Missed Appointment Letter For Dentists

“You train people how to treat you.”

                                                 -Dr. Phil

 

Many dental offices are reporting that it is more difficult than ever to keep the schedule filled. Patients can be more likely today to cancel or fail their appointments. However it does not have to be this way! You can train your patients to value their appointments in your office.

One of the most common questions I get when I am presenting a course is, “Should we charge a cancellation fee if the patient cancels an appointment on short notice?” This is a great question and is a challenge that every dental office faces.

To begin to answer that question it is important to recognize the difference between a patient who generally keeps their appointments and the ‘repeat offenders’. You must have a system for dealing with the repeat offenders so they have some consequences for failing their appointments, otherwise you are condoning their behavior. This can be done in a firm, yet caring manner.

Below is the letter that our office sends to patients who have shown a pattern of broken or failed appointments. Feel welcome to use this letter as-is or modify it to suit:

Dear {insert Patient’s Name}:

We are writing in regards to your missed appointment on {insert time and date}.

A missed dental appointment presents problems for us both. For you, a missed dental appointment causes a delay in treatment that was recommended to help improve your dental health.

For our office, a missed dental appointment prevents us from scheduling another patient that could benefit from treatment. We schedule individual time with each patient to allow us to deliver the quality, personal care that every patient deserves.

Our accountant has recommended that we charge a $150 missed appointment fee for failed appointments. However, this doesn’t feel right to us. Here’s what we are going to do. We are simply going to ask you to be very faithful about keeping all future dental appointments.

We understand that things happen and schedules do change and we ask that in the future you provide us with at least 48 hours notice for any appointment changes. Failure to provide at least a 48 hour notice for changed appointments will result in your dismissal from the practice.

We value you as a patient and look forward to seeing you for future appointments.

In good health,

Paul Nielson DDS

Dr. Phil is absolutely right! You do indeed train people how to treat you. Consider using the letter provided in this blog post as a tool to retrain your patients to value the dental appointments in your practice by emphasizing the benefits they receive by keeping their appointments.

Keep Smiling!