How to Overcome the #1 Barrier to Implant Case Acceptance

If you surveyed the most successful implant practices, you would find them all over the United States. You would find them in rural areas, urban areas, and suburban areas. You would find them in lower-income areas and higher-income areas. You would find small practices and large ones. But you would find that they all have one thing in common. They all help patients overcome the top barriers to case acceptance.

The Barriers You Have Overcome by the Time You Present a Treatment Plan

If you are presenting a treatment plan to an implant patient, we know a few things. First, we know they are aware of an issue with their teeth. They would not be in your chair if they thought everything was fine. Second, we know they are at least curious about solutions. They want to know their options. Third, we know they are aware of you and trust you enough to schedule an appointment.

Thus, from a marketing perspective, you have already overcome several barriers to case acceptance by this point. You have overcome awareness. The patient knows about you and knows about their tooth problem.

You have overcome desire. The patient is in your chair because they want better mouth appearance, function, and health.

And you have overcome at least some of the trust barriers. They trust you enough to at least come in for a consult. If you shift your case presentations to case conversations, you will have likely overcome virtually all trust factors.

Overcoming these barriers leaves only one major barrier remaining at this point: affordability.

Why Affordability Is The Biggest Barrier to Case Acceptance

The reality is, most implant patients are not wealthy people who grew up with great dental care. Some are. Some had excellent mouth health and need implants because of an accident or other trauma.

But most dental implant patients have modest or lower income. They need implants because they could not afford adequate care, and their teeth have deteriorated after years of neglect.

Practices cannot expect them to have $5,000, $10,000, or more lying around to pay for dental care. If you do, you will severely limit your implant practice. The problem goes beyond just having fewer people move forward with life-changing implants. Spending time performing consults that will only lead to case acceptance if patients have thousands of extra dollars is not a wise allocation of resources. And it wastes your potential patient’s time to come in for a consult without the financial ability to move forward with treatment.

How to Overcome the Affordability Barrier

If someone is aware of the problem, wants the solution, and trusts you to perform the procedure, the only thing stopping them is affordability.

If we accept the fact that patients will not be able to pay in full, we need to help them find other ways to afford their treatment. Here are three ways to help patients overcome the affordability barrier.

1. Offer Internal Financing for Implant Patients

Almost without fail, the most successful implant practices offer some type of internal financing. While this will not be for every dentist, they change the conversation you have from “how much” to “how much per month.” This is the strategy the auto industry uses to overcome affordability barriers to buying cars. You rarely see a car advertised by the sticker price, only by monthly lease or finance payment.

Offering internal financing options lets you have similar conversations with patients. You could say, “We can get your smile back for only $499 down and $99 per month” instead of “we can get your smile back for $5,500.” You could even raise your prices if you offer affordable terms, leading to significantly higher revenue in the process.

Set up your in-house financing plans wisely and you can severely reduce your risk, too. This one shift can almost instantaneously skyrocket your case-acceptance rate.

2. Help Patients Identify Outside Financing Options

If you are uncomfortable offering in-house financing, talk with your patients about other options.

Introduce them to CareCredit or other medical or dental credit cards. Help them apply for installment loans for dental financing. With so many banks or credit cards available for medical and dental procedures, patients have options.

If you can, have a team member walk them through the application process in your office. If they say they want to move forward but cannot afford it, helping them start the financing process will significantly increase case acceptance.

3. Find Creative Solutions to Bridge Affordability Gaps

Sometimes outside financing options are not a good fit, or are only a partial fit. For example, a patient might only qualify for some outside financing but not enough to pay for their entire treatment. If that is the case, helping your patient bridge the gap could reduce your practice risk and help people move forward.

Consider taking the difference on a credit card or with a down payment and payment terms.

For more complex cases, perhaps you could stagger the treatment over time or offer alternative treatment plans so they can say yes to treatment they can afford right away. Partial case acceptance is a much better result for you and your patient than not moving forward at all.

Make it Easy for Patients to Say Yes

Everybody wins if practices can solve the affordability challenge for patients. That is why the most successful implant practices are the ones that make quality dental implants affordable to patients.

In-house financing, help with outside financing, and finding creative solutions are just three ways to overcome the affordability barrier.

How do you help your patients overcome this barrier so they can get the life-changing dental implants they want and need?

If you’re interested in learning more about how Driven Dental Marketing can help you to attract and convert more high-value patients, you can book a FREE 15-minute strategy session right here on

Nick Pavlidis

Nick Pavlidis is a recognized author for several dental implant articles.

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