Main points of the NICE guidelines on dental recall intervals that you need to know.
- The shortest interval between oral health reviews should be 3 months. Recall intervals shorter than this are not normally needed. The patient may need to be seen more often than this for example in emergencies or extended courses of treatment.
- For Under 18′s, the longest time set for a recall is 12 months. Caries has been shown to progress faster in young adults and adolescents. The 12 month period also allows for suitable reinforcing of preventative advice.
- For Over 18′s, the longest time set for a recall is 24 months. This is for patients that have repeatedly demonstrated that they can maintain good oral health and are considered to be low risk. Longer than 24 months is not recommended due to loss of dentist-patient relationship and the people’s lifestyles may change.
- For practical reasons, recall intervals can be set at 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21 and 24 months, and the dentist can increase this gradually and “graduate” the patient incrementally towards the maximum interval.
- The dentist should discuss the recommended recall interval with the patient and record this interval, and the patient’s agreement or disagreement with it, in the current record-keeping system.
- The recall interval should be reviewed again at the each oral health review.
- At each recall, the dentist should take comprehensive histories, examinations and to give initial preventative advice. Further discussion should involve; the effects of diet, oral hygiene, fluoride use, tobacco and alcohol on oral health. The patient’s risk factors, effectiveness of previous treatments, the suitability, both financially and practically, of the recommended recall period.
For full guidance, see publication on the NICE website.