Lost Through the Cracks

August 10, 2017 3:40 pm Published by Leave your thoughts


What is the most valuable asset of your dental practice? Is it the equipment? Your education? Your team?

The answer – none of those.

Time. Your time is one of the few things you can’t replace, and much of it is lost through the cracks whenever a patient cancels or simply no-shows. How do you make the best use of a suddenly empty block of time?

3 Things to Do When Patients No-Show

When patients miss their appointments, make the best use of your time with these three tips.

  1. Reconnect with old patients who fell off the radar. Many of your best patients are simply not in need of emergency dental work and have not scheduled cleanings. Now is a great time to make a personal call to patients you’d like to see again and remind them that they are long overdue for checkups.
  1. Commit time to patient care. Beyond treating cavities and preventing gingivitis, you need to give your patients a little tender, loving care to go with the clinical care. Use your breather to handwrite thank-you cards, prepare gift baskets, or pick up gift cards for your best patients.
  1. Have an impromptu meeting. In the rare event that the team has a collective moment free, organize a team strategy session. Keep a list or agenda that anyone can contribute to (perhaps on a whiteboard) for discussion when these times come up. Some topics include an after-action report for a lost patient, team building, or discussing particular patients who deserve special treatment.

If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality. ~Ben Franklin


No practice is immune from no-shows or last-minute cancellations. It’s best to prevent them in the first place , but when it happens, time is of the essence.

Call patients to remind them that they are late. Depending on just how late the notice is (if any) and how long the appointment was planned for, you might be able to fill their slot with a new patient, or bump a future patient up in priority.

If you’re unable to fill a valuable time slot with treatment, then use that time wisely.

Like most dentists, you probably have a laundry list of tasks that need your attention. While you might be able to find plenty to do, don’t let a missed appointment result in a lack of productivity for everyone.


~Linda O’Grady


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This post was written by Linda

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