How to Choose a Dental Office Phone System: The Top 11 Features for Dentist Office Phones

Evaluating new dental office phone systems can be daunting, thanks to advancements in technology. Here are some terms and features to look for when your practice is in the market for a new phone.

If you’re in the market for a new phone system for your dental office, odds are things are a little different than the last time you were on the purchasing circuit. Like our own personal phones, dental practice phones are smart. Like, really smart. As in, if a patient calls you can have all their information at your fingertips before even answering!

Of course, as with all things tech-related, more features mean more terminology, and it’s hard to know when “more” matters. A smartphone system may have dozens of features, but how do they help your practice? Sure, phones still have call waiting, hold music, and multiple lines.

But what about auto-attendants, dial plan editors, and custom greetings? These features can make life easier for your team, provide a more pleasant patient experience, and help you schedule more treatment, even though it may sound like little more than techie jargon.

Below, we’ve listed 11 features to look for when researching new dental office phone systems. For each feature, we’ve also explained exactly what they are and how they will assist you in your day-to-day, so you can go on to make an informed choice for your practice.

See How a VoIP Phone System Can Help You Connect with Your Dental Patients

It’s time to take your phone game to the next level! Every phone call presents an opportunity to connect with patients on a deeper, more personal level. However, that can be difficult when it’s ringing off the hook!

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Terms to Know for Today’s Dental Office Phone


Auto-attendant is a prerecorded message and menu that automatically answer every phone call.

How it helps your practice

Manually transferring calls probably isn't the best use of your time. Auto-attendants eliminate that distraction. These messages and menus are a win-win for your office and your patients. They can handle a ton of callers (win for you!), and they help callers quickly reach the team member or access the information they called for (win for your patients!).

Call Recording

Call recording allows you to record phone calls and play them back at a later time and date.

How it helps your practice

Tracking your team’s phone skills is a big part of an office’s professional development. But it gets tough when you can’t hear the other person on the line; you lose all the context. With a call recording tool, you have access to the entire audio of calls that your office picked up. You can hear both your team’s voice and the caller’s, giving you all the context you need to truly assess your team’s phone skills and to ramp up training.

Custom Greetings

Customizable messages that automatically greet patients when they call your practice.

How they help your practice

Whether you’ve formally defined it or not, your dental practice has a unique brand. And ideally, each patient touchpoint, like your Facebook page, your emails, your waiting area entertainment, and, yes, your phone greetings, reflects it. Why is something seemingly so minor like a branded phone greeting so important? A call from a patient signals they want to engage with you — which means it’s an opportunity for you to make a meaningful, long-lasting impression.

With the custom greetings available on new dental office phone systems, you can get to show off your personality to make them smile and never forget you!

Custom Schedules

A customizable schedule feature provides dental teams the ability to route calls to voicemail or on-call team members as needed.

How they help your practice

Your office may be closed, but in reality, the practice and the business inside it never do. They’re always operating. Current patients will need to reach you outside of business hours, and prospective patients will search for you outside of business hours. This feature ensures both kinds of patients have a way to reach your team. No matter the holiday or the time of day, custom schedules make that possible!

Desktop Integration

Desktop integration connects your phone and your computer. It enables you to call and text from your computer, and import call lists directly into Microsoft Outlook.

How it helps your practice

With the desktop integration, you can text quickly and easily with patients (which stats say patients are looking for from their doctors).This feature simplifies making calls, too. Gone are the days searching for the patient’s phone number and mistyping it into the phone’s keypad. With desktop integration, you can call anyone in your contact list with one click!

Dial Plan Editor

With a dial plan editor you create to dictate the master call plan: where calls go, who answers them, and what information or options callers hear.

How it helps your practice

By mapping out all of your call flows, like you would with a call tree, callers are automatically guided to the information they are looking for — sometimes without having to have a team member stop what they’re doing to pick up the phone. (Even better, you don’t need to rely on a pricey tech administrator to do it for you.)For example, you can plan for callers to hear a wait-time estimate, meet the auto-attendant, reach the team’s voicemail boxes, or even hear sound clips — it’s up to you!

Fax to Email

Fax to Email is an update that enables you to receive faxes as email attachments.

How it helps your practice

This space- and sanity-saver helps keep your office tidy and joyful, Marie Kondo style. You no longer need to worry if your fax got picked up by the wrong person in the office or if it was misdelivered — because your faxes now arrive right in your email inbox. Even better, you’ll no longer spend precious time scouring piles of old faxes, like maybe you do when you’re working with an insurance company. Just pull it up on your email in a snap!

Line Failover

The line failover feature automatically routes calls to the line of your choice when you can’t answer.

How it helps your practice

Imagine your office is short a team member or two, so you’re pulling double duty — you have to greet and intake patients as they arrive, manage the office phone, and keep an eye on your own office phone (on the other side of the office) for an important call you’re expecting. Fortunately, you’ve set up line failover so that the call you’re expecting goes to the office phone that you’re closer to so you don’t miss it.

Screen Pop

Think of screen pop as an enhanced caller ID. When a patient calls in, this feature provides a pop-up window on your desktop; that pop-up contains critical patient information, including name, status, insurance information, outstanding balances, and treatment history/unscheduled treatments.  

How it helps your practice

Phone calls have a considerable impact on patient perception and quality experiences, and screen pop provides a unique opportunity to make patient calls personal and substantive. By giving the front office team immediate access to relevant information and key talking points, they can more easily engage in a conversation that will drive scheduling and revenue for the practice.

Voicemail to Email

This feature sends voicemails to your email inbox so you can listen to them from your computer, your personal cell phone, or even read the transcript.

How it helps your practice

Checking voicemail can take you or your team out of their workflow, and it can be tough to remember to do without a notification, like we get on our smartphones. With the voicemail-to-email feature you’re less likely to miss important voicemails, like when a caller leaves a message like “Hi! I was wondering whether you’re accepting new patients. My family and I just moved here and need a dentist pronto!”


The whisper tool allows you to speak to a team member on the phone without having the caller hear it.

How it helps your practice

Whispering is a tried-and-true tactic for training team members. Unlike call monitoring or call recordings, where you listen to the calls, the whisper feature empowers you to deliver to your team member information in real time, like if you need to steer a conversation with a prospective patient in the right direction. How about that for performance feedback?!

Focus on the Few Essential Phone Features you Need

Exploring the ins and outs of new dental office phone systems may seem intimidating — so much new lingo to know and new technology to master. But starting slowly and focusing on only the essential new features, like we covered here and in our glossary, you’ll be a fluent expert in no time!

Built specifically for dental practices, RevenueWell Phone is a smarter phone system for your office. Learn more.