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Missed appointments, apart from being frustrating, result in the loss of finances and resources as well. On average, no-shows and last-minute cancellations can cost dentists up to $30,000 per year! Moreover, missed appointments create many other problems in dental practices. Patients who fail to turn up deprive other patients of an opportunity for treatment.

Although some no-shows are unavoidable, many of them can be eliminated.

 A dentist holding the appointment sheet while a patient sitting on a chair waits for her turn for a check-up

Effective ways to reduce appointment no-shows

Automated Reminders

The majority of no-shows are due to patients forgetting their appointment dates. But if you provide periodic reminders to your patients that will encourage them to mark their calendars and plan the month or week accordingly, not only can you significantly reduce appointment no-shows but contribute to patient loyalty as well. However, manually sending reminder messages to hundreds of patients on different days can be very time-consuming. Send automated reminders to save both time and money. The following 3 periodic reminders will give the best results:

  • A reminder seven days before the appointment if the appointment was created well in advance

  • A reminder two days before the appointment if the patient hasn't confirmed on their earlier reminder

  • A reminder 2 hours before the appointment

Pre-Paid Appointments

If the patients have paid a small fee before an appointment, they are less likely to miss it. However, convincing them to do so can be challenging. But if you offer benefits like discounts or "no-wait" on pre-paid appointments, patients will certainly show interest.

Sorry We Missed You

Not all no-shows are preventable, and some patients just cannot make it to your office on that particular day. If they miss an appointment, send them a "Sorry We Missed You" message immediately, and encourage them to get in touch with you to reschedule their appointment.

Perks on Patient Show Ups

Another effective way to reduce no-shows is rewarding the patients that keep their appointments. You can offer them a small discount on their next visit, which will encourage them to keep their appointments in the future. On the other hand, you can also charge a small fee for no-show patients.

Schedule Patients Quickly

One of the most common reasons for patients forgetting their appointments is late schedules. A patient is more likely to forget an appointment a month later than an appointment next week. Therefore, whenever a new patient makes an appointment, try to schedule it as soon as possible.

 A dentist holding the appointment sheet while the chairs are full of patients resulting in reduce appointment no-shows.


Missed appointments result in a substantial loss of time and money, but you can reduce appointment no-shows by improving patient communication, sending periodic reminders, and offering perks on show-ups.

Pavan Chakka

   May 21 6 min read

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