Should You Cancel A Dental Appointment When You’re Sick?

A routine appointment at the dentist's office may not seem like a big deal, but it does represent a commitment between you and the dentist who has set time aside for you. But sometimes it's best to cancel that appointment, even on the same day, if you suddenly come down with a surprise illness. If you're trying to decide between sticking it out at the dentist or cancelling your appointment, use these tips to make the right decision.

Oral-Related Illness

First, you should keep your appointment if there's even a chance your illness is due to or complicated by your oral health. For example, a sinus infection may be caused by a badly damaged tooth in which bacteria is traveling through the root and into the sinus cavity. Cancelling your appointment could hurt your long-term chances at recovery. If you're not sure if your condition may involve an oral health component, call the dentist and discuss how you're feeling to find out if they think there's a chance it's being caused by a gum or tooth problem.

Contagion Risk

Your dentist and fellow patients will appreciate your choice to cancel the appointment if you're contagious in any way. Of course, it's not always easy to tell if you're suffering from simple allergies or a contagious case of the cold or flu. Most illnesses only have a limited contagion period that doesn't last as long as the symptoms, so try your best to identify your illness by the symptoms and check out its specific contagion period. It's worth keeping the appointment if you're relatively sure you're not contagious since it's very disruptive to a dentist's schedule to have a patient cancel at the last minute.

Symptom Severity

Even if you're experiencing a non-contagious illness or know you're out of the contagion period, you may still decide to cancel an appointment if you're struggling with severe symptoms that would make it hard to sit through a dental exam or procedure. For example, a migraine is far from contagious, but it can make it impossible to deal with the noises of a drill or the bright lights used during the exam. Congestion is a major complication because many procedures require you to breathe through your nose for minutes at a time.

Cancellation Policy

Finally, check the dentist's individual cancellation policy before making a final decision. You may decide that your symptoms are bearable after finding out there's a steep fee for cancelling at the last minute, or you may need to provide a doctor's note verifying your condition if you choose to cancel.

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