I’ve always been an advocate of being respectful of patients’ time when it comes to their appointment time made with you. [by “you” I mean the dental practitioner]

What I mean is that once the patient and you [and your dental practice] have agreed upon the appointment time for the patient to next visit, the only reason for the dental practice to be changing that appointment time is if the dentist and the patient have agreed because of urgency to bring that appointment forwards, if a change or availability arises in the practice schedule.

Other than that, there should be no reason for the practice to call that patient and move their appointment.

What I sometimes see is that practices do phone patients and try to reschedule their already made appointment if for some reason that appointment time is now “inconvenient” for the dentist/hygienist.

Sadly, these “inconveniences” can be simply that the patient’s appointment could be late in the day and there are no other patients wanting to come into the practice leading up to that appointment… in reality what is happening here is that the dentist and or the practice would rather move that patient’s appointment because the original arrangement doesn’t suit the dentist or the practice any more.

The dentist doesn’t want to be waiting around for the patient and be doing nothing…

The patient’s original appointment time has now become an inconvenience for the dentist and the practice.

In so rescheduling, what the practice is doing now is telling that patient that the patient’s original appointment is now very much an INCONVENIENCE, and the dentist and the practice would rather be doing something else than seeing this patient.

A person I know really well…

A person I know really well was getting some landscaping work organised at his home.

A concreter was booked to do a pour over a two day period, but because of one day of rain during the week leading up to the scheduled pour, the pour was delayed by the concreter and rescheduled for fourteen days later.

And then when the pour was performed, it was only half done, and then the concreter went on holidays for eight weeks, and so the second half of the pour was delayed even further.

This delay by the concreter then caused a knock on effect [of months] for other trades associated with the landscaping job.

When we change a patient’s appointment time…

When we change a patient’s appointment time for our reason rather than for theirs, we immediately send the patient a message that we don’t really value their time at all.

The number one reason why dental practice patients leave their `dentist and take their patronage elsewhere is because of apathy and perceived apathy shown towards them by the dentist and the dental office.

If we indeed do want our dental patients to show us respect, we firstly must show respect towards them.

Until we do show our patients this unconditional respect of their time, and maintain their chosen appointment times, we can’t really get upset with them if their behaviour towards us is simply a mirroring of our lack of respect by us, their dentist, for their time…


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