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Handling Missed Appointments

Handling Missed Appointments

The keys to a high percentage of kept appointments in a dental practice are:

a. Ensuring that when dental treatment is presented the patient really understands what will happen if they do not take action within a reasonable amount of time.

They need to understand the condition will get worse, not because you say so or are trying to mean, but that it is simply physics. They need to understand that it will cost more to fix later and that the patients overall health can also be effected.

b. Getting the patient to understand that he or she has made an agreement with you to be there at a certain time. He or she needs to know that the dentist/hygienist is setting aside time just to see them and that it will adversely affect your schedule if they do not keep the agreement. You respect their time; you only ask that they respect yours in return. That being said here is a successful format for calling a patient who has no showed:


1. Review the patient file before calling. Quickly review the file for information about the patient i.e. last dental treatment received or needed, family members or children also seen in the office, etc.

2. Use the information obtained about the person in your conversation to show them that an effort was made to know about them and their family. Show them that you care for them.

3. Do not be timid or careful. How effective you are will be a determining factor in whether the patient gets the needed dental care. Some people are not anxious to come in because of fear. Do not let their fear stop you in being effective at your job. When a patient comes in for care they win and so do you and your dental office. You must be willing to help the patient overcome barriers but you have to find out what the barrier really is.


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