Importance of dental recall and top ways to improve dental recall


A dental recall system is one of the most profitable methods to generate revenue and keep your practice up and running.

Dental recall can be defined as the process of getting patients back to the practice for a routine checkup or regularly scheduled checkup appointments to help keep the patient’s oral health in check. 

To give you an idea about how important recall is let’s look at some numbers:

  • Acquiring a new patient is five times more costly than retaining an existing one
  • The probability of selling to an existing patient is 60 to 70 percent, whereas the probability of selling to a new patient is 5 to 20 percent (SEM Rush)
  • Globally, the average cost of a lost patient is nearly $243M

These reiterate how retaining a patient is more feasible and profitable than trying to acquire new ones. 

What are some of the ways to improve dental recall?

Now that we are aware of how imperative it is to invest in a system for dental recall, let’s look at some of the ways we can improve recall in your practice. 


  1. Make an appointment before the patient leaves

    Making an advance appointment for the next check-up date is a great practice that every dental practitioner should start doing. The patient may come off as a bit hesitant to make an appointment so far into the future but you can always convince them by saying that these appointments can be re-scheduled according to your availability later on. A scheduled appointment marks itself on the patient’s calendar and also gives a date for your staff to remember when to start following up with the patients.


  2. Explain the importance of a follow-up visit to the patients

    You should take a few minutes of your appointment time with the patient to explain the importance of regular checkups. Many expensive treatments can be avoided if they get detected early on. This allows the patients to stay in good health and save time and money. Reiterate how scheduling a follow-up appointment is in the patient’s interest.


  3. Put up noticeable cues in your office

    You can put up small things such as posters depicting the importance of regular checkups or the repercussions of inconsistent checkups in your reception or waiting area. Instructions on how to schedule an appointment can also be put up to make it easier for the patients to remember how to schedule the next appointment.


  4. Equip your staff for recall responsibilities

    Training your staff to handle recall cases could go a long way. Everything from following up with patients to solving their queries could be among some of the topics to cover in the training.


  5. Use varied communication channels

    Text messaging is arguably the most popular communication means right now, with it 98% open rate. However, one can argue that there are still going to be some people out there who prefer calling or email. Leaving it to chance is not a good idea. If you haven’t asked your patient what their preferred mode of communication is, you should start off by sending appointment reminders via text and email. Calling can also be another medium of communication. Once it is clear which channel the patient prefers you can continue using it instead.


  6. Use an automated dental recall system

    To improve efficiency with dental recall in your practice you should consider using an automated recall system. There are a variety of platforms out there that help automate the entire process of dental recall. It works in such a way that as soon as a patient leaves your practice they get added to a recall list in the software. This software will keep track of the patient’s next scheduled check-up and send appointment reminders days or weeks before the appointment. It also gives you the freedom to choose when and how many times a reminder will be sent to a particular patient.

    You can use patient interaction and engagement software like Emitrr to automate dental recall.


  7. Build a personal connect with your patients

    Personal connects with your patients can go a long way. You can set up text message automation or email automation to wish a patient on their birthday. These small steps will reiterate to the patient that you care. Text message automation platforms often have these capabilities.


  8. Gather feedback from your patients

    Patient feedback is a great way to understand how your patients are experiencing and perceiving your services. It gives them the space to talk about their experience freely and allows you to improve upon any areas that need improvement. Receiving feedback and working on it also demonstrates to the patient that you care about providing them with the best services. This will further help you in building a better relationship with your patients.
    Another advantage of collecting feedback is that you can ask your patients to leave a review for your practice. This will help build trust in your dental practice.


  9. Incentivize patient visits

    Rewarding your patients with services or discount offers for continuously keeping up their appointments can ensure patient loyalty and also up your dental recall numbers.


  10.  Include Clear CTA’s

    If your a sending out an appointment reminder text, an email, or even a printed postcard, make it easy for patients to take an action. In other words, include a clear Call to Action or CTA. For example, if you send a text include a CTA such as ‘reply to this message with C to confirm your appointment’. If you send a postcard, include your contact information on it. 

What are the benefits of a dental recall system?

  1. Increased patient retention

    As you are actively engaged with your patients regarding their scheduled visit, it results in more and more patients turning up on the appointment day with a reduction in patient no-shows. These things will add up and improve patient retention in your practice.

  2. Better doctor-patient relationships

    As you personalize your conversations with your patients and actively engage with them and take their feedback, they will feel valued. Apart from the required appointment reminder communication, sending resources and newsletters to help educate the patient about their health will also form a better relationship with the patient. Birthday messages are also a plus! 


  1. Improved practice operations

    Instead of spending hours on the phone trying to call your patients individually to remind them about their appointment, your staff can focus on growth strategies to help you bring in new patients.

  2. Increased ROI

    Dentists aren’t called “file cabinet millionaires” for nothing. It’s like sitting under a goldmine as there is serious production hiding in the average practice’s existing files. You can start by looking at patients who have gone dormant, or are behind on their recall – getting those patients to come back regularly adds thousands. Best of all, you can reach out to them automatically with your patient communication software without adding hours of work to your front desk. 


Dental recall makes up for a very vital part of the operation of every practice. It helps you to keep generating revenue and keep the patient’s health in check. The process of dental recall requires constant effort from your side. Building healthy relationships with patients and keeping in constant touch helps improve the entire process. By using a dental recall system a lot you will be able to save time and improve efficiency. These platforms will help you automate messages across texts and emails to ensure maximum engagement with patients. 

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