You’ve made your dental appointment - great! Then something happens – you can’t find a ride, you get sick, you forgot you even made the appointment. It happens; the issue of missed dental appointments is too prevalent and has too many ill effects to be ignored. 

The most common reasons for missing dental appointments are:

  • Pending payments
  • Fear of pain
  • Having an emergency or circumstance
  • Ignoring dental health due to tight office timings 

The most significant factors involved were patient age, patient income, patient education, presence of pain, and patient psychology.  40% of patients who miss at least one dental appointment because they felt that there is no benefit in treatment. The first dental visit is the most important visit not only from a treatment planning point of view but also from a psychological point of view. You may regret later. One missed appointment may lead to re-treatment or repetition of your antibiotic course. It may also complicate your existing dental problem which may result in painful as well as expensive treatment alternative. For instance, if you have missed an appointment for filling, thinking that you don’t have any problem with that tooth, you may land up spending for root canal treatment which is more painful, more time taking as it requires multiple sittings and also more  expensive than a normal filling. 

Dentist may charge you extra for a missed appointment. This is because your time slot may benefit other patients too who lose to take that benefit because dentist waited for you and you wasted that slot. Missing dental appointments is completely irresponsible. Dental treatment is necessary to enhance oral health which is vital for a better quality of life. Dental treatment is not only necessary when pain is present. As stated earlier very large proportions of patients avoid the dentist and miss their dental appointments because they are afraid of having a painful experience at the dentist’s clinic. A dental appointment does not have to be a painful experience always. 

What you can do

If you are forgetful, put your appointment card or reminder on the refrigerator. Write it on your calendar right away. If you need a babysitter or ride, take care of it right away so you don’t have to scramble at the last minute.If you are afraid to go to the dentist, find a dentist you like and trust. Go see the dentist so they can help you take care of your teeth.

Worried about pain?

Dentists have lots of new ways to work on your teeth – so there is very little pain associated with anything the dentist does. Do not compare today’s dentistry with the ancient one when dentist used to keep tapping tooth with hammer!

During the first visit, you should ask your dentist about all the complications of not getting the treatment done so that you are aware of the future loss which may happen due to missed appointment. If you are going out for some days, you should make it clear with the dentist if this will make any difference in the treatment or not. Call the dentist if you can’t go to your appointment. If you are sick and can’t make your appointment. If you are going to be late. If your car breaks down, let the dentist know you can’t get there. If you can’t leave work, let the dentist know you can’t make it. 

Finally and most importantly, you must be convinced that your dentist is trustworthy and competent. A final word about keeping an appointment you schedule. When you miss an appointment it may not cost you anything, but, it does cost your dentist. The dentist holds that appointment time just for you. So keep your appointment whenever possible and if you can’t make it call the office as soon as you can. Make sure to get a dental cleaning and exam every year!