The Secrets Behind How an Oral Surgery Practice Closed 30 Arches a Month During the Pandemic

Currently, there is a lot of uncertainty out there in the dental marketplace. Towards the end of March and throughout April, there was a general apprehension from the patient’s perspective in terms of going to the dentist, but also from the doctors in terms of continuing their current marketing strategy. What we did notice, however, was that even though patients were not willing to come into the practice, this did not reduce the amount of research that patients were conducting regarding big cases. Time spent doing research, searching online, watching TV, absolutely skyrocketed. It was a time, as a marketer, that we had the largest captive audience with the least amount of competition in recent history.


As a result, there was a huge pent up demand for services. Specifically, the functional surgeries. Elective cases such as whitening or cosmetic cases were put on the back burner for the foreseeable future, but functional surgeries such as dental implants or full arch cases still remained a necessity, the patients just had yet to pull the trigger on moving forward. We noticed that, for the patients willing to come in and get treatment done, they were willing to change their clinicians to have the procedure completed earlier. Patients also wanted more information over the phone, so it was critical that doctors maintained the staff members that could be available to handle leads and work the phones.


While many doctors adopted a wait-and-see approach, those that embraced the current market and pushed forward saw a tremendous decrease in ad cost and equally impactful increase in impressions on their ads. Here is a case study of one of our clients that continued their dental implant marketing throughout the pandemic and is on track to have a record year in production.


About the Oral Surgeon

Dr. Andrew Mueller is an oral surgeon, operating a small referral-based practice in Wichita Falls, TX. When he brought us on as his practice’s marketing agency, he had the goal of opening centers and focusing entirely on full arch. Initially, we did a complete rebrand for the practice. We took custom photography and videography and built an entirely new oral surgeon website. Then, we opened a de novo center in San Antonio and began our expansion through Texas. Before the pandemic hit, Dr. Mueller was averaging around 15 arches a month as a brand-new practice, no referrals, no existing patient base.



Our biggest objective for marketing Dr. Mueller’s oral surgery practice was to take advantage of the weakened competition. Because he had a new brand, we wanted to increase his overall impressions and get a lot of eyeballs. We also wanted to create a diverse content strategy with a mix of direct response and educational based messaging. Direct response meaning; free second opinions, find out if you’re a candidate, fill out this evaluation form, call for a consultation, etc. For the educational based content, we flew Dr. Mueller down to our headquarters in Florida and filmed him in an interview format, answering a series of questions that he frequently receives from patients. Our intention with these interviews was to structure our ads to appear like they aren’t ads at all, but rather quality, helpful content.


Additionally, once we have placed ourselves in front of these patients, we want to make sure that we maintain present in their minds. To do this, we incorporated an aggressive retargeting strategy through social media, YouTube, and the display network.


Ultimately, in order for these new marketing tactics to work, we had to adjust the way that Dr. Mueller’s practice conducted new patient consultations. We helped them incorporate revised new patient consultations and increased training on how to introduce pricing options over the phone as well as triage out unqualified leads. The goal, always, is to increase new patient consultations and cut down on no shows and unqualified prospects. Incorporating a system to triage is vital to an efficient practice. Keeping in mind, we are advertising to people with no teeth. If we receive 50 dental implant leads, 25 of them probably have no money or they don’t have the ability to get financed. Ensuring that those patients never make their way to the doctor consultation means that you don’t dedicate an hour and a half with a patient that never had any intention of moving forward.


We also created compelling bundles for the large cases. The goal is to reduce the sales cycle as much as possible and reduce the amount of consultations we have to conduct with each patient. Showing the patient the value in what they are paying for proved to be paramount in terms of closing percentage. If you don’t show patients that they are getting a good deal, they are going to shop you and they’re going to get second and third opinions until they are closed by someone else.


Budget Allocation

Our goal was to reach 30 arches a month, so we structured a diverse budget of $36,000 per month for the San Antonio location. We dedicated $9,000 to Google Ads, using very specific search terms as well as $1,000 for SEO. $2,000 for Facebook and $1,500 to Instagram, where we utilized a lot of the educational based videos. We also ran broadcast TV for the entire metro area for $22,500. In terms of budget, it is important to note that regardless of how much your budget is to advertise dental implants, your expectations must be in line with your budget. When everything is all said and done, we see that cost to acquire an arch ranges between $1,000 and $3,000, depending on how well your practice is able to follow up with leads, get them in the practice, and close them.


Pay Per Click

We built out two separate campaigns in Google Ads, one price focused, and one prestige or credibility focused. We have a lot of doctors that say that price shoppers aren’t the type of patient they want to attract when, in reality, these are the patients that are most qualified to make a purchase. Just because they are shopping price or they’re trying to get a couple different prices doesn’t mean that they’re cheap and they aren’t qualified to buy. It means that they are already sold, they’ve made up their mind and they’re going to do the procedure, they’re just trying to get the most value possible for every dollar they spend. Price shoppers don’t need the cheapest price, they need the best deal.


In terms of our pricing campaign, we wanted to make sure that the practice had diversity in options. It isn’t full arch fixed or bust. There is obviously a permanent fixed solution, but you also have a solution that scales into that, where you do the surgery and the provisional. You guarantee it for 12 months or 18 months at a reduced cost. You have another option that is a removable appliance, one that snaps in and out. The best results for full arch options are price points between $9,000 and $12,000 for a removable, a scaled option between $15,000 and $18,000, and a fixed option between $23,000 and $26,000. Those three price points can cover a large market of people. If you’re not going to talk about pricing at all then negative keyword everything that has to do with price, cost, affordability, so on and so forth.


Keywords that we are targeting specifically related to price are ‘All-on-4 dental implant price...Teeth in a Day implant price/cost, etc.’ Then, you want to make sure that when you set up pricing ads, you are running your leads to a landing page that explicitly states pricing, or you are going to see a large bounce rate. Once they hit the page, set up an evaluation that helps you determine pre-qualification. For example, a dental implant evaluation that has 16 or 17 points. Many marketers used to operate from the mindset that the longer the form, the least likely a lead is to fill it out. This is further from the truth. Each single question that they answer escalates their level of commitment and qualifies them further.


The prestige campaign doesn’t address pricing at all, they aren’t searching pricing. Because Dr. Mueller is an oral surgeon, we wanted to emphasize his experience and because he is an expert in his field, we were able to expand his target radius further out from his practice.


Example keywords that we used in the prestige campaign are ‘best dental implants in... top All-on-4 dental implant dental implant surgeon, etc.’ In order to showcase Dr. Mueller’s credentials, we incorporated a lot of before and after photos and patient transformations. Experts show their work. So, if you haven’t done a great job in terms of documentation or keeping quality before and after photos to use in your dental implant marketing, there needs to be an immediate strategy change. There is no more valuable asset than that.


Pay Per Click Results

In total, Dr. Mueller spent $9,000 a month and received an average of 180 leads per month during the months of May, June, and July. The average cost per lead was $50, with a pretty even spread between form fills and phone calls. About 100 form fills a month and 80 phone calls.


Social Media

During the height of the pandemic, people were spending such a significant time on social media, it was extremely important to be present in the market. We created several ads, direct and retargeting. By utilizing patient testimonials in these ads, we were able to lead them to a dental implant evaluation form as a direct response. We also incorporated educational content through interviews with Dr. Mueller discussing important factors when choosing an oral surgery for dental implant surgery, or different questions you should ask before getting dental implants. For Instagram, since we can’t run ads for long videos, we used simple text-based graphics. These don’t have a particular CTA, they are just there to increase website traffic.


Social Media Results

The intent of our social media campaigns is twofold, generating leads and driving traffic. We spent a total of $3,500 a month and generated an average of 50 leads with a cost per lead of $70.


Broadcast Television

We created a mix of :30 second and :60 second spots to run on broadcast television, with a particular emphasis on targeting the 50+ demographic during the news. Our :30 second spot was geared towards addressing the pandemic and pricing, while our :60 second spot was a branding ad with a very light call to action. The :30 second spot was meant to reach out to patients, let them know that The Marquis Center was doing something to contribute and help them during the pandemic and during their time of hardship. The :60 second spot offers no real call to action except to visit the website and establishes branding.


Broadcast Television Results

Estimating leads from TV is never an exact science because many patients will see the ad on TV, then search for the website, and call from the new patient number. It is a good general rule of thumb that around 50% to 70% of that number could be coming in additionally through other outlets. In total, our monthly average for TV leads is 130.


Website & SEO Results

Monthly leads to the website averaged around 90, 70 of which were phone calls to the new patient line. Our next step with the website is to build out an entire Spanish version to make that more accessible to the residents of San Antonio.

Final Results

Total, each month, we are averaging about 450 leads per month for the months of May, June, and July, and these are exclusively full arch leads. Our monthly cost per lead was $80. Out of the 450 leads, we averaged 29 arches closed and collected on per month. With revenue per arch at $23,000, that equates to $667,000 a month setting his ROI at 19:1.


During a time period where people were scared to spend a dollar, Dr. Mueller’s practice had the three best months he’s ever had. The message that we can receive out of all this is that patients are ready. They will pick up the phone and call. We are seeing it now in markets all across the country, now is the time to get aggressive. Don’t wait. Continue to think like an entrepreneur.


If you are interested in speaking with Progressive Dental about your goals for the practice, give us a call at 727-286-6211 to speak with one of our Senior Practice Consultants, or feel free to explore our website and the several case studies we have at


If you are interested in hearing more from Bart Knellinger, come to one of our upcoming dental continuing education courses. Visit today to reserve a spot for you and your team!


Progressive Dental is more than just a marketing company, we are a company located in Clearwater, FL dedicated to dental practice growthOur team was founded on creativity, collaboration and hard work. We are constantly evolving and are passionate about providing the best suite of dental marketing services for our clients. They are the reason we jump out of bed!

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