Dentistry Huddle

6 Ways for Dentists to Leverage Text Messaging (2024 Update)

Americans love to text with nearly 26 billion messages exchanged each day. Effectively utilizing SMS text messaging at your dental practice can be a game changer. Here are 6 ways to get started.

6 Ways for Dentists to Leverage Text Messaging (2024 Update)

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Americans love to text with nearly 6 billion messages exchanged each day.

Effectively utilizing SMS text messaging at your dental practice can be a game changer. With open rates of 98% compared to 10-30% for email and millennials spending 3x as much time texting versus on the phone, text messaging is a practice growth tool you can't afford to forget.

Text messaging can not only be used to improve communication with your patients, but to reduce your appointment no-show rates, decrease accounts receivable collection cost, and enhance the patient experience.

Take a look at the 6 ways your dental practice can start leveraging the power of texting today:

Membership Plan Invitations

In case you haven’t heard, in-house membership plans are like Amazon Prime, but for your dental practice. What you may not know is that Amazon Prime users spend nearly twice as much as standard Amazon users. Your dental office is no different and can benefit from this membership effect.

Implementing an in-house membership program, however, won’t mean much if your patients don’t know about it.

Fortunately, practices can use text messaging to invite prospect patients to the program. With one-click from the Pearly Portal, a patient will receive a text with a link to the signup site where they can learn more about the plans and enroll online.

Membership plans are a win-win for both practice and patient, allowing uninsured patients to access comprehensive and affordable oral care coverage directly from your practice.

Appointment Reminders

Let’s face it, people are busy. With a million different items on their to-do list, a dental appointment can sometimes slip through the cracks.

Dental practices across the country are experiencing an average no-show rate of 15%, leaving chairs empty that lead to missed revenue opportunities.

Practices can use SMS appointment reminders to decrease no show rates. SMS appointment reminders are a convenient and effective way to ensure your practice keeps patients coming in. According to Digital Marketing Magazine, nearly 98% of text message are opened and read, so you can be confident that patients will receive and read your reminder, which will in turn help keep your chairs full.

Your practice is likely already using an appointment booking platform that offers SMS reminders so double-check to make sure you are using this valuable feature. If your practice management system doesn't offer this feature, there are many dental-specific 3rd party software solutions out there that will integrate nicely into your practice software.

Collect Past Due Balances

Calling patients to get them to pay their past due bills is not just annoying for patients, it’s a resource drain on your practice. Your teams time is valuable, and as such they should be spending time on the things that matter most.

Collecting accounts receivable in a timely matter is critical to the success of any dental practice, but the process needs to be efficient, effective, and provide a high quality experience for patients.

One solution to enhance your collections process, reduce cost-to-collect, and boost collection rate, is to add Pay-by-Text to your collections toolkit. Pearly’s billing & A/R automation feature empowers your patients to quickly and easily pay their balance from their mobile device. You simply send a request, which only takes 10-seconds, and your patients receive a text message with a link to the invoice that they can pay on the go.

Note that Pay-by-Text is not simply sending a reminder about a past due balance, which adds unnecessary steps for the patient. It is a comprehensive product that facilities the full payment transaction so your practice gets paid.

Run Promotions

A major benefit of utilizing SMS to communicate is timing.

Did you know that, 90% of people open and read a text message within 3 minutes receiving it? With the knowledge that patients are going to be opening and reading your messages within minutes of sending, your practice has an incredible opportunity to provide timely and relevant information to your patients.

Planning on running a teeth whitening promotion to current patients? Send out a text message to all current patients. Trying to reengage inactive patients? Shoot off a text about your new membership program and how they can start saving today!

Make sure that your patients have opted-in to receive messages and that your practice is careful to never venture into spam territory. Everyone hates spam so only send relevant messages to the right person.

Feedback & Review Requests

We all know that word of mouth and personal referrals are important, but did you know that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, according to BrightLocal?

You should take pride in the positive relationships you’ve built with your patients. Sending a post-appointment text message with a link to leave a review on Facebook, Google, Yelp, or any other review platform is a simple and effective method for happy patients to share their experiences and leave positive reviews for your practice, which ultimately will help lead to new business.

Online reviews are crucial for attracting new business, so it’s important you are taking the proper steps to collect reviews from your happy patients to boost your rating.

Birthday & Anniversary Messages

Maintaining high patient recall is a key issue that practices continue to struggle with. Apart from offering stellar treatment, practices that have the highest recall rates are doing everything they can to ensure patients keep coming back for treatment.

While the "you are due for treatment" messaging can get a bit stale, sending a text to wish a patient happy birthday or anniversary can go a long way.

Everyone loves getting messages on their birthday, so tapping into this joyous time can help foster goodwill towards your practice. For loyal patients that have been coming in to your practice for over a year, patient anniversary messages are a great way to show your appreciation for their business.

Importantly, birthday and anniversary messages are a way to engage your patients without selling them anything. Being appreciative and helpful to patients leads to long-term loyalty.


Text messaging is an easy solution that your practice should be using to increase new patients, and keep current patients coming back.

If you have any questions about the how your practice should be utilizing text messaging, click here to speak with a product expert from the Pearly team.

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