Archive for February, 2012

Dental Recall

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Six-monthly dental check-ups have been customary in the General Dental Service (GDS) in the United Kingdom since the inception of the NHS. In recent years there has been significant debate over the timing of recall intervals for dental check-ups, and this has coincided with a move towards making NHS dental services in England and Wales more oriented to prevention and more clinically effective in meeting patients’ needs.

The recommended shortest and longest intervals between oral health reviews are as follows:

  • The shortest interval between oral health reviews for all patients should be 3 months

A recall interval of less than 3 months is not normally needed for a routine dental recall. A patient may need to be seen more frequently for specific reasons such as disease management, ongoing courses of treatment, emergency dental interventions, or episodes of specialist care, which are outside the scope of an oral health review.

  • The longest interval between oral health reviews for patients younger than 18 years should be 12 months

Recall intervals of no longer than 12 months give the opportunity for delivering and reinforcing preventative advice and for raising awareness of the importance of good oral health. This particularly important in young children, to lay the foundations for life-long dental health.

  • The longest interval between oral health reviews for patients aged 18 years and older should be 24 months.

Recall intervals for patients who have repeatedly demonstrated that they can maintain oral health and who are not considered to be at risk of or from oral disease may be extended over time up to an interval of 24 months. Intervals of longer than 24 months are undesirable because they could diminish the professional relationship between dentist and patient, and people’s lifestyles may change.

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