The Importance of Patient Retention in Pediatric Dentistry


Did you know your kiddos should go to the dentist every six months? It’s true! Regular cleanings keep little one’s teeth healthy and instill lasting habits that prepare them for being a grown-up. Not to mention, good oral hygiene from a young age translates to healthier adulthood and high self-esteem. That glowing grin goes a long way! That’s why it’s so important to keep pediatric patients coming back to your practice. Patient retention for kids helps your practice, parents, and children. Read on for some strategies for success. 

It’s no surprise that children can be one of the most challenging demographics to convince that the dentist isn’t all that bad. But they truly benefit from regular visits to keep their gums and teeth healthy and to keep an eye on any developing issues that might require more specialized care. Early dental care goes a long way, so focus your efforts on pediatric patient retention, parent communication, and more to keep the kids coming back. When they feel safe, heard, and cared for, you will have gained a patient for life—or at the very least until they move away for college! Here’s how to boost pediatric patient retention. 


Make your practice a happy place

New experiences can be nerve-wracking for children and their parents alike. It’s not unusual for your pediatric patients and their guardians to feel some apprehension during visits. Encourage parents to talk to their children about the visit in a positive and exciting way. Model that same language when it comes to providing care. Instead of saying something hurts or is scary, use words like “brave” and “strong.” 


Explaining what you are doing can also help ease anxiety. Pediatric dentists can provide books and other media that portray a visit in an age-appropriate and exciting way. Suggest to parents that they read the same material at home. That way, when everyone gets to your practice, it feels familiar and safe. In that same spirit, allowing children to bring a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or toy to have during a cleaning or more complicated procedure provides a positive and natural outlet for any worries.

A little bit of distraction never hurt, either! Consider a TV with kid-friendly content, games, or even just music. Other helpful media for while they’re waiting could include magazines, toys, puzzles, and anything else appealing to play with. By making your space somewhere they want to visit, you’ll grow your patient retention rates and keep kids coming back. 


Importance of continued care

Patient retention is essential for pediatric dentists because it establishes good habits and sets children up for healthy and happy teeth in the future. Begin by suggesting that parents familiarize their children with regular brushing and flossing from a young age. Making dental care a part of their twice-daily routine in the morning and before bedtime helps kids feel comfortable when they visit your practice. It’s not so scary after all! Just like the bathroom at home.

Continued and sustained efforts to make oral hygiene a part of their lives will translate to easier, calmer cleaning sessions. Any reluctance to see the dentist will fade away when it feels familiar. This familitarity grows patient retention. And, as a care provider, returning patients means growth for your practice and an ability for your team to better understand each pediatric patient’s unique needs.

When you see them every six months, you can monitor their developing teeth, note any ongoing issues, and suggest changes. By being attentive, you also help busy parents feel better about something they may not know that much about, another win for patient retention. Plus, knowing that their kid’s dental care is in good hands takes another worry off their shoulders. 


Having healthy teeth matters in the long run

Studies show that tooth decay is the “most common chronic disease among children.” 

And it’s entirely preventable! Avoiding cavities and having healthy teeth set kids up with more than just a bright smile. Researchers agree that poor dental care can be linked to cardiovascular events in older adults. That’s why getting kids started early with going to the dentist is so important. 

It will set them up for success later in life because it’s a good indicator of underlying health issues. And, having beautiful teeth boosts confidence! In addition, regular dental care for kids lowers the likelihood that they and their parents will have to undergo a costly visit to the emergency room for pain or other underlying issues that weren’t discovered during a routine check-up.


Communication is key

Establishing a transparent and open line of communication with parents and your pediatric patients helps keep everyone relaxed and ready for dental work. Dental work can be complicated, so explaining technical details in layperson’s terms can boost pediatric patient retention. When mom and dad know what’s happening, they will be ready to bring their kids back to your practice. 

Communication extends beyond telling everyone what is happening next. Be an active and attentive listener. By maintaining eye contact, having emphatic body language, and answering questions, you help both kids and their parents feel confident in your care. This even extends to appointment reminders, easy scheduling, and online chat features provided by Intiveo’s software. Simply put, make it a breeze for parents to get their kids into your practice. And, when they get old enough, pediatric patients can communicate directly with your staff using Intiveo’s technology. We’re here to help build relationships and responsibility from everyone’s first visit.


Fish for feedback!

Prompt parents and their kids to tell you what they liked and what could be improved using automated engagement reminders. Feedback surveys help your team grow and let families know that you care about what they think. You can even ask that they post positive feedback on public social media platforms. This grows your practice by attracting more business—everyone reads reviews these days, and Intiveo’s software makes it straightforward for your clients to big you up! 

Reviews regarding what you can change are also welcome internally. That way, you know how to make anxious kids feel cool about coming to your practice next time. With relaxation comes patient retention. 


Reward all that hard work!

Reinforce your role as a positive force in children’s and parents’ lives. Make a visit to your practice something to look forward to and the best part of everyone’s day. The promise of a treat at the end of a cleaning or procedure can keep a kid distracted and happy, all in a good way. When you pull out a basket of bouncy balls, finger puppets, stickers, or even some sugar-free candy for later, kids will want to keep coming back. It also offers something for parents to promise to reluctant kids. When they know they get a little present, they will want to come back time and again!


It’s all achievable.

Retaining your pediatric patients can happen without aches and pains. Through clear communication, soliciting feedback, making friends with families, and simplifying the scheduling process, you can successfully see child patients grow (quite literally!). You also establish yourself as a reliable and easy-to-access team. Intiveo is here for all of that. From easing patient engagement through software to supporting your specialized needs, we make it straightforward to provide pediatric dentistry. That means you can pay less attention to paperwork and admin duties and more to what really matters—the kiddos in your care. Providing a positive experience despite any reluctance is well within your reach!

Book a meeting with Intiveo and learn more about improving your parent’s and pediatric patient’s experiences!