Has your dentist blacklisted you?

The daily Het Nieuwsblad has given prominence to a growing phenomenon: more and more dentists are blacklisting patients who repeatedly postpone their appointment or simply don't turn up and fail to inform their dentist.

Patients who are blacklisted in this way will struggle to get an appointment in future.  The Flemish association of dentists says the blacklisting is happening because so many dentists are wasting time as a result of unreliable patients.  Patients who fail to turn up also mean loss of earnings.

The association says it understands why its members are succumbing to this practice when patients miss several appointments.  Dentists have a right to refuse patients unless there is an urgent situation.

The association's Yann Van Hoecke: "I believe every dentist will act in line with his or her conscience.  We're talking about long appointments of an hour or longer and if nobody turns up it costs money."

Blacklisting patients doesn't hurt dentists as many patients are having a hard time finding a dentist given existing demand.

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