Dental marketing tips for patient reactivation

Why is patient reactivation important?  Dental practices know that retaining an existing patient is less expensive than finding new ones. However, only a few dentists use marketing to reactivate patients. Patient reactivation means reaching out to patients you haven’t seen in a while–or trying to win back lost patients. It can be an underutilized dental […]

Two Pain-Free Dental Marketing team members working on laptop and talking on the phone.

Why is patient reactivation important? 

Dental practices know that retaining an existing patient is less expensive than finding new ones. However, only a few dentists use marketing to reactivate patients. Patient reactivation means reaching out to patients you haven’t seen in a while–or trying to win back lost patients. It can be an underutilized dental marketing strategy, and we are here to help you perfect it!

This tutorial was originally published in The Marketing Box by Pain-Free Dental Marketing. Visit The Marketing Box to check out more dental marketing tips and tutorials.

Benefits of patient reactivation campaigns 

There are many benefits to patient reactivation campaigns. Here are a few: 

  • Simplicity: Marketing to former or existing them is a bit simpler because you already know each other! You have their information already, and they’re acquainted with your practice
  • Feedback: You should never see a lost patient as a burden, but, rather, an opportunity to improve your practice and possibly  to gain them back.
  • Better serve existing patients: In addition to gaining back patients you’ve lost, patient reactivation campaigns are also a great way to check up on patients that haven’t been to your dental practice in a while and might need your services. 

Remember, losing a patient and reactivating a patient are two different things. We are going to provide language for both scenarios.


How To Reactivate A Patient 

  • Your reactivation campaign might be on the phone, via email, or both. Below we will provide you with email templates and a call script. 
  • Reactivation should happen every 3 or 6 months. This ensures you do not irritate your patients, but they also don’t forget about you! 
  • Remember: the best approach is to remind patients why it’s so important to visit the dentist regularly–and what could happen if they don’t.

Patient reactivation campaign ideas

Use the scripts below to reactivate patients using email or phone calls.  

Two pain free dental marketing team members typing on laptop

Reactivate Patients Via Email: Customizable Email Templates

Template 1 – Silly/Funny Email

Dear <Patient Name>,

The <practice name> team was just wondering how your teeth are doing? We haven’t seen them in a while and it just doesn’t feel the same around here anymore. We all know that long-distance relationships are the worst and that’s why we want you to pop in as soon as possible. It’s been 6 months! We want to pamper your teeth and give them the royal service they deserve. Taking care of your teeth is super important and you should never wait until it’s too late!

Be sure to book an appointment via this link (add a link here to the website page) and we’ll be reunited in no time!

Kind regards,

<Practice Name>

Template 2 – Serious Email

Dear <Patient Name>,

We hope you are doing well!

Our calendar shows that we haven’t seen you in 6 months. We would just like to remind you how important it is to visit the dentist at least once a year to make sure you keep your oral health where it should be. 

Remember, a general cleaning is much less expensive than needing actual work done. We are reaching out to make sure you don’t wait until it’s too late. 

If you would like to book an appointment we would love to see you. Just click this link (add a link to the website page) and your teeth will be thanking you in no time!

Kind regards,

<Practice Name>

These are simply examples. Adjust the tone and language to fit your brand. 

Depending on your brand, you can go with a happy/silly email or something a little more serious. The important thing to remember is that you want to stand out and be personal. Make an impression!

Reactivate patients on the phone

Pain free team member talking on the phone

Phone Call Script

Hi there,  <Patient Name>

This is <Name> from <Practice Name>. How are you doing today?

We’ve noticed that you have not been for a check-up in over <number> months.  We just wanted to give you a call and check-in to make sure that both you and your teeth are still healthy and see whether you would like to schedule your next appointment.

If they are healthy, but don’t want to schedule an appointment: 

  • If it has been more than 8 months, ask if they will still be using your dental practice in the future or if they have found a new dentist. 
  • If they haven’t found a new dentist and are uninterested in booking an appointment now, continue with the next line. 
  • If they do have a new dentist, try to get more information. Why did they change providers? Always remember that it is critical to know the “why” of your patients’ inactivity to devise the “how” of your reactivation strategy. 

We always encourage our patients to schedule regular check ups and cleanings. They help prevent more serious dental problems down the road. I’d love it if we could get that appointment in our schedule now. 

Give the patient scheduling options:

  • Do you prefer mornings or afternoons? 
  • Do you like x day of the week or y day of the week? 
  • We will still send you a notification by email or text before just to remind you of your appointment.

This helps patients with busy schedules and takes some of the friction out of booking the appointment.  Providing options is better than, “We can make the appointment and you can always cancel it if you are no longer available.”  The latter creates the idea that canceling the appointment is not a big deal. It might even make the patient more likely to do so. If they need to cancel or move the appointment they will, it’s not up to you to remind them they can.

Thank you for your time! We are excited to see you, <Patient Name>!

Have a great day,



Why We Lose Dental Patients (And What To Do About It)

A competitor promising better prices. Often patients move to a different dental practice simply because they can no longer afford your services. We don’t expect you to lower your price for every patient who says you’re too expensive, but if you can work out a cost structure that means the difference between keeping or losing a patient, you should try.

The idea here is to make the patient feel special. E.g., “You know, we don’t usually do this, but we really want to keep you as a patient, and if that means giving you a 10% discount then I’d be happy to.” There should be a negotiation process to make sure both sides are happy. You are more likely to regain a patient if you show them you are trying to meet their needs.

Your practice failed to deliver what the patient had expected. The best way to solve this is by asking the patient what their experience was and how your office fell short. Use open communication and ensure the patient feels they were heard. How can you rebuild trust and assure the next time will be different? The most important thing is to make yourself appealing enough to give you a second chance. 

Staff did not treat them in a friendly manner. This is probably the easiest problem to fix. If somebody has a bad experience because one of your staff members did not treat them properly, the best thing to do is swallow your pride as a team, apologize, and ask the patient what you can do to regain their trust. Remember, you exist as a dental practice to serve the patient and keep them happy. With your brand reputation on the line, treat every patient as if they are your only one.

Work on patient reactivation with Pain-Free

If you’re interested in reactivating patients and bringing new patients to your practice, contact us. We would love to help create a dental marketing strategy that fits your needs.