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Leah Crites20-Aug-216 min read

Why Is a Recall System So Important to a Dental Practice?

Let’s be honest; it can be hard to get your patients coming back for their routine appointments. And as dental industry experts, we can’t say we’re surprised – about 36% of patients have dental anxiety, an issue that keeps patients from attending their appointments and possibly leading to further oral health issues. Add in outdated phone and email reminders, disorganized patient information systems, and your regular day-to-day workload, you might even wonder how you’re able to remind patients of their appointments at all!

As a dentist, it’s your responsibility to help your patients understand how vital their regular appointments are. Without them, you won’t be able to grow your practice the way you want, and you may even struggle to keep your doors open.

The answer to these issues is a reliable and efficient recall system. If you’re not familiar with recall systems and how they benefit practices all over the country, we’re going to dive into the nitty-gritty of what makes them essential for patients and doctors alike. By using an advanced recall system, you’ll keep your patients happy, your team relaxed, and your practice growing!

What is a Recall System?

A recall system, like the ones we offer at RecallMax, is an advanced (yet easy-to-use) tool that combines appointment schedules and analytics to help improve your practice’s efficiency and profitability. A quality recall system should keep schedules of patient appointments as well as execute effective appointment reminders.

The main difference between other recall systems and RecallMax is the level of support we provide. Not only do we help manage patient appointment schedules and send effective reminders regularly, but we can track cancelled appointments, treatment plans, and can even organize daily tasks for your team to ensure you never skip a beat!

The main goal of a recall system, though, is to make your life easier. At RecallMax, we can customize your RecallMax plan to best suit your practice and it’s current workflow.

3 reasons why a recall system is so important to a dental practice

Patient’s Health & Preventative Care

While our primary goal is to make your life easier, yours is to serve your patients. Recall appointments are the best way to ensure your patients follow their dental treatment plans and catch issues before they cause permanent oral health problems.

Regular dental checkups can help detect oral diseases like gingivitis, periodontitis, and oral cancer early in their development, giving you and your team time to provide effective treatment. On top of this, regular dental exams have helped patients maintain normality in their lives, as 39% of Canadians report losing time to dental-related issues.

Recall Earns Recurring Revenue for Your Practice

Developing a steady revenue stream is essential for remaining competitive in your community. One of the only ways to achieve this is through recall appointments.

Not only does 80% of your revenue come from retaining regular patients, but it can cost up to 5 times more to attract newcomers to your practice! There are several ways to retain your patients and keep them coming back to their appointments. 

Some include:

  • Being respectful of your patient’s time.
  • Being warm and friendly.
  • Providing extra comforts like a television to watch, a small playroom in the waiting room, or even noise-cancelling headphones.
  • Follow-up messages regarding their experience.

Excellent service means going above and beyond for every patient every time they visit. By baking these practices into your team’s workflow, it’ll be easy to provide a “WOW” factor for everyone who arrives at your practice.

A dentist with their arms crossed smiling as her dental practice has increased performance due to a recall system

Improve Your Practice Performance

Now that we’ve talked about your patient’s experience and how regular appointments benefit them, it’s time to look at how recall systems improve your team’s performance.

Life happens from time to time, and patients will inevitably have to cancel their appointments for various reasons. However, these cancellations can have a considerable impact on your team’s productivity, increasing wait times and lowering your patient’s satisfaction. A recall system can help minimize these cancellations by adequately reminding your patients of their appointments.

An advanced recall program can also give you a glance at how your practice operates. Patients can receive surveys and questionnaires that will help you understand where you can improve your patient experience. On top of this, you can track your team’s performance so you can adjust your services accordingly.

Appointment Frequency

How often your patients visit you can depend on their needs, so there is no way to know how often you should book patients until you’ve had a couple of appointments with them. But there are a couple of strategies to minimize the chance of them cancelling or rescheduling their appointments.

Book Appointments Early

Always book your patient’s next appointment before they leave your practice. If your patient is unsure of their schedule, you can always book their appointment and make regular confirmation calls to nail down the date.

A quality recall system can also send email reminders that include simple ways to confirm appointments at the click of a button.

Schedule Family Members at the Same Time

Scheduling your patient’s family members is also a great way to generate recurring revenue. Instead of relying on individual appointment times, families can bring in multiple appointments all at once and exponentially your potential return rate.

While adults may only need to have a dental exam and cleaning once every year, children should have dental exams every 6 months. Regular appointments can also help you determine if the child you’re tending needs specific treatments like braces.

Reminding Your Patients

In our 1, 2, 3 Recall guide, we outlined the most effective ways for securing regular patients. However, there is a right and wrong way to keep your patients in the loop regarding their appointments.

Whenever you execute a recall plan, make sure you keep these points in mind:

Follow-Up Calls and Reminders

Follow-up calls and reminders are essential for recall appointments (forgetfulness is responsible for 44% of missed appointments). Still, they can be annoying for a patient if you contact them too often. Instead of calling or leaving a voicemail message as often as possible, please wait until it’s closer to your patient’s appointment to remind them.

You could start by sending a confirmation email, then give your patients a courtesy call a day before the appointment. You should also check with your patient to confirm their preferred mode of communication, be it text, phone, or emails.

Best Times to Call

As a general rule, it’s best to send appointment reminders closer to their appointment time. Researchers have found that patients have a higher chance of showing up if you remind them 3 days and 1 day before their appointment.

Get The Most from Your Recall System Today

Recall systems are essential for operating a successful dental practice; they improve your team’s workflow while also maximizing how many patients you can see from day to day. With the power of RecallMax by your side, we can help you grow your practice revenue by 15 to 20% while you focus on providing an exceptional experience for your patientsContact us today to book a demo and start your free trial!


Leah Crites

Leah started her career in the dental industry in 2002, managing one of North America’s largest dental practices. From there she moved on to run her own practice management consultancy firm, which focused on system development, implementation and performance analysis. Over the course of her career, and backed with over two decades of invaluable experience, Leah has become an expert in optimizing practices to deliver long-term growth. Now, as Vice President of Client Success at RecallMax™, Leah utilizes her passion to develop advanced education programs and provide consultative advice to dental practices across Canada and the USA. Leah is a Founding Advisory Board Member at Women in DSO, established in 2019 to empower and develop women leaders in the DSO and dental industry.