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New research has found that many people are failing to turn up for appointments with dental specialists.
The survey, which was conducted by Kelton Research, found that of the 53 percent of Americans who have been referred to a dental specialist, 46 percent did not attend the appointment.
This affects both the patient, who could be risking long-term health complications, and specialists, who lose on average between $953 and $5,150 every time someone fails to turn up.
Young people were shown to be particularly prone to this, with 50 percent of those aged 18 to 49 missing appointments, compared to 39 percent of patients aged 50-plus.
Rachel Bonsignore, director of Kelton Research, said: "The survey exposes the source of a fundamental knowledge disconnect between patients needing urgent and specific dental care and the specialist community that can provide that care when given the proper information."
Referrals also work the other way round, with dentists who spot the signs of problems like oral cancer then referring their patients on to a specialist in another field of medicine.
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