On long waiting times for a dental appointment and how to organise your practice accordingly

Published on 28 August, 2023

Long waiting times for dentists in Belgium

There has been a lot of buzz in recent months about long waiting times to get an appointment at the dentist or orthodontist. Gone are the days when waiting a few weeks was considered the norm. Now, it’s not uncommon to find yourself twiddling your thumbs for over six months before you can get that coveted slot. More than 1/3 of practices even report to no longer accept new patients and thus have a patient stop. It appears that waiting times to see a dentist have indeed surged, especially outside the cities. organise your practice to ban long waiting times. These challenges are undoubtedly significant for dentists. The question remains: How can you effectively organise your practice to ban long waiting times, help a diverse group of people, and still find quality time for yourself?

The profile and work of the dentist in Belgium has clearly evolved in recent years.

Let’s take a moment to consider that first:

  • Dentists in Belgium used to be the oldest among healthcare providers, with an average age of 52 years. In 2019, over 25% of dentists were aged 65 and above.
  • Around 50% of dentists in Belgium are female, and they tend to be younger than their male colleagues.
  • The dental profession is experiencing a global rejuvenation, with approximately 1/3 of all dentists falling between the ages of 25 and 50. Many younger dentists are choosing to practice in Brussels.
  • While most dentists still operate solo practices, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of group practices (30% of all practices by 2020) and chain practices.
  • Dentists face new challenges such as handling more complex patient requests, focusing on preventive dental care, and dealing with patients who speak different languages.
  • The patient load has increased due to population growth and aging.
  • Fortunately, more Belgians are now visiting the dentist at least once a year. In 2021, 54% of Belgians had visited the dentist, marking a 5% increase compared to 2012.
  • However, there are still many Belgians who do not visit the dentist…and for those who do, long waiting times can be an issue.

Wondering how to stay afloat and build your dream dental practice?  How do you build your practice the way you have in mind: balanced, modern, with the quality you want and with good patient contacts, which will also give you great satisfaction in the future?

No worries, we’ve got you covered with some handy tips:

make sure your practice can be found online

First of all, make sure your practice can be found online

People of all ages (94% of the population!) seek information on the internet about services and health. For younger generations, the internet often is their first information channel. Having a good website or being on a reputable medical portal can save you tons of time. You’ll provide valuable info to visitors without drowning in phone calls or playing phone tag with answering machines.

A good website is easy to maintain, you can easily post new messages on it yourself and it is affordable. 

Keeping a user-friendly website is a piece of cake, and it comes at an affordable price too!

Being online makes it a breeze for people in your area to find you and see what dental expertise you offer. It might just encourage them to face their fear of dental visits and reach out to you sooner.

Let’s face it, fear of the dentist is real for about 4 in 10 people. But an online presence could be the first step in calming those nerves and making dental visits more approachable.

Take a breather and prioritize your health

Take a breather and prioritise your health!

Just set aside a brief moment each day for outdoor exercise – a walk, bike ride, quick yoga session, or a half-hour of running. Morning, afternoon, or evening, it doesn’t matter – it’ll bring you a burst of fresh oxygen, ease those stiff neck and wrist muscles, and create space in both your body and mind.

Your ‘stolen’ half-hour is not always easy to anticipate, but you probably also know: every habit takes about 21 days to become indispensable….   (and we can help you block your half-hour in your schedule!).

Make your online medical agenda your best buddy

Make your agenda your best buddy and organise your practice to ban long waiting times

Maybe your schedule is so busy now that you don’t even dare to look at your calendar. Or you curse your smartphone medical agenda because it blocks so often and doesn’t immediately sync with your colleagues’. 

As a health professional, your medical agenda is your ultimate working tool: without an appointment, people cannot come to you and you cannot help them. It should be smart, fast, flexible, and visually appealing, not to mention reliable! Just like your best buddy, it’ll support and give you confidence.

And your patients also appreciate a smooth experience. No one wants a clunky registration process or waiting for endless confirmations. They want to know where they stand quickly and easily. To organise your practice to ban long waiting times, you need an efficient appointment management and a flexible online agenda.

So if that is working on both sides, you can amaze people with your expertise and meet a lot of expectations in patients. Any good mate gives you support and confidence. 

Interested in focusing more on preventive oral care

Interested in focusing more on preventive oral care?

Well, did you know that almost half of Belgians don’t visit a dentist yearly? Yet, an annual check-up can work wonders for people of all ages, keeping mischief at bay and managing costs for patients and society.

So if you want to put more effort into preventive oral care, it is important to

  • Keep in touch as much as possible with people who have already come to your practice
  • Encourage more people to visit the dentist for preventive care.
  • Be able to reach/address people in their own language
  • Promptly serve patients requiring referral 

Now, let’s talk about the three magic tools to ace preventive oral care:

  • Reminders for people who have visited you before (as personal as possible)
  • Digital appointments for those new and/or looking for a dentist
  • Easy referral options for those in need

And guess what? With Doctena, you can open up time blocks for all kinds of visitors, from regulars to last-minute appointments – our system has got your back! That means more time for self-care – you deserve it!

Like this, you or your assistant no longer have to allocate time to doing all that fitting and you can organise your practice to ban long waiting times; our system does it for you based on your needs and experience and you immediately win 30 minutes for self-care 😊

Need to refer a patient quickly? You got it! With Doctena’s network of colleague dentists, your patients can get the care they need from a trusted source. It’s all about giving patients the freedom of choice.

Want to see how Doctena can help to organise your practice to ban long waiting times?


About us

We strive to improve patient care by simplifying and securing communication between practitioners and patients. With Doctena, patients can book appointments easily and healthcare professionals can send them automated reminders securely.

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