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How much is worth a new dental patient?

To evaluate the profitability of your promotional expenses, you need to know how much a new patient is worth to you. For example, if you consider that a new patient is worth 500$ and you invest 5000$ in a postcard campaign, you need to add more than 10 new patients to consider the campaign a success.

The value of a new patient depends on the dental services offered, the number of years that you will keep the patient and the number of referrals that will be generated. Read on to learn how to determine the value of a new patient for your clinic.

Customer lifetime value concept

The lifetime value of a customer is a marketing concept that aims to assess the additional profits that will be generated by an additional client over many years. To determine its value, we must consider the following factors:

  • The lifetime income generated by the new customer;
  • The rate of profitability of the products and services;
  • The number of customer who will be referred by the new customer.

Examples of patient lifetime value

Consider a hypothetical general dentist. Assume the following data: an average annual revenue per patient of $260, an average age for active patient files of 6 years, a profit margin of 35% and 1 patient referred. For this general dentist, the lifetime value of a new patient is $1,092 or $260 x 6 x 35% x (1 + 1).

For some dental services such as orthodontics, the calculation is slightly different because the patient only needs your services once. It is then necessary to adjust the equation a little bit. Take the example of a fictional orthodontist with an average fee of $ 5,000, a profit margin of 30% and an average of 1.2 referrals from current patients. For this orthodontist, a new patient would have a lifetime value $3,300 or $5,000 x 30% x (1 + 1.2).

Your profit margin

The profit margin for dental services is between 20% and 35%. If you have a lot of technology, you're probably closer to 20%, but these investments allow you to generate more revenue. See your accountant to determine the rate most appropriate to your situation.

The number of patients who will be referred by the new patient

To correctly determine the value of a new patient, you must also consider that this patient will likely refer other patients. These referrals increase the value of each new patient.

Value of dental emergency patients

Often, patients seen in an emergency mode go back to their regular dentist. In this scenario, the calculation method must consider the likelihood of converting that visitor into a regular patient. Assuming that 10% of emergencies become regular patients, the fictional general dentist mentioned earlier would compute the lifetime value of emergency patients like this: $239 or $130 for the emergency visit + $260 x 6 x 35% x (1 + 1) * 10%.

Alternative valuation method

Another way to estimate the value of a new patient is to ask yourself how you would be willing to “sell” one of your patients to another dentist if the choice was done randomly. Would you be willing to "sell" a patient for less than $400? Most likely, you would ask more than that.


With the help of your accountant, do the exercise of calculating the lifetime value of your patients. You will be surprised at how high it is. Then use this information to assess the profitability of each of your promotional efforts. This will help you determine the promotional efforts that should be kept or abandoned.

This blog is for dentists and orthodontists who wish to discover the best pratices in dental web marketing for patient acquisition.

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Marketing Clinique Dentaire
1445 des Mouettes,
Longueuil, Quebec, Canada

 (450) 647-0652

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