What is Case Acceptance?

Every patient suffering from an oral condition that walks through the front door of your practice will be examined by a dentist, and then be presented with a treatment plan that will resolve the condition. That treatment plan is considered a case. Case acceptance is whether or not a patient actually follows through and attends the appointments necessary to treat the condition. A high level of case acceptance is absolutely essential for the financial success of your dental practice. Luckily, there are several key systems and protocols that can be implemented to increase the likelihood that patients will accept the recommended treatment and in today’s lesson we will discuss those.


If you were actually to track all of these things (the number of phone calls the front desk makes to patients, the number of appointments scheduled, the number of patients seen, the number of cases presented, etc.), you’d be surprised by the exactness of the pattern that appears.


You’ll find out almost every time, X number of phone calls = X number of patients scheduled.

X number of patients seen = X number of cases presented.

 X number of cases presented = X number of cases accepted and started.

 X number of cases accepted = X number of patients you’ve helped become healthy.


You could draw out a pyramid to illustrate this:



The more you increase case acceptance, the more people you help.


These days, it’s more difficult than ever to earn and hold a patient’s attention and priority for dental treatment, especially if they do not yet feel the symptoms associated with their conditions. This is the age of technology and information — everybody is bombarded with messages around them daily, about things to do, things to buy, people to see, and places to go. This makes it easy for patients to decide to put off dental treatment until it starts to hurt — which will mean that it’s more expensive and difficult to treat, or too late to treat at all. 


In order to understand how to achieve high case acceptance, you not only need to grasp the key strategies to use but also the key struggles that dental practices commonly have in this realm. By understanding why patients may reject treatment, you will be better equipped to understand how you can ensure that they accept it and prioritize their dental health.