By Roger P. Levin, DDS

The presentation’s over. It seemed to go well, but the mother didn’t accept treatment for her daughter, saying she had to “think about it” as she left the office. Case closed? Probably not, but it will be very soon unless the practice takes action… in the form of follow-up.

Making Follow-Up Part of the Process

Now that ortho shopping has become commonplace and competition has increased, few orthodontic practices can afford to give up on prospective patients so easily. Although sometimes saying “I’ll think about it” is a polite way of saying “No,” it more often signifies uncertainty or other factors that may not be apparent to the treatment coordinator (TC) or orthodontist. Possible reasons include:

  • Concern about the cost
  • Need to speak to a spouse
  • Existing appointment at another practice
  • Confusion about treatment

All such cases call for follow-up the day after the presentation. The TC, who bears primary responsibility for presentations and case acceptance, should also ensure timely, effective follow-up on these unclosed cases… including when the doctor plays a major role in the process.

Using the Doctor’s “Star Power”

Just as the TC structures presentations to build up to the arrival of the doctor in the consult room, follow-up should also rely on the professional stature of the orthodontist. As impressive and persuasive as a follow-up call from the TC will be, one from the doctor will be much more powerful. This call, made in the early evening, could be pre-arranged by the TC or front desk coordinator, or it could come as a surprise to the parents or adult patients.

The TC can also offer a second consult—for example, to discuss treatment with both parents, or further explain treatment—with the doctor.

Whether over the phone or in-person, follow-up by the doctor is a potent sales technique that can turn “Maybe” into “Yes” in many cases.


To learn about how to run a more successful practice, directly from Roger P. Levin, DDS, take one of his ortho seminars. Choose from a list of available dates and locations at