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3 ways to avoid a drop in dental collections during the holidays

December 7th, 2021 | 4 min. read

3 ways to avoid a drop in dental collections during the holidays Blog Feature

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As a dentist, it’s pretty common to have your dental practice closed for up to two weeks around December and early January. Your employees may be traveling; you want everyone to enjoy their holiday, and you have your own plans as well. You’re considering which days to be closed, or if you want to be closed the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. 

As an outsourced dental billing company, we recommend keeping your dental practice open for at least a few days during the holidays. Through the years, we’ve seen offices miss out on a prime revenue opportunity because they were closed just when patients are looking to schedule procedures before the end of the year. At the same time, you’ve worked hard all year. We get it. You want to give yourselves some well-deserved time off. 

Here’s why it might be a smart idea to keep your practice open for at least a few days during the holidays. 

The number of patients you see and your gross production are usually well above average in December. Your patients finally have the time off from work, that they need to be able to schedule dental appointments, and they want to use the remainder of their insurance benefits. 

Those with kids back town from school need to make appointments for them too. If you’re closed, this is a lot of profit you could be turning away. Learn how this will help your practice optimize its opportunities for revenue.

1. Schedule those patients who finally have time available for dental care 

Let’s face it, no one is thrilled to go to the dentist as a patient. It’s also a challenge to carve out time for an appointment, even if it only takes an hour or so. Very few people are willing to give up vacation time during the summer for dental procedures. Throw a job and some kids into the mix, and it feels impossible to make time for the dentist! 

However, once winter holidays roll around and things are slowing down, there finally seems to be some time for your patients to come in. They might look at their calendar and think “Wow, I have a few free days, I should squeeze in that dental appointment I’ve been putting off.” Boom! An appointment is booked. Well, if you’re open it will be booked.

Wait, my dental team and I deserve time off of work too, don’t we?

We’re not recommending that everyone puts work before family, friends, and holidays. Break time is special, and everyone deserves some time off to focus on their personal lives during the holidays. We aren’t telling you to be open on Christmas or New Year’s Day, but we are recommending being open a few days leading up to and between these holidays. 

You might consider having special holiday hours where you’re only open half of those days. It’s better than not being open at all! It’s simply a way to be strategic about when you’re scheduling these appointments, knowing your patients will have more time that they are willing to use to get the dental care they need. 


2. Help patients use their annual maximums before the new year

Another great reason to stay open for a few days during the holidays is to give your patients a chance to spend all of their insurance benefits before the new year. 

Every insurance plan has a maximum total amount that the plan will pay to cover procedures throughout the year. Once the year ends and January 1st hits, the unspent money is gone and the new annual maximum is renewed. Very few patients max out their benefits, so they have to act or the money goes unused. They don’t get the benefit of your care, and they can’t carry the unspent amount over into the next year. 

Not everyone knows this, so explaining it to your patients can be a huge help to them financially. 

It can also help you book a few appointments before the new year and have your production numbers be higher than you thought they’d be, rounding out the year. This can only happen if you plan to have availability during those holiday weeks, though. 

3. See your patient’s children who are going to be home during the holidays and need dental care 

We’re not sure of the rhyme or reason, but most college kids continue to see their hometown dentists instead of finding a dentist in their college town. The holidays are the best time for them to see their hometown dentist because they are in town for a few weeks. 

Keeping a few days open during the week of Christmas and the new year can give these parents a chance to get their kids to see the dentist without hearing the excuse that “I don’t have time to drive home for that!” I say this from the experience of being a college student at one time. 

Learn how outsourcing your dental billing helps you increase your profit, even if you’re a pediatric dental practice

Prepare to stay open: optimize your revenue possibilities and make patients happy

As you consider what your holiday hours are going to look like, consider your numbers and where you want to be. If you see some room for improvement, stay open a few days during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, then enjoy the long weekends of Christmas and New Year’s Day with your friends and family. 

Even if it is only for half of the day for a few days, it will give your patients a chance to utilize their free time to catch up on appointments, maximize their benefits and get their kids in the chair. 

Not to mention, you can earn some additional revenue before you close out your fiscal year. Don’t miss out on valuable revenue, especially when patients are most willing to come into your office. Dental ClaimSupport is here to help during the holidays as well, making sure to send your claims, collect and post your payments while you sip some eggnog or champagne. 

Learn more about how to help your patients stay happy and loyal in our Learning Center article, “Do you know the top 5 billing reasons your dental patients will quit your practice?”

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