Time and time again I hear dental receptionists rescheduling appointments for patients at dental practices with no mention of what the appointment is for.
The appointment is for necessary dental treatment.
Yet dental receptionists are consistently allowing patients to delay, defer and postpone appointments that those patients have previously made and confirmed, without any reference at all back to the purpose of the appointment, and the necessary treatment that has been diagnosed.
The appointment is being discussed as if it is a bus.
“You can’t make this bus? That’s OK. There’s another bus coming in fifteen minutes.”
I never hear any mention to the treatment that will be being performed at the appointment the patient is moving.
I never hear any reference to the condition being treated at the appointment that the patient wants to defer, or delay, or postpone.
Often I hear this:
“That’s OK. Would you like to make another one?”
We all know that not getting dental treatment done when it should be done allows cavities to get bigger, pockets to get deeper, infections to get worse… the list goes on.
A dental appointment is not an appointment to “catch up for a coffee.”
It is a scheduled appointment to remove pathology that will not and does not fix itself.
Minimalising the reason and purpose for the appointment does not do your patient any favours.
When you say to your patient that their appointment is “only for a cleaning” what you are really saying is this:
“I’m allowing you to let pathological bacteria to infect your gums and continue to spread and proliferate and do damage inside your mouth…”
When you allow your patient to delay or postpone the appointment that is for “just a filling” you are really allowing them to:
“let dental decay eat away at sound tooth structure and advance closer to the dental nerve…”
Allowing patients to delay and cancel and defer necessary dental treatment doesn’t do the patients any favours.
Dental appointments are scheduled for a reason.
It is the duty of your practice to see that the appointment is kept and the necessary treatment is performed as diagnosed by the dentist.
And not delayed or deferred, allowing the pathological condition to deteriorate.
Your role as a dental professional is to help patients to prevent unnecessary permanent deterioration and destruction of bodily tissue.
Allowing patients to choose to delay necessary treatment is not optimal standard of care.
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