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Dental checks: intervals between oral health reviews [CG19]

Measuring the use of this guidance

Recommendation: 1.1.5

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. There is evidence that the rate of progression of dental caries can be more rapid in children and adolescents than in older people, and it seems to be faster in primary teeth than in permanent teeth (see full guideline). Periodic developmental assessment of the dentition is also required in children. Recall intervals of no longer than 12 months give the opportunity for delivering and reinforcing preventive advice and for raising awareness of the importance of good oral health. This is 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.

What was measured: Percentage of the adult population of England seen by an NHS dentist in the previous 24 months
Data collection end: March 2014
Area covered: England
Source: Health and Social Care Information Centre. NHS Dental Statistics for England.

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