The Ultimate Orthodontic Patient Funnel Strategy

May 30, 2024
min read
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Key Takeaways  

  • Learn how to identify and resolve bottlenecks in the patient funnel to improve satisfaction and maximize conversions.  
  • See the benefits of centralizing patient data with Gaidge Consult Manager for streamlined access and accuracy.  
  • Discover how to simplify patient intake with HIPAA-compliant digital forms from Gaidge, reducing paperwork and improving data precision.  
  • Explore how to clarify financial discussions with Gaidge’s Payment Presentation tool for better transparency and effective treatment acceptance.  
  • Explore effective follow-up strategies with Gaidge Consult Manager to maintain patient engagement and facilitate treatment acceptance.  

An Essential Guide for Turning More Leads into Smiles

The orthodontic patient funnel is crucial for turning potential leads into satisfied, lifelong patients. However, many practices struggle with scattered patient information, inefficient intake, and unclear payment discussions, causing bottlenecks at each stage of the funnel.  

Fortunately, with the right steps, you can create a seamless journey from the first call to the last exam. Let’s explore how these strategies can help you optimize conversions — and turn more leads into smiles.  

The 5 Stages of the Orthodontic Patient Funnel  

To maximize conversions, it's important to understand your patient funnel inside and out. Let’s explore the five key stages — from the marketing funnel to the bottom of the funnel — that define the patient's journey.  

1. New Patient Adds  

What It Is: The stage where your practice captures initial inquiries, often through calls, emails, or online forms.  

Why It Matters: This is your first opportunity to gather essential contact and health information, setting the stage for all future interactions. It also gauges the initial effectiveness of your marketing efforts and customer service.  

2. New Patient Adds to Exams  

What It Is: The process of converting new patient calls into scheduled exams.  

Why It Matters: Effective scheduling practices here reflect the efficiency of your intake system. It also shows your team's ability to motivate pending patients to take the next step in their treatment journey.  

3. Case Acceptance  

What It Is: The decision point where patients agree to proceed with the recommended orthodontic treatment.  

Why It Matters: A high acceptance rate shows your team can match treatment benefits with patient needs, building trust and commitment.  

4. Treatment Starts  

What It Is: The commencement of actual orthodontic treatment following case acceptance.  

Why It Matters: Starting treatment impacts your practice’s productivity and begins the physical journey towards improved dental health. It marks a critical revenue-generating step.  

5. Observation Management  

What It Is: Ongoing monitoring and engagement of patients who are not immediately ready for treatment.  

Why It Matters: Effective observation management engages potential patients, ensuring they’re ready to start treatment at the right time.  

Each stage of the patient journey offers opportunities to impress and delight your patients. However, it can also present potential disruptions. Here are the tips and tools you need to ensure a seamless patient journey.  

Get Organized  

You can’t expect a healthy funnel without properly organized patient data. The first step of optimizing your conversion process is to centralize all information. That way, it’s easier for you and your team members to access and manage patients at every conversion stage.  

Gaidge's Patient Queue makes organizing orthodontic patient data easier.


With Gaidge Consult Manager's Patient Queue dashboard, you can consolidate all patient information into one intuitive system. It helps you eliminate errors, reduce redundancies, and ensure that every team member is on the same page.  

Whether it’s tracking insurance details, scheduling follow-up reminders, or monitoring patient progress, an organized dashboard streamlines operations and improves efficiency.  

Plus, Gaidge Forms helps you efficiently collect accurate patient data from the start. Digital forms sent through text or email help collect information securely, reducing errors and delays in the process. These forms save time and improve the patient experience, making the first interaction with your practice a positive one.  

Customize questions with Gaidge's digital intake forms.


With well-organized patient data, you’ll see smoother progress through each stage. Not to mention, you'll have higher conversion rates and a more efficient practice overall.  

Make Financial Discussions Easier

Financial discussions are never easy, but they play a large role in your patient conversion process. Transparent and flexible payment options are crucial in helping patients feel comfortable and confident in their financial commitment. Gaidge’s Payment Presentation tool offers several features to facilitate clear and effective financial discussions:  

  • Display comprehensive insurance details and treatment costs, helping patients understand exactly what they’re paying for.  
  • Use a payment slider to adjust down payments, monthly amounts, and payment plan lengths. This offers patients flexibility and control over their financial decisions.  
  • Enable remote treatment acceptance, allowing patients to agree to their treatment plan via email at their convenience.  

With Gaidge’s Payment Presentation tool, you can build trust and make financial conversations smoother and more productive.  

Engage Patients with Smart Follow-Up Strategies  

Converting potential patients often requires multiple interactions to keep them engaged and interested. With an effective follow-up strategy, you can maintain patient interest and guide them towards treatment acceptance.  

Gaidge Consult Manager helps you optimize your follow-up process with several advanced features:  

  • Set up follow-up reminders that alert your staff to engage undecided patients without making time-consuming phone calls.  
  • Equip your Treatment Coordinator with prompts for personalized follow-ups, making each interaction tailored and more impactful.  
  • Enable staff to customize follow-up messages, ensuring precise attention to patient-specific needs and concerns.  

In particular, your observation patients can be especially challenging to manage, as they often slip through the cracks.

Gaidge also helps you stay on top of these patients, ensuring they move toward active treatment:  

  • Categorize observation patients by treatment readiness, making it easy for staff to prioritize follow-ups.  
  • Set reminders for personalized updates to keep patients informed and engaged throughout the observation period.  
  • Support staff in keeping track of observation patients to prevent any oversight in this critical phase.

An effective follow-up strategy can help you stay connected with your patients and show that you value their progress. When patients feel supported and informed, they’re more likely to commit to their treatment plans.  

Maximize Your Impact with Data-Driven Insights  

Running an orthodontic practice shouldn't involve guesswork. Data analytics provides you with clear, black-and-white answers for informed decision-making. Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) can help improve your practice by finding and fixing problems in the patient experience.  

Gaidge Analytics tracks valuable KPIs to maximize orthodontic practice performance and growth.


Gaidge Analytics equips you with powerful insights to refine your patient conversion process:  

  • Real-time dashboards show critical metrics such as revenue, exams, patient starts, and more. This can pinpoint exactly where you need to make improvements.  
  • With over 80 practice metrics and 35 reporting dashboards, you get a comprehensive view of your practice’s health. This highlights areas ripe for optimization.  
  • Benchmarking against data from over 1,500 practices allows you to measure your performance against industry standards, uncovering growth opportunities.  
  • Automatic daily updates from your PMS ensure you have the most current and accurate information, helping you make well-informed decisions.  

Using Gaidge Analytics, you can effectively tackle bottlenecks in your patient funnel, boost conversion rates, and streamline your practice. By understanding these key metrics, you can turn more leads into lifelong patients and drive your practice towards greater success.  

Convert More Leads into Smiles with Gaidge  

From initial call to treatment completion, every stage of the patient journey is an opportunity to impress, engage, and convert. By effectively managing each stage and maintaining clear communication, you can ensure long-term patient satisfaction and practice growth.

With Gaidge, you gain the tools to optimize your conversions effortlessly. From a centralized dashboard to transparent financials, Gaidge enables a smooth patient journey at every stage.  

Want to learn more about how Gaidge can help you transform these opportunities into successful conversions? Reach out today to see our solutions in action.  

Orthodontic Patient Conversion FAQs  

What factors contribute to high conversion rates in orthodontic practices?  

Key factors include effective communication, clear financial discussions, streamlined patient intake processes, and personalized follow-up strategies. Each of these elements helps to build trust and clarity with potential patients, making it more likely they’ll commit to treatment.  

What role does clear financial communication play in patient conversions?  

Clear financial discussions help patients understand the costs involved and the value of the treatment. This transparency can significantly impact a patient's decision to proceed with treatment.  

Why is follow-up crucial in converting initial consultations into active patients

Effective follow-up ensures that prospective patients remain engaged and informed about their treatment options. It also addresses any concerns or questions they may have post-consultation. Staying in touch is key to moving patients from consideration to action.  

How can my orthodontic practice maintain high case acceptance rates?  

Maintaining high case acceptance involves educating patients about their treatment options, offering flexible financial plans, and creating a welcoming environment that establishes trust and professionalism.  

Where can my practice get professional guidance to optimize its conversion processes?  

For practices looking to enhance their conversion strategies further, Gaidge 360 Consulting offers specialized support. Its team of orthodontic consultants can help identify areas for improvement, implement effective tools and strategies, and provide ongoing support to ensure your practice achieves its goals.  

Callie Norton

Gaidge. (n.d.). Keys to the Kingdom — Unlocking Opportunity with Practice Data. Orthodontic Practice US. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from

Imani, M. M., Jalali, A., Ezzati, E., Heirani, Z., & Dinmohammadi, M. (2018). A Decision-making Process to Undergo Orthodontic Treatment: A Qualitative Study. Patient Preference and Adherence, Volume 12, 2243–2251.  

Norton, C. (2024, February 20). 4 Easy Steps to Improve Your New Patient Conversion Rate. Gaidge.