Should Your Clinic Offer New Patient Dental Specials?


According to the American Dental Association, up to 100 million people in the U.S. don’t see a dentist yearly.

Unfortunately, failure to go for dental visits leads to preventable oral diseases. These include bad breath, tooth sensitivity, cavities, and gum disease, to name a few. Moreover, it can result in tooth loss, a problem that affects 120 million Americans.

As a dentist, you can help mitigate such oral woes by offering each new patient dental specials.

But what exactly are these “special” programs, and why consider offering them? What about their drawbacks?

In this guide, we’ll go over the basics of dental offers marketed toward new patients. So, read on to learn what they are, why you should offer them, their drawbacks, and how to make them work.  

What Is a New Patient Special?

At its core, a new patient special is a promotional offer designed to attract more patients. It can be a free item, such as a hygiene kit, or a free or discounted service, such as dental prophylaxis. It can also be a packaged deal of several treatments offered together at a lower rate.

Why Offer New Patient Dental Specials?

The latest report reveals that only 186,426 dentists in the U.S. are professionally active as of May 2022. That brings the ratio to 56 dentists per 100,000 people in the country. If divided equally, that translates to approximately 1,785 patients per dentist.

The thing is, those figures vary widely across states. For example, the same report shows that California is home to 29,466 dentists, while Wyoming has only 265.

So, competition is the top concern if your dental practice is in a crowded area like the Golden State. In less populated areas, the primary issue is the number of potential new dental patients.

In either case, new patient specials can work as marketing and acquisition strategies. One reason they can be effective is that dental care costs are some of the top reasons people don’t visit a dentist. Indeed, a study found that about 13% forego dental care due to the associated costs.

So, when patients learn about your money-saving offers, they’re more likely to want to visit you. Once they do, educate them about the benefits of the treatments to make them more inclined to sign up. And if they’re happy with your dental clinic services, odds are, they’ll refer you to family and friends.

What Are Examples of New Patient Specials?

Package deals can entice new dental patients because they can get more services for less. The exact components depend on the treatments you specialize in, but here are some ideas:

  • Comprehensive dental exam, x-ray, and cleaning
  • A dental check-up, prophylaxis, and scaling
  • Dental cleaning, whitening, and a free follow-up check-up

You can also make the deals more attractive by listing the price next to each package. Then, enumerate the cost of each service included in the offer below the headline. You can then highlight the cost difference and the savings patients can get.

Another example of a new dental patient special is an in-house plan. It’s like a membership that lets patients enjoy services at discounted rates. In exchange, they pay a monthly or yearly fee.

What About Their Potential Drawbacks?

One of the pitfalls of new patient specials is that they may drive loads of new patients to your clinic. That doesn’t sound bad at all, and it’s not, as long as your practice has enough personnel to attend to all of them. If not, you and your staff may be unable to withstand the pressure of dealing with too many patients.

Another drawback is that a new patient special may make you give away more than what your budget can handle. So while it can pay off in the long run, you must still monitor your current finances.

Lastly, a sudden surge in new patients often results in longer work hours. That can significantly affect your and your staff members’ health and well-being. If you’re not careful, all that new business can drive your people away.

How to Make New Patient Specials a Success

First, talk to your staff to see if they’re ready for longer work hours to attend to a potential spike in new patients. If they are, create a schedule that accounts for possible overtime. Also, ensure everyone agrees to have an OT shift.

After that, determine how many patients your clinic can realistically accommodate each day. In addition, ensure you factor in how much free stuff or service you can give away and still be able to keep the lights on.

Once you have those figures, work out the limitations of your specials. For example, you can say that the promotion only applies to the first 50 new patients. You can also indicate specific dates, such as “from June XX, XXXX to July XX, XXXX.”

Next, consider traditional and digital marketing for dentistry to promote your offers. Print ads are examples of the former, such as fliers, brochures, and classified ads. As for the latter, you can go for search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC), or social media.

Finally, don’t forget to track the results of each of your new patient specials. Doing so allows you to confirm which ones are working and those that aren’t. You can then drop those that aren’t and use the ones that are in your future patient acquisition tactics.

Time to Offer New Patient Specials

And there you have it, the ultimate guide on the whats, whys, pros, and cons of new patient dental specials. Now you know they can be effective ways to attract new patients. However, you also learned they could be costly, especially if there’s inadequate planning.

So, before offering such deals, talk to your staff first and review your clinic’s finances. That can help determine how many new patients your practice and budget can handle.

About the author

Add Comment

By Maelyn

Get in touch

Content and images available on this website is supplied by contributors. As such we do not hold or accept liability for the content, views or references used. For any complaints please contact Use of this website signifies your agreement to our terms of use. We do our best to ensure that all information on the Website is accurate. If you find any inaccurate information on the Website please us know by sending an email to and we will correct it, where we agree, as soon as practicable. We do not accept liability for any user-generated or user submitted content – if there are any copyright violations please notify us at – any media used will be removed providing proof of content ownership can be provided. For any DMCA requests under the digital millennium copyright act
Please contact: with the subject DMCA Request.