Baby boomers: An underserved population ripe for dental outreach

December 15, 2015

As I’ve said on many occasions, if you want to survive in today’s tough economy, you need to attract new patients and grow your practice.

As I’ve said on many occasions, if you want to survive in today’s tough economy, you need to attract new patients and grow your practice.

“How can I grow,” you wonder, “when everyone already has a dentist?” I’m going to let you in on a secret. Not everyone has a regular dentist or gets their teeth cleaned twice a year. There are people at your gym, in your church and around your community who haven’t seen the dentist in years. They’re just not telling you, because you’re a dentist. If you want to grow your practice, you need to find these underserved people, reach out to them, and get them into your practice.

More from Dr. Phelps: Partnerships for patients: Could community groups and businesses help you find new patients?


One group that’s ripe for outreach is the Baby Boomers. They’re retiring in huge numbers, and many are losing their dental insurance. Unlike many older Americans, the Baby Boomers keep their teeth into adulthood, yet only 14-28% of them have dental insurance after retirement. Baby Boomers also started getting their permanent teeth before municipal fluoridation became widespread. So while they have all their teeth, they also have fillings, crowns and other dental work that needs regular maintenance.

These factors make Baby Boomers some of the most profitable potential patients out there. In fact, most of the per-patient growth in dental spending has come from Baby Boomers. The big question is how can you convince Baby Boomers to come into your office and receive care, even without insurance?

More from Dr. Phelps: How to grow your practice with wine, cheese and a dental savings plan

In my new book Grow Your Practice with Wine & Cheese, I offer one idea for reaching out to Baby Boomers who lack insurance but need dental care. I developed an in-house dental savings plan tailored to the needs of retirees in my area. By marketing this plan directly to retirees, I found a way to get Baby Boomers into my office. It’s a win-win situation for all of us. I get to grow my practice, and they get to age gracefully with attractive, youthful looking smiles.

Even if you’re not ready to take the leap and offer a savings plan, you need to reach out to Baby Boomers so that you can expand your practice. Meet them where they’re at, and give them reasons to come to you for their dental care. You’ll be helping an underserved community while growing your practice.