There’s only one thing that irks me more in a dental practice than patients cancelling dental appointments, and that’s dental practice staff members who allow patients to cancel dental appointments.

Patients make appointments at a dental surgery to receive necessary treatment.

That necessary treatment is to rectify a problem or an area of concern.

If that treatment is deferred, or delayed, then the problem that is meant to be being rectified will get worse because the treatment would have been less invasive if it had been done earlier rather than later.

Delaying treatment of cracks in teeth, and of removal of decay, and of treating gum infections only allows the cracks to spread, the decay to get deeper, and the gum infections to get worse.

These dental conditions do not heal themselves.

Not dealing with these conditions with a degree of urgency only allows the conditions to fester and exacerbate.

Dental patients must be alerted to the time-sensitive nature of dental conditions and dental treatment. And from my observations, most dental patients are not aware that dental treatment is time-sensitive.

I remember, a few years ago now, enjoying some afternoon refreshments with a neighbourhood couple, who were about my own age, and the lady remarked that if she’d been told “all those years ago that she should have been having her teeth professionally cleaned more frequently [than she had been], and by a hygienist and a periodontist [which she wasn’t]” then her mouth wouldn’t have been in the state it now was [of losing teeth and needing implants].

Putting it simply, because of lack of education from her dentist, and years of supervised neglect [from her dentist], this neighbour was now orally in a far worse place than she really should have been.

Her dentist had inflicted his values, or LACK OF VALUES, on this patient, and probably was doing the same thing to every other patient in his practice.

It horrifies me…

It horrifies me when I hear patients phone in to a dental practice to cancel or defer their six-month hygiene visit, or maintenance visit, or scale and clean visit…. [call it what you will] …. and they say to the dental team member:

“Nothing needs to be done. It’s just a clean”

Or they say:

“It’s just for a clean, I don’t think there’s anything that needs to be done.”

And the dental office team member says:

“That’s OK.”

And follows that with:

“Would you like to make a new one?”

There’s a reason for all dental appointments….

Every dental appointment is made to treat a condition that is REAL and EXISTS.

And as such every dental appointment needs to be kept, and if it can’t be kept, it needs to be rescheduled WITH URGENCY.

Allowing patients to cancel and defer made appointments with a “That’s OK” seal of approval from the dental receptionist is like opening up the prison gates every morning and telling the inmates who leave to “have a nice day and make sure you come back”…..

It’s like living in La-La Land….

Patients need to know that their teeth and gums are being treated [and cleaned] for a number of specific reasons.

It’s not “just a clean”.

It’s never “just a clean”.

There’s always a reason.


We have a distinct set of scripts and protocols we recommend and teach that helps our clients to close and lock the turnstile of patients cancelling and deferring necessary treatment. If you’d like to know more, please email


Dr. David Moffet BDS FPFA CSP is a certified CX Experience coach. David works with his wife Jayne Bandy to help SME businesses improve their Customer Service Systems to create memorable World Class experiences for their valued clients and customers. Click here to find out how David and Jayne can help your business