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You've appointed a dental patient, but do you have true confirmation that they'll show up? Dental practices have a lot of ways to confirm appointments, but consultant Shelley Renee says this one still works best.


Did you get an answer from the patient?

When confirming the appointments of your dental patients, you need to hear directly from the patient that they are coming. Dental practices send out reminder messages and many do not request a reply. Many practices don’t call patients who do not respond. Every day, dental offices leave messages on text, in email, on voicemail, and with a relative who answers the phone.

Effective call-coaching with Patient Prism. Schedule a demo ›Confirmation means it’s a sure thing. The patient is committed to arrive. If you have had a direct response from the patient, you do not have a confirmation.


If you did not get an answer, contact again.

There are many schools of thought on the timing of sending out emails, texting, and phoning. It doesn’t work unless you have a system to get an answer. Many offices have a series of different contacts.

  1. If you have not heard back from the patient after leaving a series of messages via text and email, I recommend that you pick up the telephone. A simple phone message that encourages the patient to call back:

“Mrs. Jones, I am calling to confirm the appointment you reserved with us for Tuesday at 3:00. Please call back to confirm this with me.”

  1. If you still do not hear back, the appointment has not been confirmed. You need to hear from Mrs. Jones, so try again. The message you leave on the second try follows:

“Mrs. Jones, I left a message yesterday. I am concerned that I have not heard from you. Could you please call me before noon today to let me know that you are keeping your appointment?”

  1. If you have still not heard from Mrs. Jones after multiple messages and calls, you may have a situation where you should release the appointment. So as not to upset Mrs. Jones if she arrives for the appointment, I always give the patient a warning. I call again and leave a third message to give the patient an opportunity.

“Mrs. Jones, I am concerned that I have not heard from you. I may need to release your appointment time for another patient.”

Yes, I have had to do this. I’ve even had to leave a fourth message indicating that I have released their appointment to another patient. When I know the patient is likely to be a no show, after fair warning, I fill the appointment slot from my wait list of patients who want an appointment. So, the next time you have a patient who is not responding to confirmation messages, try this series of phone calls.

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The Patient Prism blog and the Patient Prism Academy video library feature hundreds of dental industry experts presenting recommendations and examples for leading and growing your dental practice, multi-practice group, or DSO. We have many videos from practice management coaches that provide advice for improving patient communication and scheduling. We invite you to schedule a Patient Prism demo at a date and time that is convenient for you. 

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