An Effective Recall Program for Dental Practices

Too many times in dental practices, working the recall system is done as a reaction to a slow schedule.  When the practice is reasonable busy, recall is forgotten.  Obviously this is not the best approach for keeping the hygiene schedule as strong as possible.


A proactive recall system is much more effective for keeping the schedule consistently productive.  And the first element of that system is to contact unscheduled and overdue recall patients every two months using two types of contact.  Remember two and two.

For example, for recall patients who are due in November and who are unscheduled, the dental practice sends postcards at the start of November and then makes calls in mid November if patients fail to respond.  Two types of contact.  Patients who do not schedule in November are contacted again—postcard and phone call—two months later in January.  If they fail to schedule in January, they are contacted again two months later in March.  Two types of contact every two months, which goes on for a full year.


During the second year, unscheduled recall patients are still contacted every two months, but the practice only uses one type of contact, either a postcard or call.  This allows more time to concentrate on patients who are less than one year past due. Then after two years, unscheduled recall patients receive a reactivation letter encouraging them to contact the dental practice.

At least twice per year the practice does a chart audit, comparing patients from the scheduled and unscheduled recall lists to the list of active patients in the practice.  If the lists match, then all active patients are in the recall program.  Typically, though, you will find a few active patients who are not on the recall list.  This often happens when new patients fail to return for their cleaning or emergency patients just come to the practice when something hurts.


Strong recall is essential for keeping the schedule as productive as possible.  Therefore, it’s worth the effort to implement a proactive recall program.

Learn more about how our dental practice consulting can fine-tune your recall program.

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