Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Rescheduling Appointments Due to Office Closures

Due the pandemic crisis, dental practices around the country have been closed for non-emergency procedures since last month. Most will have to remain closed until the end of April, and some until mid-May. I’ve had many questions about what to do when it comes to rescheduling appointments that were missed while the office was closed.

Here are my recommendations:

Let’s assume that you have been closed since March 24th, and that you have already contacted your patients to tell them that you would not be open, and that you would be rescheduling their appointments over the coming weeks and months.

Now, you are beginning to work through your Appointment Book to reschedule those appointments. Starting on March 24th, you should start with the patients that were scheduled that day and remove their appointments from the Appointment Book. To do that, double-click each individual appointment to open the Appointment Information window, and select Wait/Will Call. By selecting Wait/Will Call, the appointment will be removed from the Appointment Book and added to the Unscheduled List--and all of the appointment information (procedures, providers, etc) are still attached to the appointment.

Note: You don’t want to simply delete appointments from the Appointment Book. If you delete an appointment, there will be no way to track it or the procedures that were attached to it.

Then, when you are ready to reschedule those March 24th appointments, you can open the Unscheduled List, and sort it by date, easily identifying those appointments that were originally on that date. You can use the Unscheduled List to contact patients to reschedule because the list contains all the information you need: patient name, procedures and providers attached to the appointment, and the patient’s phone number to call. Rescheduling the appointment from the Unscheduled List is easy because you can simply drag the appointment directly to the new appointment time in the Appointment Book, or to the Pinboard to reschedule it.

Once you have moved all the appointments from March 24th to the Unscheduled List, I would suggest you edit your practice schedule and close the practice in the Dentrix Appointment Book for that date. The purpose of closing the practice in Dentrix is for accurate reporting. The Dentrix Practice Advisor Report calculates unfilled hours and the value of those unfilled hours so you can track lost revenue. Unfilled hours are calculated by looking at the hours/days that the practice is open, and that the provider is available, but not seeing a patient. Since your office is not open, you won’t want Dentrix to include these hours in the report. Click HERE for information on how you can close the office on selected dates in the Appointment Book.

Repeat these steps for each day your office has been closed.

When it comes to rescheduling those patient appointments, I plan to wait to reschedule any appointments until closer to our official re-open date. For now, in Florida, dental practices have to wait until at least May 8th to resume routine procedures. But, since those recommendations are changing constantly, I plan to wait until closer to that date to begin contacting patients about rescheduling. That way I’ll avoid having to reschedule the appointment again, should those recommendations change.

Using the Wait/Will Call status within the Unscheduled List can help you to reschedule patients once your office is open again. Closing the office to reflect the practice schedule can help with future reporting.

For additional resources during this time, see the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources For Your Practice article on the Dentrix Magazine online site.

Please e-mail me with any questions at

Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at

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