Although to others as well (Govt, 2016)

Although General medicine and Surgery suffer
with non-attendance but it is specifically prevalent in dental practice (Rodriguez, Tjader, & Vargas, n.d.) leading to detrimental effects on its outcome and revenue. (Almog, Devries, Borrelli, & Kopycka-kedzierawski, n.d.) Patients may miss their dental appointments for several
reasons. Even if the reason is justifiable from the patient’s point of view, it
still has a negative impact on the clinic, which eventually trickles down to
the entire health system. The impact of missed dental appointments is not as simple
as it appears as patient not only denies dental care to himself but to others
as well (Govt, 2016) by interrupting their continuity
of care, affect workflow, waste resources,, and reduce population-wide access
to care. (Lapidos, Shaefer, & Gwozdek, 2016) The economic effect alone of dental patients missing their appointments
was estimated around 651 pounds (3250 Saudi Riyal) per appointment according to
a study conducted in United Kingdom, furthermore out of 14 million patients
seen in outpatient dental clinics per year, the national rate of nonattendance
of appointments was around 12% which costs the health ministry around 103
million pounds (Murdock& Rogers, 2002). The resources employed by the
dental clinic remain idle and underutilized while the dentist waits for patient
to show up and the next patient in line has to wait longer. From the patient’s
perspective if diagnosis of a particular problem is delayed due to missed
appointment, it delays treatment thus threatening patient’s dental health.

Most investigations regarding causal factors for
missing dental appointments have had low response rates (30-40%) and are
difficult to interpret.(Murdock, Rodgers, Lindsay, & Tham, 2002) Some common reasons previous studies have unearthed for
missing dental appointments include unforeseen circumstances, fear of dental treatment,
lack of travel facilities, laziness and forgetfulness.(Govt, 2016) Average non-attendance
rate at outpatient clinics in United Kingdom was reported to be 12% out of
which 30% claimed forgetfulness, 8% no longer felt the need for treatment while
one participant revealed that he failed to attend his appointment due to fear
of being seen by a junior doctor who he believed was inexperienced while another
stated that he was previously mistreated by management of the clinic (Murdock,
A. & Rogers, C. 2002). A similar research conducted at the Kuwait
University Dental Clinic suggested that most no-show dental appointments were significantly
influenced by complexity of the treatment planned concluding that fear factor
plays an important role in this regard as most patients were afraid of complex
procedures (root canals and extractions) frequency of which is relatively low compared
to regular check-ups (Albader, Alkandari, 2004).

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Many patients
in Saudi Arabia miss dental appointments each year, which has a significant
impact on its health care system as well as the individual clinics. No-shows
not only reduce access to care but also interrupt continuity of care and
effective disease management for patients (Rodriguez et al., n.d.). It eventually results in disruption of work in
dental clinics, wastage of the clinics resources and time, delays in other patient’s appointments and treatments.
This research aimed at finding out the factors
responsible for patients missing their dental appointments so preventive
steps could be taken in order to reduce the negative effects.






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