Funniest Dental Patient Excuses

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In this survey, we asked dentists about the funniest excuses they've heard from patients for missing appointments. The clear winner was the toothache defense: "My tooth hurts too bad to get out of bed."

Other highlights include, "My windshield wipers aren’t working and it might rain," "I had to go shopping for my daughter’s bat mitzvah dress," and "I went a movie instead."

The toothache defense

  • "I can’t come in today because I have a toothache!'” (Florida dentist)
  • “'My tooth hurts too bad to get out of bed.'” (Florida dentist)
  • “Had a lady call to cancel her recare appointment at the last minute because she ‘had a toothache.'” (West Virginia dentist)
  • "They could not make their dental appointment because they had a bad
    toothache.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “When in dental school, I was handed a note that my patient had canceled because she had a terrible toothache. The note made it into the yearbook.” (Illinois dentist)

Wow… that's a legitimate excuse!

  • “A model doing a photo shoot said she was bitten by a lion. A cop was involved in a shoot out.” (New York endodontist)
  • “'I got hit by a train.”' (North Carolina dentist)
  • “The patient was in jail!” (Virginia dental office worker)

Are you kidding me?

  • “One patient wanted to know if his insurance would cover the broken appointment fee!” (General dentist)
  • “We always document patients' excuses when missing an appointment. Sometimes the same grandparent passes away unexpectedly two or three times in the same year!!” (Texas dentist)
  • “'I was here a 6:30 but the office was closed'… Well, we ARE closed at 6:30am!!” (New York dental office worker)
  • “'I can’t get out of the driveway because of snow'… There was no snow on the ground.” (Ohio pediatric dentist)
  • “One patient told me, 'My windshield wipers aren’t working and it MIGHT rain.' It was summer in San Antonio and there was a 0% chance of rain in the forecast. Needless to say, I got rid of that patient!” (Arkansas orthodontist)

Really? You couldn't have done that another time?

  • “She had to go shopping for her daughter's bat mitzvah dress.” (Connecticut periodontist)
  • “'I can’t open the drapes in my living room. I need to stay and wait for the electrician to fix the motor on my electric drapes.'” (California dentist)
  • “'I have a hangnail.' Also, 'My dog has diarrhea.'” (North Carolina dentist)
  • “'I will come later.'” (General dentist)
  • “'The grass was so high I just had to mow it.'” (Kansas dentist)
  • “'I went to a movie instead.'” (India periodontist)

Now, that's just strange

  • “A groundhog chewed a hole in the radiator of the patient's truck.” (West Virginia dentist)
  • “'I lost my car keys while jumping on my trampoline.'” (Connecticut dentist)
  • “'The goats got loose!'” (Maryland pediatric dentist)

Blame it on the dog

  • “'My dog ate my appointment card.'” (Arizona dentist)
  • “'My dog got sprayed by a skunk.'” (New York dentist)
  • “'My dog has a grooming appointment.'” (California dentist)

TMI = Too Much Information

  • “One time a patient said they had the flu, and while they were driving to their appointment they sharted their pants, so they said that they had to go home and change their dirty pants, and by that time the appointment would be over.” (Alabama dentist)

Top Ten Reasons to Delay Dentistry

  • “Jim- I made them into a Top Ten List…" (Ohio dentist)
    1. I’d rather just continue taking aspirin.
    2. The weather’s too bad.
    3. The weather’s too good.
    4. I’ll chew on the other side.
    5. I vibrate on an astral plane that transcends mere physical appearance.
    6. Let’s wait until I get my tax refund.
    7. My insurance company doesn’t care what I look like.
    8. I don’t want to go to my grave with perfect teeth.
    9. If G_d had intended that I have sweet smelling breath, She wouldn’t have put plaque on my teeth.
    10. Let's wait until it gets really bad.

The "Cancellation Blues"

  • “Check out my ‘Cancellation Blues’ song on my website ( and listen to all the excuses that patients use to cancel! This is from my dental comedy album ‘SPIT HAPPENS!’ Check out my videos of my performances across the country for dental groups from Florida to Alaska." (Dr. Dan, "America's Funniest Dentist")


Note: Survey sample included 35 respondents.

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