AUGUSTA, Maine — Tired of missed appointments and late-shows, local dentist George Messner has started sending unfriendly appointment reminders to patients.
“The usual ‘A friendly reminder from your dentist’ just wasn’t working anymore. People were showing up late or not at all, and I was losing out on availability and money,” Messner said. “So I’ve been trying something different lately.”
Instead of postcards with pictures of smiling or dancing tooth characters, Messner has switched to cards with a picture of a cavity drill dripping blood and the words “Show up on time for your cleaning or else.”
One recipient of the new cards, Augusta Savings and Trust manager Sheila Blackwell, said the reminder worked for her.
“I would see the happy tooth card and roll my eyes and toss it to the side with the other junk mail, but when I got the bloody drill card, I was terrified!” Blackwell said. “I called and made an appointment right away.”
After one patient failed to show up for his appointment even after Messner sent him one of the horrifying reminder cards, Messner hired a local bouncer to knock on the patient’s door at midnight to schedule a new appointment. Reports that Messner was revving an oversized dental saw in the shadows of the porch at the time are unconfirmed.
The unfriendly reminders seem to be working for Messner’s practice.
“I’ve had a 95% decrease in missed appointments,” Messner said, “but some people just aren’t getting the message, so I’ve started breaking into their homes at 2 AM and writing on their bathroom mirrors with toothpaste. NOTHING is more important than dental health.”