5 Best Practices to Retain the Patients in Your New Acquisition

Implementing best practices can make a substantial difference in helping retain the patients in your new acquisition and existing team loyalty and trust throughout the transition.

By: Dr. David Rice

Buying a dental practice is the biggest financial decision you’ll make as a young dentist.

Do it well, and it will fuel your future. Buy it and lose 30% of the patients, and it will slow down your dream house, car, vacations, and life. 

With that, patients are not just people you take care of; they’re an integral part of your new practice’s success.

In this article, we will explore 5 best practices to retain patients after you’ve taken the leap.

1. Proactive and Transparent Communication

Effective communication is the cornerstone of a successful dental practice transition. From the moment a seller decides to sell and you decide to buy, meaning you have a letter of intent, clear and transparent communication with patients and team is key. PS – sellers are not going to love what I just said. You need to negotiate for it.

Click here if you want to chat on how to help them see the light.

We need the seller to inform patients about the upcoming changes. More importantly, we need the seller to share that you are the dentist they’ve been waiting for all these years to carry the torch.

Bonus when the seller helps you by sharing all the improvements he or she wanted to make, that will now happen with your help.

We need the seller to introduce you to patients and the community. Have an open house. Spend some time in the practice and get to know the patients and the team. And, this is key, make it easy for patients to express concerns they may have about the transition. As they say, people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

2. Personalized Patient Engagement

Building a personal connection between you and the patients is vital. The seller and the existing team can be incredibly helpful with this.

They know everyone. They know how they are connected to the community and how they are connected to each other. Invest the time. It will pay you back 100 fold.

Encourage the seller to work with you on a letter to every patient. Make it personal. Speak to who you are, your family, your ties to the community, and your commitment to give them the same excellent care and service they’re accustomed to getting.

Then share why you’re the right dentist for their health, your commitment to continuing education, and your commitment to reinvesting in the practice to best serve them.

Utilize social media and the practice’s website. Share the journey – yours – the team’s – and the seller’s. This is an easy way to humanize you and show them you are all connected. Aka, just because the seller is selling, doesn’t mean the world gets turned upside down.

3. Emphasize Continuity of Care

Change is hard for most patients. They’re going to worry about their dentist leaving. They’ll worry about you as their new dentist. Will they like you and what other changes will happen?

Stabilization and change reduction is key. Letting them know this is even more key. Retaining the team, getting well-acquainted with their existing treatment plans and needs, and minimizing big shifts in the process will help.

When immediate changes are needed, clearly communicate and lean on the existing team to help you share. They have strong relationships already. Leverage them.

4. Retain Key Team Members

The role of the team cannot be overstated. Patients often form strong connections with their hygienist, their favorite assistant, and their favorite business team member. Retaining key team members during the transition is a strategic move I highly recommend.

I’ve watched too many new owners feel like they needed to clean house and build their own team. Why not, build your vision instead?

Build relationships with the existing team and share the amazing places you’re going to bring them. People are people and bad apples aside, your best bet is to inspire the existing team to join you in levelling up the practice they know and love.

5. Ensure Accessibility and Convenience

You know what’s top on every patient’s want list? For you and I to be convenient. Minimizing disruptions to scheduling, the appointment process, and overall access to care is key for you and me when we want top retention post-transition.

Make your scheduling and appointment process as seamless as possible. If there are changes to office hours or appointment procedures, clearly communicate it as far in advance as you can. And I know implementing online scheduling feels like you’re giving up control.

There are ways to overcome that fear and guide patients where we want them. Reach out if you need help.

Provide multiple channels for patients to access information. This includes updates on your website, social media (know where your patients hang out – don’t blindly follow advice), and traditional methods such as practice newsletters and quality in-office communication from you and your team.

Ensure that patients can easily reach the practice for questions or concerns. Automation and outsourcing isn’t your best plan. At least in the beginning.

Maintain continuity with phone numbers, email addresses, and the key team members who patients look to. 


Successfully retaining patients during your dental practice transition requires a strategic process and the right people.

By prioritizing clear communication, personal engagement, continuity of care, team retention, and accessibility, you can navigate the complexities that come with your new acquisition. By working with the seller on the front end, you can simplify much of the above.

Friends, that’s the goodwill you’re paying for. If the seller and their broker aren’t on board to help, it’s okay. It’s just not okay to pay the full price. 

Don’t marry a deal before it happens the way you’d like it to happen. Other practices will pop up and start-ups are legit. 

Click here if you want to learn how hundreds of young dentists make sure they know what to look for in a practice and how to stay safe in your transition.

Photo by Anna Shvets

David Rice

David Rice

Founder of the nation’s largest student and new-dentist community, igniteDDS, David R. Rice, DDS, travels the world speaking, writing, and connecting today’s top young dentists with tomorrow’s most successful dental practices. He is the editorial director of DentistryIQ and leads a team-centered restorative and implant practice in East Amherst, New York. With 27 years of practice in the books, Dr. Rice is trained at the Pankey Institute, the Dawson Academy, Spear Education, and most prolifically at the school of hard knocks.