SMS Reminders Would Reduce Missed Dental Appointments

SMS messages are quick and convenient for both the sender and the recipient, which is why they have proven to be such a successful reminder tool.

You have probably been in a situation where an appointment was booked months in advance yet you didn’t remember until the day of the appointment – or in some cases not at all.

According to a study carried out by the British Dental Association, 3.5 million dental appointments are missed every year in Britain, costing dental practices across the country valuable time and money, increasing waiting lists for appointments unnecessarily and in some cases resulting in fines for the patient.

When a patient cancels last minute or doesn’t turn up at all, it is almost impossible to fill this slot at such short notice, a simple text reminder prior to the appointment could dramatically reduce this risk.


Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation Dr Nigel Carter said: “A text message is a very simple, efficient and cost effective way of communicating in modern society.”

Trials in India have already proven successful with a recent study showing four out of five patients who received a text reminder were on-time to their dental appointments.

Some practices in the UK are already using SMS reminders to improve patient attendance, however, it is not yet common practice for every dental practice meaning many appointments are still being missed across the country.

Why is SMS such a successful tool for appointment reminders?

With smartphone penetration at an all-time high in the UK, and increasing daily, reaching out to customers on their mobile ensures you are communicating to them in a way we know they love are confident using every day.

SMS messages can be sent instantly or scheduled in advance making them flexible for planning and handy for last minute reminders.

A reminder doesn’t need to be more than a few words to confirm the location, date and time of the appointment meaning a short SMS is the perfect communication solution for both sender and recipient without getting bogged down in costly post or filling email inboxes.

It’s not just dental practices experiencing missed appointments – nobody wants an empty slot in their appointment diary! Have you considered trying SMS to increase your attendance rate?

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