In the world of real estate, it is all about location, location, location. In the world of increasing orthodontic production, the saying would be measure, measure, measure. It’s all in the data. Unfortunately, most orthodontists only know a few things about their practice. To prove the point, see if you can easily answer these three questions:

  • How many new patients call your practice every month and never schedule?
  • How many new patients schedule a consult and do not show up?
  • How many new patients have a consult, do not accept at that point but later accept treatment on follow-up?

You may be able to dig around and get the answers to these questions, but according to the Levin Group Data Center, most orthodontists do not automatically know these answers. And yet these are critical questions in regard to practice performance.

Here are the 4 top ways to measure your practice.

1. Production 

The truth is the production is the most important number to know in terms of gaining insight into the practice. Not just the number, but more importantly the direction. If production is up, you need to know exactly why. Likewise, if it is down.

2. Referrals

The lifeblood of any orthodontic practice is referrals. It really doesn’t matter what else you do. You can have the greatest clinical treatment in the world, but if you don’t have enough referrals, you won’t have enough starts. If you don’t have enough starts, you won’t have enough production. If you don’t have enough production, you won’t have enough profit, and if you don’t have enough profit, you won’t have enough income. You get the idea. Track every referral. In this case, the more data the better.

READ MORE: 3 ways to avoid a production decline when your orthodontic practice is not meeting performance targets

3. Starts

The three questions above all fall under this category. Measure your starts every single day. Your treatment coordinator needs to have a target number that you need to track. TCs are like athletes. They play a sport every day called “closing the cases and getting the starts.” They won’t win every time, but with the right training they can win most of the time. Tracking their performance will only make them better.

4. Overdue Debonds 

As surprising as it sounds, this is a critical data point. Simply stated, an overdue debond is pure overhead expense. Every time this patient is seen, treated or any administrative functions take place, the practice is literally losing money.

Orthodontics is a complex business with many parts and pieces. Most of the parts and pieces will function just fine as long as the key performance indicators are in line. The only way to know is to track your numbers. OP

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 orthodontic practice management and marketing, he has written 67 books and over 4,000 articles and regularly presents seminars in the United States and around the world. To contact Levin or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Ortho Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit or email [email protected].


New Levin Group Program

We are pleased to announce the launch of the New Levin Group Orthodontic Marketing Program. This breakthrough program includes FIVE FOCUS AREAS—Patients, Parents, Social Media, Referring Doctors, and the Community. 

Levin Group has been the leading orthodontic management and marketing consulting firm since 1985. We have worked with thousands of orthodontic practices. 

If you would like to have a 30-minute discussion about your unique practice situation and how the New Levin Group Orthodontic Marketing Program can benefit you, please visit or contact Angela Pickett at [email protected]