Three Things to Consider When You Sense Practice Performance is "Off"

By Roger P. Levin, DDS

waiting room

When something isn't right in your practice you can usually tell. Even if you haven’t gotten a chance to crunch the numbers, more free time in your schedule or less people in the waiting room usually means there’s a dip in production. So what do you do when you begin to sense that your orthodontic practice isn’t performing well? Don’t wait; take action immediately by looking at these three things:

  1. Production. As a consulting firm that specializes in increasing orthodontic practice production, we know that this is the single most important metric for gaining insights into the practice. If production is flat or down, you should immediately begin to identify why. Is it fewer new patients, a lower close rate, an increase in new patient no-shows, an increase in overall no-shows, an increase in overdue debonds clogging up the schedule, or a decrease in marketing planning? Any or all of these may be contributing to a production downturn and a production analysis should be performed immediately.

  2. The marketing program. Orthodontics has become incredibly competitive and will continue to be so just like in most businesses. The winners will be the practices that understand that they need to build marketing in five key focal areas—patients, parents, social media, referring doctors, and the community. Each of these areas should be assessed to determine where referrals are coming from, which areas are up or down in referrals, and how to stimulate additional growth in each or all of the five areas.

  3. Your treatment coordinator. There was a time when there were so many new patients that even a moderate or low close rate didn’t matter. Today, an increase in “ortho shoppers” and a moderate close rate will cause most orthodontic practices to experience decline. Treatment coordinators are the key people when it comes to closing cases, so they must be on top of their game.

If your practice performance is “off,” it can almost always be attributed to one of these three issues. Study these areas to make a quick assessment of what may be going wrong with your practice so you can start to turn things around.

Roger P. Levin, DDS is the CEO and Founder of Levin Group, a leading practice management consulting firm that has worked with over 30,000 practices to increase production. A recognized expert on dental practice management and marketing, he has written 67 books and over 4,000 articles and regularly presents seminars in the U.S. and around the world. To contact Dr. Levin or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of he Day, visit or email

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