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I am a practicing dentist in Missouri.

I strongly feel that due to the many missed appointments that my office has, I must charge a fee for missed and no show appointments.

We treat adult patients, and we explain the importance of keeping appointments to them. In answer to ones conclusion that dentists should suck it up and count it a business expense, let me say that we annually raise fees due to all the business overhead expenses looked at as a whole.

I do not feel that it is fair to charge everyone for the mistakes of a few. And neither would any of you want to see increased charges just because a few will not keep their obligations.

All I have to sell is my time, we are not like Wal-Mart where any and all can come in any time and stand in line until they are served. If we did not reserve appointment time there would only be chaos and no one would be happy.

In answer to the point that a doctor should pay the patient, I disagree, if truly the doctor and his staff are trying to seat and see patients promptly. I would agree that if the doctor did not have a good excuse then there are grounds for charging, but as a dentist I never intentionally keep my patients from being seen on time.

We allow our patients to give us a good excuse and will forgive the first time that it happens. But when patients don't call so that we can fill the slot, then a fee is necessary. I am always hoping that I can turn people's patterns around so that we can have a professional relationship in the future.

If you didn't sign anything on your first visit, then I don't believe they can make you pay. If they refuse to see you unless you pay, you should go to another office. A lot of dentist offices have a policy that they charge you for missed appointments, but they have you sign a paper agreeing to this at your first visit. Tell them you refuse to pay because you never agreed to this. Then leave and get a new dentist if they still want you to pay.

Yes.

Legally they can not bill you as far as reporting to creditors, but they can bill you internally, because the appointment you missed could of been for another paying customer.

Obviously they can as I have missed 2 appointments unintentionally and have paid an exhorbitant amount of £15 pounds per missed appointment before they see me again!

What appalls me is that the fine charged is an amount that is even more than what you pay for some dental treatments!

As an adult I find that a fine imposed on someone who has missed an appointment for genuine reasons is unnecessary. No one wants to see a dentist unless the have to. So why penalize us when we know that by making that dreadful appointment we are going to pay for it in more ways than one?

The biggest form of payment being the trauma of pain, fear and vulnerability of sitting on a dentist-chair exposed to the dentist's invasive tools. Then, having to pay for treatment when you already have to cough up thousands of pounds per year personally for "National Insurance"! And now, paying for a missed appointment which we did not intend to miss!

The missed 15 minute appointment incurs a charge of £15 at a rate of a pound per minute! One would think that this mere 15 minutes could easily have been absorbed into their already crammed workday. Perhaps to spend more quality time on the patients that they have squeezed into their working day at a ratio of maximum quota of patients seen to hours worked!

In answer, "Yes" they can charge us for missed appointments, but, they really don't have to.

I believe anyone who has missed an appointment should pay. They have wasted the time of the practitioner, time which could have been offered to another patient. I am a podiatrist and I get at least 200 patients a year miss their appointment. This equates to over £4000 in lost revenue.

I always charge a fee for a failed attendance and have successfully claimed money through small claims court if people refuse to pay.

We own a dental office and we loose so much money due to people who miss their appointments. Honestly, we would prefer not to have these people as patients. We do charge if less than 24 hours notice is giving for the cancellation or if the appointment is missed. It is very irresponsible and disrespectful for the doctor, the staff and other patients who would have wanted that slot.

I believe a dentist office should charge patients for their missed/failed appointments or cancellations without a 24 hour notice. In the case the patient is scheduled with his hygienist, he must pay the hygienist whether she has a patient in the chair or not. In our office here in California, USA the dentist pays the hygienist $50.00 per patient. Every patient that fails to show up or calls to cancel not giving the office enough time to see if they can find someone else to come in at that time should indeed be charged. It's time that patients treat physicians with some respect. If you failed to pick up your child at daycare on time you would pay the penalty. If you failed to pay your Visa on time you would pay a penalty. If you parked your car and the meter ran out and you were ticketed, you would pay the penalty. Your lawyer will charge you for your time. Your hairdresser should as anyone trying to run a business. There is a huge overhead to pay while the office sits idle. More than that. Be courteous and respectful of others time.

Happened twice in the last 5 years. The first time I said screw it and moved on to another dentist, the second time I kicked up a fuss and they backed off. A 20min check up costs ?60 - that's for an x-ray, a quick prod and brush. If any work needs done that's another ?60 - 100 at least.

When we opened our office in 2001, we did not initially charge for missed appointments. After 2 years of patients being so disrespectful and not showing for appointments we do charge $50 for a no show or late cancel. A new patient fills out paperwork and like with any contract, it clearly states that they understand that if they do not give the required 3 business days notice there will be a charge of $50. My doctors and hygienists are extremely punctual as we do not wish to be disrespectful of our patients. If a patient has to wait 5 minutes once they arrive that is a long time. We call our patients who have upcoming appointments 30 days prior to the appointed date to allow them ample time to make other arrangements. We call again 2 weeks before the appointment, 5 days before the appointment and again 24 hours before the appointment. It takes a long time to make these calls but we find it is worth it in the long run because we usually see about 200 patients per week and have approximately 10 no shows or late cancels out of that number.

I understand the rationale as expressed by several dentists here but there seems to be one-sided viewpoint here. I would be happy to agree to pay some predetermined fee should I miss an appointment and not provide the agreed upon notice IF I am also going to be paid for my time sitting in a waiting room because of over booking or poor appointment management.

I fully understand that a dentist?s time is money, so is the time of the patients. Shouldn't this work both ways?

It seems missed appointment fees are here to stay, but it is unfortunate that Doctor's offices have chosen to be cowards in business. Missed appointments are a part of business. That's life. You lose some and you win more. You don't win them all. Missed appointment fees are an attempt to win them all. All the complaining about opportunity costs associated with appointments I am sure are real. Oh well. Stand up and take the loss like a real business.

Like any business, dentists find it necessary to pass the expense of missed appointments onto their patients. Some choose to pass it directly on to those who are responsible with missed appointment fees while others choose to pass it on to all their patients through overall increased fees. When you miss an appointment, it just as though you reached into the dentist's pocket and took money out of it. It is simple as that.

Think of your dentist's office as a scheduled airline flight. When you have an appointment, a seat on that flight is reserved exclusively for you. The flight is going to take off on schedule whether you are on board or not. If you missed your flight, you are not entitled to a refund of your ticket, because the plane took off and incurred the expense without you.

If you prefer to be a patient in a practice where they apparently don't care if you show for appointments, just call around. If you look hard enough, you might find an office that is willing to accommodate you.

ANSWERThat lying dentist failed to mention he double and triple books all his appointments anyway.

I spent around $7500 for dental care at a dentist's office and never missed the appointments during that time. Most of my issues were resolved and I was given an appointment several months in the future for follow up of gingivitis care and cleaning. I missed the reminder call and the appointment. Did I get a call asking if I was OK or to reschedule my appointment because the dentist thought I needed to be seen? No, instead I got a $50 bill for missing an appointment. I was charged for not receiving any services. Now, is that a professional caring dentist? The next thing I received a was statement reviewing my insurance and how I needed to to make an appointment so their office could charge as much as possible on my insurance before the year ended. Dentists make more than physicians because their rates are not regulated by medicare and yet all I hear from dentists is how time is money and that their sorry no-show patients are showing them disrespect and are not professional. And you idiot business owners who side with them need to understand: If a dentist loses money on a no show, that is not going to shut down the dental office because they can't pay their overhead. It only means that the dentist has to settle for a Jaguar instead of a Ferrari.

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Q: Can a dental office charge you for a missed appointment?
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