dentists across the nation are showing some honest struggles in the dental industry. The area of major concern we want to focus on in this article is dental office scheduling. A question in the ADA poll reads “How full was your dental practice’s appointments schedule last week?”The answers for May 2022 averaged to 84%. If you can relate to the struggle of appointment scheduling capacity, we’re here to tell you that you don’t have to settle for an 84% full dental schedule.

How do I keep my dental schedule full?

Per the responses to the recent ADA poll, dental practice appointment capacity in 2022 has averaged 84.18%, with a definitive uptick in March and April.

Dental office schedule capacity 2022

While there are many reasons for such a disparity in dental practice scheduling capacity — and we’ll get to those in a bit — the end result is still the same: not meeting profitability needs/goals. And with the average patient retention rate at 41%, you may be wondering if you will ever see the productivity you need and want. 

Check out our blog article on the 7 ways to keep your dental office schedule full.

Why is my dental office schedule struggling to stay full?

A follow-up question in the poll asks “Which of the following factors prevented your dental practice’s appointment schedule from reaching 100% last week?” Here are the results for May 2022:

  • Patient cancellations = 81%
  • Trouble filling vacant staff positions = 38%
  • Not enough patients trying to make appointments = 36%
  • COVID satefy protocols are limiting the capacity = 14%
  • Other = 9%

Does this feel familiar? You may be facing similar challenges as dental practices across the country. So let’s dive into the top two answers.

Patient cancellations

Do you start the week off with a fairly decent looking schedule, only for it to fall apart as the week progresses? While you can’t completely avoid patient cancellations and no-shows, you can mitigate them by implementing cancellation protocols and tweaking verbiage. 

Are you reminding your patients of appointments in the best way? According to a 2020 PCMag article, Soprano Design conducted a study and found that a staggering 90% of people open a text within 3 minutes. In addition, 65% of people view businesses that send reminders via text more favorably! 

Trouble filling vacant staff positions

The staffing crisis is a struggle felt dental industry-wide. Finding — and hiring — front desk administrators with the knowledge and the personality that fit your dental practice and patient base can seem like an impossible feat. Outsourcing dental billing and scheduling processes to remote specialists is becoming the new normal, allowing offices to have the knowledgeable specialists they need on their team without spinning their wheels on the hamster hiring wheel. Another major benefit of outsourcing is that it alleviates the workload of the dental practice administrative team, allowing them to avoid burnout and accomplish more tasks throughout the day.

How can my dental office increase productivity?

Let’s circle back to the 84% average dental office appointment scheduling capacity and work out the math. If you have a target monthly production goal of $100,000, you would be short by $16,000. If your dental practice overhead is the industry average of 59%, that you have already covered your expenses — including payroll — with an 84% dental schedule capacity. Therefore concluding that increasing your dental schedule capacity equals pure revenue. 

So how can your office increase productivity, so you can see up to 16% more revenue? It is important to note that a 100% full schedule does not always equal a productive and profitable day. While there may be days that you and your staff run ragged with a full schedule of unproductive appointments, you want those to be few and far between. Having a dedicated dental scheduling specialist to reach out to your patients — both recare and outstanding treatment lists — can have a significant impact on the strategic dental office scheduling you need to be productive.

dont settle for an 84 full dental schedule

The dental office scheduling specialists you need

Our personal research shows that an average hygiene appointment, and ensuing production from the doctor’s exam, leads to an average of $471 of income per visit. And a new patient will generate at least $4,500 in revenue (excluding referrals) in their lifetime with a practice! 

Talk to one of our Full Schedule Onboarding Reps to find how our Full Schedule patient scheduling service can give you peace of mind —  and jumpstart your practice growth. By professionally inviting your patients back to your dental office for recare and outstanding treatment, you will increase your patient retention rate and your profitability.

Did you catch our most recent webinar, Creating Dynamic Strategies to Increase Practice Production and Profits? Our amazing panelists dove into patient retention, patient acquisition, and how to avoid the last-minute empty chair expense. Click here to watch!


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