VOIP Phone System For Dental Offices

VOIP System for Dental Offices

The type of phone system you choose to implement in your dental startup practice is a crucial step.

Your phone system is the backbone of your office – it’s how your patients will communicate with your office.  Whether it’s new patients calling from the thousands you spent on marketing, or the existing patients calling to confirm or create their recall appointments – the type of phone system you choose will have a significant impact on your bottom line.

I started my office with a VOIP phone system because I wanted the flexibility it provides compared to a conventional land line. But I’ve also saved a ton of money by not going with a landline phone system.

To keep this post useful, I will not make this about why you should not use a landline. But instead, I’ll focus on things that make VOIP phone system for dental offices an amazing practice building tool:

  1. Help my team make sure the phones get answered as quickly as possible
  2. Minimize missed calls during non-office hours
  3. Remote management of emergency calls

Let’s get started..

What is VOIP?

VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol – or simply, phone service over the internet. With a reasonably good quality internet connection, you’re getting phone service delivered via the internet instead of a landline.

Since day one, I decided to go to with VOIP phone system for my startup dental practice. I signed up with a service called Vocalocity, which is now Vonage Business.

Here are some amazing benefits I’ve seen using the VOIP system in my dental office:

1) Being able to pick up incoming patient calls to the office from anywhere. As long as I have my cell phone w/ a data plan or WiFi (in case where you have an extra phone sitting around that is not active but connected to WiFi), I can pick up patient phone calls from the Vonage Business Mobile app on my phone.

When I first opened the doors to my startup practice back in 2013, not missing patient phone calls during non-office hours was a must. I didn’t think about patients saying things such as “oh why is the doctor picking up at 8:00 pm on a Friday?” or “why is the doctor answering my phone calls. Does he not have a receptionist?”

In fact, I scheduled tons of emergency patients answering phone calls when most offices didn’t. How did I know? I simply asked!

When I spoke with patients and after I went over their concern, I always asked if I was the first office they called. Many times, I wasn’t. I had opened doors in an established area with many offices who were already spending tons on Google Ads and direct mail.

I still remember patients mentioning they found it surprising that the doctor picked up – I was honest with them and simply told them “for emergency, all calls get routed to my cell”. To this day, NOT one patient has actually expressed a problem with that.

Don’t overthink it. If you’re shy of picking up phone calls directly from patients, go ahead and practice picking up a phone and answering as if there’s a patient on the other line.

2) Access your phone system and voicemails directly from the Vonage Business Mobile app: The mobile app has been a great tool in tracking phone calls and voicemails even when I’m not in the office.

In addition to picking up calls remotely, the mobile app also acts like a second extension without actually paying for it.

When you sign up for VOIP, you pay by a “line” or an extension. The extension allows you to make unlimited outgoing calls. When I first started, I paid for two extensions considering I should need the second “line” to not miss incoming phone calls since the first one will be busy if someone is already talking on it.

At this point, I was completely new to using the system. Two years into the practice, I ended up cancelling the second extension saving a few bucks a month and now I have my cell phone act as the second extension.

For example, if my front desk is already on the call with a patient, I can still answer an incoming call from the mobile app (as long as I’m not with another patient, of course).

VOIP Phone System For Dental Offices - Screenshot of Mobile App

You’re able to access voicemails directly from the app as well as your email. Through the web portal and the app, you can set it up so voicemails also forward to an email address.

This has been a big help in times when I’m away from the office and I know my front desk team member is not going to be in the office. This way when the patient leaves a voicemail, I get it directly in the email as well as the app.

I usually access it from the email first and then return the phone call if it’s something that requires immediate attention or leave the voicemail in the app for my team to listen to when she’s in the office if not urgent.

With the mobile app, you’re also able to make outbound calls to patients from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. The calls go out with the office caller id, so to patients it seems if the call is coming from the office. Six months into the opening the office, I took a trip to Rio, Brazil for ten days. With my phone and WiFi, I was able to track incoming calls being answered by my front desk.

Through access to my email, I was able to check voicemails for calls during non-office hours while on the trip and schedule patients who had concerns through the remote access to the schedule on my laptop. Of course, there were patients that needed immediate attention and ended up not scheduling and going somewhere else, but you can’t win them all.

3) Desktop web portal for access to call reports for the day:

Through the web portal for Vonage, my front desk is able to access reports of all incoming, outgoing and missed calls as well as voicemails. This is much more user friendly than scrolling through a list of calls on the tiny LCD on the desk phone.

VOIP Phone System For Dental Offices - Phone Call Report

VOIP Dental Office Phone Calls Details

There are many advanced features that can be setup in the settings depending on your preference. There is a setting where you can allow the incoming phone call to ring more than one extension at the same time. As you can see in the screenshot below, this can be helpful for example when you want the phone in the front to ring at the same time as the one in the lab area to be answered by the clinical assistant.

VOIP For Dental Office - Edit Extensions

In case you don’t have the mobile app, you can have this set up so the office phone rings at the same time as another mobile phone and/or landline.

VOIP for Dental Office - Simultaneous ring


When I first started, I paid almost close to $90 / year with all other surcharges/taxes/fees included. Within two years, once I realized the second extension wasn’t being used, I ended up using only one extension and now pay anywhere between $54-$57/month including a fax line.

I started with and still have only one front desk team member. Whether you should have only one, two or three+ team members at the front desk is a subject for whole another post. If you have more than one team member at the front desk, it may make sense to go with a second extension.

Here’s a screenshot of my invoice monthly that shows the breakdown of costs:

VOIP Phone System For Dental Offices - Cost & Invoice

Reliability & Security:

Since a phone system is the backbone of any dental practice, it needs to be reliable. For a VOIP phone system in a dental practice to be reliable, you do need a good internet connection with decent speed. You’re probably wondering what is the recommended speed for internet connection.

It depends on what else you have going on in your practice that may be using the bandwidth shared with VOIP. For instance, if you have multiple operatories and streaming Netflix, Hulu or other services over the internet for patient entertainment, you need to consider that into determining the speed you’ll need to support all the streaming and VOIP phone calls at same time.

I’ve had the Business Optimum 100 service for Internet since day one, which provides 100 Mbps download speeds. I’ve not had a problem with streaming Netflix in multiple ops at once and running phone service at the same time. If you think you need more, you can always contact your Internet Service Provider and upgrade to get higher speeds.

When choosing a VOIP service, most of the big name companies, especially the ones used in dental offices, employ enough security measures that are on par with security requirements that you would expect from your bank. If you need more technical details on how this is accomplished, the service you decide to go with should provide you with that information.

Vonage Business security measures remain in compliance with regulation guidelines, such as HIPAA, HITECH and HITRUST. You can read here for more information on HIPAA compliance security measures provided by Vonage by clicking here.


Since VOIP is gaining popularity among small businesses, the quality of service and the actual product has improved significantly.

If you were to google “VOIP services”, you’ll find a good number of companies that provide what you’re looking for.

However, I usually go with products that seem to be most widely used in dentistry.

The most commonly heard VOIP companies used by dental offices are the following:

  • Vonage Business (what I use)
  • Mango Voice
  • Ring Central: link to reviews on Capterra
  • Weave – One of the biggest difference between Weave and the systems above is that Weave, from its inception, was specifically designed for dental offices. It not only offers VOIP service, but their feature that stands out the most is when your patient calls, there’s a popup that appears that displays who is calling, and their relevant data right on the pop-up (their birth date, appointments info, etc.). It also offers appointment reminders, team chat, and other patient communication features. See their website for more details.


So which company should you go with? I cannot say or recommend simply because I’ve not personally used any other systems besides Vonage since day one. But I do know that Ring Central and Mango Voice have been gaining popularity within dentistry.

They all offer the features that offer the advantages of a VOIP system I discussed above. Depending on your preferences, you may decide to go with Weave if you like their comprehensive patient communication features. Or you may consider going with Mango Voice or Ring Central due to their attractive price points. Always remember to never fall into a contract. If they require a contract, ask for a trial for at least three months.

Don’t overthink it either. If you sign up and are unhappy with a service, you can change to another service and not have to change your office number in most cases.

Here’s a brief recap of advantages of a VOIP system, regardless of which company you go with:

  • Being able to answer patient phone calls from anywhere through your phone as long as you have access to internet: This is always important, but even more crucial during the initial phase of your startup practice as you’re building up patient base by keeping emergency patients coming back to your office.
  • Desktop reporting tool: A visual report of number of incoming, outgoing and missed calls, voicemails is great for your receptionist. You can glance over a month and find out what your busiest times are for incoming calls.
  • Extending functionality of your VOIP through third-party plug-ins: With many cloud-based software solutions in the market, you will see more and more integration of your VOIP system with tools for patient marketing, engagement, etc.

In terms of reliability of VOIP, most important factor is the bandwidth. To avoid bandwidth related call quality problems, you need to determine your existing internet usage requirements.

I hope this post was helpful for you in understanding some basics and how VOIP phone system for dental offices can be an effective tool in building your practice!