Creating a recall system protocol

Set up a dental recall system

Do you measure how many patients come in when they’re due for a prophy? Are you satisfied with your results? Although benchmarks for recall success rate are difficult to find, a goal of 75% – 80% makes sense.

To keep your patients coming back for their dental cleanings, you need an organized protocol to contact them. There are a variety of ways to contact patients these days, from phone calls and letters, to emails and text messages – but when should you use which one? What should you say in your email or on the phone? And how you can you make sure that your office manager is being successful? Having a written protocol with dates and tracking will solve all these needs.

How to run your dental office protocol

To establish a protocol for your practice, you start with running reports in your dental practice management software. In Dentrix, you have the ability to run reports targeting patients due in a particular month – “without an attached appointment”. You can also choose exactly what information you want for these patients – name, cell phone, work phone, email address. With the ability to find patients due but not scheduled, you can set up a protocol for your office manager – and you can track her success. Not all practice management software packages allow you to target these patients directly, so working with Dentrix gives you a real head start on establishing a recall system. Find more ideas to customize your Dentrix program

 Looking at the variety of contact methods, I recommend starting with the least expensive method first. If you are successful with an email or text as the first contact, then you have saved money and accomplished your goal. Next, move to phone calls and as a last resort, the U.S. mail. Now you have the patients due, a progression of contacts, the next step is deciding what to say. Ask your hygienist what does she say to patients on why they need to return for their next visit – this can become the content for your recall scripts and email/letters. Finally, track your performance – if your office manager counts up how many patients she schedules each month from the list, you can establish your practice’s recall success rate and find out how you are doing. Once you know your performance, you can set a goal to improve. Improving recall success rate is an important way to increase your hygienist’s productivity and help patients stay healthy.

Running a successful dental recall system is just one way to run a successful dental practice. If you’re interested in new ideas on running a dental practice, please subscribe to my weekly blog:


One of the biggest challenges to managing a dental practice is managing dental insurance. With dental insurance handled, then dental marketing for new patients becomes a primary focus. In today’s day of online reviews, handling patient complaints well is essential. As your practice grows, hiring dental staff becomes more important. With 16+ years of dental practice management experience, I’m open to your questions to help you run a successful dental office.

Feel free to email me.

AUTHOR: Jill Nesbitt
jill@dentalpracticecoaching.com
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