Things to Consider Before Launching A Dental Membership Program

As a dental care practitioner, your main goal is to provide the highest-quality oral care to your community. But, it’s no secret that many families in the US can’t afford adequate dental care. Ensuring that your patients have access to quality care at an affordable price is just as important as delivering outstanding dental services.

Fortunately, you can create an in-house dental membership plan that allows you to attract patients from an untapped patient-base and deliver your same high quality services, while creating recurring revenue streams for your practice. 

Below, we’ll go over the definition of a dental membership program and share the top five questions you should ask before establishing your first plan.   

What is a Dental Membership Plan or Program?

Patients are familiar with membership plans or programs that provide access to exclusive discounts and other benefits. A dental membership program for your practice works exactly the same, but it revolves around the dental care services you provide.  

In other words, a dental membership plan is a subscription service that you can personalize to your practice. The idea is to give your patients access to high-quality dental services at a discounted rate in exchange for an annual fee or monthly fee. 

The idea is to analyze your patient base, figure out what services they would find the most valuable, and ensure that these individuals have access to these services at a good price. 

Your in-house membership program can serve as an alternative to dental insurance. Dental care plans are usually more affordable and they also provide access to basic services at little to no cost. 

Finally, because they are managed by the dental care provider, in-house membership programs don’t require dental insurance claims, which makes them faster and easier to manage. 

Here are some of the benefits that in-house membership programs can bring to your dental practice:

Create Predictable Income Streams

The most obvious benefit of having an in-house membership plan is that you can establish predictable income streams for your practice. Which, in turn, affects one of the biggest problems that both new and experienced practitioners face: attracting new patients. 

When a patient signs up for a dental membership program, this individual pays for a monthly subscription whether he or she uses its benefits. 

A Dentist Treating a Patient

So, besides ensuring monthly payments from your patients, dental membership plans can also encourage patients to book appointments and purchase additional oral health services at a discounted price. 

Deliver More Personalized Service

In addition to the cost of oral health treatments, many uninsured patients skip dentist visits because they don’t have a good experience. 

However, it’s possible to increase patient loyalty and deliver personalized services simultaneously if you implement a dental care plan. This improves the patient experience, which in turn can help increase treatment acceptance rates and other parts of your practice. 

Minimize Reliance on Insurance Providers

In the dental care industry, insurance providers operate as intermediaries between patients and practitioners. This allows insurance providers to profit from the treatments that patients pay for, but it also means that practitioners make less money and that services are more expensive for the general public.

A dental membership plan can help reduce, and in some cases, eliminate your reliance on insurance providers. This allows you to share the savings, which means that you can keep some of the extra revenue and offer the rest to your customers as a discount or promotion. 

Avoid a Backup of Accounts Receivable 

Accounts receivable are remaining balances from services that you’ve already provided, but have not been paid for. Some practitioners see this as the price of doing business, yet this doesn’t have to be the case.

Through a solid dental membership plan, you can give patients an alternative to paying full price for their dental care and offer them a significant discount after they sign up for a monthly subscription. 

Skip Insurance Claim Delays

Working with insurance providers can become a pain for both practitioners and their patients. 

As we mentioned earlier, when patients opt for a dental membership plan they don’t have to wait for insurance claims to be accepted or for subsequent refunds to be deposited. 

Dentist Curing Patient Teeth in Clinic


This is a major benefit for your patients, which means that you can use it as a reminder of why a dental plan is a much better alternative. 

Questions to Ask  to Create And Launch An In-House Dental Membership Programs

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of a dental membership program, let’s go over a few of the major questions you should ask before starting your own plan. 

We’ll focus on general questions that you may have about the impact that a care plan has on your practice, how these work, and the steps you need to take to create your own program. 

1. How Do In-House Membership Programs Work?

In simple terms, in-house membership programs are designed to give patients an affordable alternative to high-quality dental care. Patients pay a recurring fee and receive access to dental care services at no additional cost, or in the case of complex treatments, at a discounted price. 

2. Who Benefits from Dental Membership Plans?

Dental care programs benefit practitioners and patients alike. Practitioners are able to fulfill their mission of providing great service while also establishing a profitable business. Patients get access to dental care services at a discounted rate, so they can take advantage of these right away. 

3. Who Is Eligible for a Dental Membership?

A dental membership plan should be created for patients that don’t have insurance. More than 70 million Americans don’t have access to dental insurance, which represents just below 20% of the total population. Membership programs should help relieve this glaring need and give these patients access to quality services. 

4. What’s the Difference Between Dental Membership and Dental Discount Plans?

A dental membership plan is what we have described in this article. A dental discount plan is usually a third-party program that is not organized or owned by practitioners. Instead, these programs are owned and managed by third parties that negotiate bundles and purchase services in bulk from dentists and other providers. 

5. Is It Legal to Create Your Own Dental Membership Plan?

Absolutely! Creating your own dental care plan is legal. That said, remember that in-house membership plans are regulated by your state’s Department of Insurance. Make sure to review your local regulations and speak to your lawyer before creating your plan.  

Bonus: How Many Uninsured Patients Visit Your Clinic Every Month?

If you want to get ahead of the market research and determine if a plan would be a good call for your practice, you can review the number of uninsured patients that visit your practice every month. If you notice that this number is higher than the average, you should strongly consider creating custom plans for your most profitable customer segments.  


tools treating teeth of patient

Avoid These Mistakes When Starting a Dental Membership Plan

Creating a dental membership program may seem straightforward, but you need to avoid a few major pitfalls in order to hit the ground running. These include:

  • Not setting up an organized system to track members
  • Not automating payment renewals
  • Overcharging or making other billing mistakes
  • Not promoting your in-house program


There is no doubt that a dental membership plan can give your practice a financial boost. To learn more about creating an in-house membership program for your practice, contact us today and we’ll be glad to help.