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Everyone deserves the opportunity to change their mind.

Now, I know you might be thinking that I’m referring to the patient who calls to cancel their appointment for what they often believe is a very good reason.

Well, yes, I am referring to this patient.

But, you see, I don’t believe this patient needs to be given an opportunity to cancel or change their appointment.

What they need to be given is the opportunity to change their mind about cancelling or changing their appointment.


Sometimes at the Dental Office a patient will call to cancel their appointment. Our Dental Offices may be busy, busy and the easiest and quickest reply to a cancellation call is often to accept it and listen to the patient say,  “I will call you back to make another appointment”.

And the answer from our Offices is often “OK” and even “Thank You”!!


The patient now believes it is OK to cancel their appointments and they will be thanked for calling and cancelling!

Here’s my advice:

If a cancellation call comes into your Dental Office never be in a rush….no matter what.

Take the time to think and ask the right questions.

You do have a duty of care to this patient to give them an opportunity to change their mind and not cancel their appointment.

The appointment was made for a very good reason and often there is urgency and concern that needs to be reinforced with the caller.

Ask if they can change a few things to keep their appointment.

Let them know the dentist is concerned they will not be coming in.

If you don’t ask for them to keep this appointment they definitely won’t.

You also need to think very carefully about the language you use to set up the appointment in the first place. Asking the patient if they are aware of what can happen if they don’t come in for this treatment is a great question to ask.

Having the caller keep their appointment can be as simple as getting this part right in the beginning.

If the patient has little concern or urgency for their treatment then of course it will be top of the list to call and cancel if a better offer comes along.

It can be tough. We all know even for ourselves, that Dental Treatment is not at the top of the list of favourite things to do for the day. But knowing what can happen if we don’t go ahead can be so concerning that cancelling the appointment just isn’t an option.

I received a call the other day from a new Patient who said he had been seeing another dentist and knew he needed treatment but didn’t go ahead because he was too busy to fit it in. He then got a massive toothache during the week and hoped it would go away. He waited until the weekend desperately needing treatment.

What happened here was that the dentist and front office did not build up enough concern with this patient and create understanding in the patient’s mind that once the tooth starts to ache then it won’t go away until the tooth is treated.

So next time a call comes in from a patient to cancel their appointment, take a deep breath, think, and ask them if they know what can now happen if……

Give your patients the gift of changing their mind.


This blog will feature simple practical ideas that are easy to implement tomorrow in your Dental Office, impacting immediately on your Patients’ Dental  Phone Experiences, and ultimately, improving your practice profitability.

At present I have availability for two new private clients. For more information on how I can improve your Dental Office’s Phone Numbers contact me, Jayne Bandy at  jayne@theDPE.com

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