4 Ways to Improve Patient Engagement at Your Dental Practice

June 21, 2023
min read

Key Takeaways

  • Outdated Communication Hurts Dentists: Ineffective methods like phone calls disrupt schedules, harm productivity, and decrease patient satisfaction.
  • Digital Communication Is Essential: Texting, automated scheduling, and secure messaging improve engagement, efficiency, and patient experience.
  • Doctible Empowers Practices: Use the Patient Communicator for secure texting, Smart Messaging for automation, and reminders for reduced missed appointments.
  • EasyFill Manages Cancellations: Instantly fills openings with waitlisted patients, maximizing revenue and schedule efficiency.
  • Doctible Boosts Performance: Streamlines operations, enhances patient connections, and supports dental practices in the digital age.

Prepare Your Practice for a New Era with Industry-Leading Dental Software  

In addition to expertise and physical care, patient engagement in dentistry is essential. Task management, patient compliance, and office flow—everything you do centers around your ability to communicate with patients effectively. In fact, your practice’s success depends on it.

With competition on the rise in the dental industry, it's important to optimize your practice's skillset. Don’t let poor patient engagement strategies keep you from achieving your goals of becoming a thriving dental practice. Here, we explore challenges, patient demand, and methods to improve your practice’s patient communication and elevate your potential.  

Patient Engagement Challenges Facing Dentists Today  

You can probably name a couple of ways your practice could improve its connection with patients. For example, endless unanswered phone calls and constant phone tag ultimately harm care quality, office productivity, and the patient experience.  

But ineffective methods—like outdated appointment scheduling and communication channels—are insidious in many other ways:  

Disrupted operations: Missed or late appointments create a chain reaction, disrupting schedules, wasting resources, and harming production.  

Inefficient staff: In a small or understaffed team, poor patient engagement causes important messages and tasks to slip through the cracks. This creates chaos in your office, leading to a stressful work environment.  

Inadequate patient education: Patients may not fully understand their treatment plans, decreasing compliance and leading to less optimal outcomes.  

Privacy violations: Without secure and HIPAA-compliant communication systems, patient data can be compromised, potentially leading to legal issues.  

And it doesn’t stop there: Your overall work environment subsists on strong communication. Perhaps—like many others in your industry—you’ve had trouble with employee turnover. Transparent communication and smoother operations can reduce the stress causing your employees to quit.  

The Rising Need for Digital Patient Communication  

As technology changes, your practice must also change to keep up. That means removing outdated communication methods, like phone calls. For one, they’re both time-consuming and ineffective, given that today’s patients likely aren’t going to answer anyway.  

Plus, it makes contacting your practice more difficult since patients have to listen to phone system prompts and wait on hold. Each of these things leads to a negative experience for your patients.  

For these reasons, digital patient communication methods are essential in today’s tech-forward era. In fact, one study underlines how text messages—the most popular communication channel—can benefit dental practices significantly:  

Improved engagement: Patient engagement rates increased to 90%.  

Patients preferred texting: Most patients (98%) preferred texting over phone calls.  

Stronger connections: The majority of patients (96%) said they felt more connected to their providers.  

Goodbye, phone calls: 92% agreed that texting helped them avoid making unnecessary phone calls to the office.  

Not only do these modern tools support your patients, but they support your staff as well. By upgrading outdated communication methods, your staff can avoid tedious filing and manual data entry. The result is cost and time efficiency in your office.  

These paperless contact methods, like automated scheduling and appointment reminders, are also conveniences that meet patients' expectations. They're like a digital front door to your practice, enabling patients to get in touch with you quickly.

Enhance Digital Patient Communication with a Leading Dental Software  

If you want to address your practice’s communication challenges, it’s clear that the answer is digital. Digital patient engagement tools are faster, more seamless, and meet today’s expectations.  

Fortunately, there’s a dental software solution that empowers your practice with cutting-edge digital tools. It also seamlessly integrates into your existing workflow and is easily adaptable for your staff.  

Here's how Doctible—a platform designed to maximize practice performance— can streamline operations, improve patient connections, and spark practice growth.  

Message Patients Securely with Patient Communicator  

Navigating communication within your practice is made simpler with Doctible’s Patient Communicator. This tool allows seamless, HIPAA-compliant two-way texting, enabling swift, direct communication without violating privacy standards.  

With the Patient Communicator, you can bypass the security risks that other communication methods present. For example, Google Voice or cell phone messaging, which can compromise patients’ privacy. Doctible allows you to communicate safely within the platform without worrying about fines.  

The Patient Communicator also allows you to easily track message histories, utilize custom templates, and automate patient communication. Plus, you communicate directly from your practice’s landline phone number. The system also supports multiple users and promptly alerts you when patients respond. This makes it an essential asset for your front desk team.  

With the Patient Communicator, you can confidently eliminate the game of phone tag. Not to mention, you'll be able to keep your wallet full without paying endless security fines.  

Automate and Customize Common Communications with Smart Messaging  

Manually managing patient communication is incredibly time-consuming. Updating patients about appointment changes, sending reminders, or delivering post-treatment instructions takes a lot of time out of the day.  

With Smart Messaging, your office can sort communications by appointment type, provider, or treatment room. You can also send custom, scheduled messages via email or text from the patient portal. From consent forms to aftercare instructions, Smart Messaging allows you to clearly and effectively communicate with patients. This creates a more efficient workflow and fosters better treatment outcomes.  

Reduce Missed Appointments with Automated Reminders and Traffic Alerts  

Though they seem minor, missed and late appointments create a domino effect in your practice. They disrupt your schedule and, ultimately, harm your revenue. But with Doctible’s features, you gain essential resources to mitigate no-shows and tardiness.  

Further, Doctible’s Patient Reminders aren’t just notifications. They’re comprehensive guides providing patients with all the necessary information about their upcoming appointments. Date and time, scheduled treatment, provider information, pre-appointment instructions—everything they need to know to be prepared upon arrival.  

Plus, you don't have to send reminder texts from an anonymous or generic number. You send them from a custom phone number that carries your office’s branding. With custom texts, you can strengthen your relationship with your patients and improve their adherence to scheduled appointments.  

Moreover, confirming appointments becomes a hassle-free task for your office staff. They can confirm appointments without making a single phone call, removing extra work while keeping your calendar full.  

Not to mention, Doctible’s Traffic Alerts go a step further to prevent disruptions in your calendar. They provide real-time traffic conditions and reminders, helping patients determine the correct departure time to arrive on time. You can also customize these alerts based on your practice’s preferred time frame, improving patients' arrival time.  

Effortlessly Manage Your Schedule with EasyFill and Smart Scheduler  

Last-minute cancellations can be a nightmare, especially when you attempt to fill empty slots quickly. However, EasyFill instantly notifies you when a patient cancels an appointment. It also sends a request to those waiting for an opening, simplifying the process of filling open gaps.  

Further enhancing your scheduling capabilities is the Smart Scheduler, which integrates seamlessly onto your website. The feature allows patients the convenience of booking online anytime, anywhere. No more time-consuming phone call scheduling—now, you can easily manage appointment requests digitally.  

Doctible: Your Dental Software Solution for Digital Patient Engagement  

In your dental practice, strong communication tools are an important asset to your operations and patient care delivery. However, implementing a communication strategy doesn't have to be tedious or complex.  

With Doctible, a leading dental patient engagement solution, you gain a strategy to streamline your office operations and enhance engagement. It merges innovative technology with a deep understanding of patient needs, allowing you to address everyday challenges and improve patient relationships.  

Doctible is essential to improving communication and efficiency in your dental practice, supporting your journey toward success in the digital era. Try Doctible today and experience how we make it easier to serve patients while maximizing practice performance.  


Biddle, C. (2021, April 12). Add a Patient Communication Platform to Practice Management Systems. Doctible.

Campbell, K. J., Blackburn, B. E., Erickson, J. A., Pelt, C. E., Anderson, L. A., Peters, C. L., & Gililland, J. M. (2021). Evaluating the Utility of Using Text Messages to Communicate with Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic. JAAOS Global Research & Reviews, 5(6), e21.00042.

Waylen, A. (2017). The Importance of Communication in Dentistry. University of Bristol, 44(8). Open Access.

February 2, 2024

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