A recall system is a continuing care regime which provides opportunities to reassess and monitor the oral health of patients and to inform future treatment planning. There is some evidence that recall visits have a positive impact on the natural and functional dentition. Unfortunately, there is a general paucity of reliable evidence about the timing of recall visits despite the widely adopted 6-month interval. In response to political, professional and patient uncertainty, the UK National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) convened a guideline development group to consider both best evidence and best practice in this field. The NICE issued a guidance document in 2004 recommending that the individual risk status should determine the patient's recall interval. The recommendations cover risk factors such as caries incidence and restorations; periodontal health and tooth loss, patients' well-being, general health and preventive habits, pain and anxiety. Methods and tools to facilitate and standardize the collection of risk information are currently being developed and/or collated by the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme. The selection of a recall interval is a multifaceted and complex decision involving the judgement of both clinician and patient. More research is needed into the rate of progression of oral diseases and the impact of recall on oral health and quality of life. Nevertheless, the NICE guidance is based on the best available evidence, and it should be used to determine personalized variable time intervals to assess, reassess and monitor the oral health and caries status of patients.