Cancelled Appointments

Why “no shows” can prove problematic for patient and dentist alike.

Many of us will probably have had to cancel either a doctor or dentist appointment at some time in our lives. Usually this is for a genuine reason and can’t be avoided.

This is completely understandable, but sometimes the reasons are less genuine. In today’s Confidental Clinic  blog, we thought it would be useful to look at the ‘knock on’ effect of cancelled appointments along with what we do to try to minimise these, as much as we can.

Your own oral health

There are probably two main reasons why people cancel an appointment. The first is for a genuinely good reason, and often one that crops up at the last moment, such as having to collect a sick child from school, for example. We completely understand that people have to prioritise in situations like this and will always do our best to work with them to find an alternative new appointment.

The second reason that people cancel is that, as the day of their appointment draws near, their dental anxiety levels rise. We do understand that this affects some people quite badly. If you are an anxious patient, please do discuss this with us in advance of any treatment. We can then discuss various options e.g. sedation which make the procedure pass more pleasantly and lessen any anxious feelings that may be surfacing.

In either case, if you do cancel, please arrange a new date at the same time so that you don’t forget to do so and miss seeing a dentist for some time.

The effect on our practice

The reason that we ask you to give us 48 hours notice in the event of needing to cancel is so that we can accommodate other patients who may be waiting for a quick appointment, sometimes in significant discomfort. If you advise us in advance, we can often use this cancellation to see a patient who is in some pain or needs emergency treatment. Even if you can’t give us 48 hours, please let us know, even if an emergency crops up at the last minute. Even though this makes filling that appointment slot more difficult, it can help us to find a patient locally who needs an urgent appointment.

What we try to do to help

We do understand that people’s lives don’t revolve around the dentist. To help those who find it difficult getting time from work, or for family commitments, we are open some evenings until 7pm. We are also open from 9am until 1pm on a Saturday.

Most dental practices find that cancellations are less frequent if they treat their patients well. This makes sense as, if you were rude to patients, they wouldn’t be too bothered about making life inconvenient for you. If you treat your patients with care and respect; whilst they may still need to cancel when essential, they are likely to be more conscientious about keeping their appointment and consider whether they do really need to cancel or not. The Confidental Clinic has been based in Greenwich for over 15 years now, and we are happy to have built up a good relationship with our patients, helping to keep non essential cancellations to a minimum.

Hopefully, no patient will ever feel the need to cancel because of an unpleasant experience with our team and we strive hard to avoid this. Although we have full confidence in our staff, we do take any complaint seriously, and we like to know about any issues promptly so that they can be addressed.

If you do need to cancel an appointment, or if you need an emergency appointment, please ring our Greenwich dental practice as early in the day as you can on 020 8858 1422.