Running the Perfect Dental Reactivation Campaign

By running the perfect dental reactivation campaign, a practice can get patients back into the chair all while increasing the patient experience.

There are endless reasons why patients avoid the dentist. High costs, dental phobias, bad experiences — every lapsed patient has their own story. Still, there is a huge population of patients who simply need a reminder and a little encouragement to make an appointment. This is where a strategic dental reactivation campaign comes into play.

Reactivation campaigns boost revenue and remind patients that their health matters to you — and there are plenty out there who need to be reminded. According to one patient survey, only 64 percent of adults have been to the dentist in the past year. That means 36 percent of adults could use a reactivation campaign.

And it isn’t just your patients who benefit. One study revealed that it is five times more expensive to acquire a new patient than it is to keep an old one. That’s a lot of revenue on the table, and the perfect reason to start reactivating. Tackling your entire inactive patient database can seem daunting, but fortunately most reactivation messages can be sent digitally. That means it’s easier than ever to hone in on your messaging and reach patients at no extra cost to you.

So, it’s time to put that database to work and revive your dental reactivation strategy! These tips and timeline will get you started.

Keys to Winning a Patient Back

Before blasting out emails and phone calls to hundreds of patients, get in the patient mindset to create your messaging. The goal of any dental reactivation campaign is to motivate or incentivize a current patient to make an appointment. There are several ways you can engage a patient, and get them back into the chair.

Be Personal

Add a patient’s name to an email subject line (as opposed to some generic email blast). Put your personal signature on traditional mail pieces. When on the phone, take the time to ask how your patient’s kids are. A small, personal touch goes a long way, and many patients will be drawn in by your exceptional customer service. Studies show that personalizing a promotional email can result in 29 percent higher open rates.

Offer a Discount

Sometimes patients need an incentive to get them moving, especially if other forms of recall have been ineffective. Offer cleanings at a discounted rate, a chance to win a gift card, or a free whitening treatment. Because these patients have missed a few appointments, odds are they will need more treatment than other patients. This makes the extra expense on your part worth it in the end.

Create a Sense of Urgency

Every touchpoint should have a clear call-to-action (CTA) that inspires patients to make an appointment. Additionally, if you send patients a special offer, always add an expiration date to ensure the patient takes action immediately.

Know Patients’ Appointment History

Knowing the type and frequency of previous services is crucial to reactivation. If you want to really up your game, segment out lapsed patients into categories (preventative vs. restorative, inactive for 18 months vs. 3-plus years) and get even more customized with your messaging.

Make Messages Interactive

Creating a clear CTA and nailing your message are sometimes only half the battle. Add dynamic content (buttons, animations, etc.) in your emails, or place scannable codes in mailings. These will make patients more likely to engage. Focus on the content quality of your messages, and your dental practice will reclaim a significant amount of revenue. It will also improve the patient experience. That said, it’s impossible to know the motives of each and every patients. For this reason, it’s imperative that you switch up your messaging through multiple mediums.

The 8-week Dental Reactivation Campaign

Unlike recall campaigns, which are structured around appointment dates, reactivation campaigns are more flexible. You have more freedom to stagger your messages and get a bit creative with when and how you want to send them.

Still, timing is everything. The ultimate goal, while planning the timing of your reactivation campaign, is to create a consistent flow of messages without fatiguing patients. This 8-week timeline will get your message across without turning off your patients. For this reason, while the campaign spans two months, you’re not communicating with patients every single week.

Week 1


  • Email
  • “We miss you” message
  • CTA: “Schedule your next appointment today!”

What to Include

  • Friendly messaging
  • Photo of office or staff
  • Phone number
  • Direct link to appointment request portal

Week 2


  • Email
  • Special offer or discount
  • CTA: “Use this promotion at your next appointment!”

What to Include

  • Discount code or coupon to bring into the office
  • Phone number
  • Direct link to appointment request portal
  • Clearly marked expiration date for promotion

Week 4


  • Paper mailing
  • Branded flyer promoting your practice
  • CTA: “Remember how great your teeth felt after your last appointment?!”

What to Include

  • Engaging photos of team smiling alongside patients
  • Patient testimonials
  • Benefits of going to the dentist regularly

Week 6


  • Phone call/Text message Request feedback pertaining to their last experience with your practice
  • CTA: “Schedule an appointment today” Be demonstrative and steadfast with why they need to come in for a visit

What to Include

  • Genuine inquiry/interest in reasons why the patient has not returned to your practice
  • Give option to take an online survey

Week 8


  • Email
  • “Time to make your next appointment!”
  • CTA: “Schedule an appointment now”

What to Include

  • Personalized PSA about the importance of cleanings
  • Direct link to appointment request portal

Most patients only need a little encouragement to get them back into the habit of good dental hygiene. Starting with these tips will get you up and running, but be sure to customize your campaign. That is the surest way to connect with your patients.

If you take the time to tailor your messaging and make your patients feel valuable, your reactivation campaign will keep revenue rolling in and improve the dental health of your patients!