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J Dent Hyg. 2016 Jun;90(3):203-11.

Do Waiting Times in Dental Offices Affect Patient Satisfaction and Evaluations of Patient-Provider Relationships? A Quasi-experimental Study.



Spending time in waiting rooms prior to dental visits is not uncommon for dental hygiene patients. The objectives were to determine if the length of a patients' waiting time affected their satisfaction with the appointment and their evaluation of their provider. In addition, the patient's level of education and whether the dental visit is a first visit will be examined to determine if these affected the outcome.


Survey data were collected from 399 adult patients who came for regularly scheduled visits to a dental school clinic. The patients ranged in age from 19 to 93 years (mean=52 years; SD=16.9). For 29% of the patients, this visit was the first visit with this provider.


The patients whose providers were early (n=65) were more satisfied, more likely to plan to follow their provider's recommendation and evaluated their relationship with their provider more positively than patients whose providers were on time (n=283), while the patients in the "late" group (n=32) showed the most negative responses to all questions. Patients from higher educational backgrounds were most negative in their responses when their providers were late. Patients with a first visit whose providers were late had the most negative evaluations of the patient-provider relationship.


Long waiting times prior to a scheduled dental appointment have a negative effect on patients' satisfaction with their visit, the evaluations of the patient-provider relationship and the patients' intentions to return.


dental hygienists; dentist-patient relationships; dentists; patient appointment; patient compliance; patient cooperation; patient satisfaction; patient schedule; patients

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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