Dental checkups are one of the best ways to keep your mouth healthy and smiling. Usually after your dental checkup or finishing your course of treatment, the dentist will ask you “come back” or “book a checkup” in a certain amount of time. Dental checkups used to be recommended every 6 months …but not any more.
The recommended frequency of your dental checkup can vary between 2-24 months.
24 monthly checkups are usually only reserved for patients with no teeth. If its been over 2 years, then you are definitely due a checkup! If its been less than 2 years then there are a few things to consider.
How to work out your dental checkup interval
You can think of your check up interval as a traffic light system for your oral health, which is determined by your risk level in several areas.
Your risk levels will be worked out by your dentist who will check your medical history, ask questions and examine your mouth. Your dentist will then consider your risk levels when suggesting your check up interval.
Red – 3 monthly dental checkups
Very high risk patients for dental decay and oral cancer, and high risk patients for gum disease or tooth wear might be asked to attend for a dental checkup as often as every 3 months.
Amber – 6 monthly dental checkups
High risk patients for tooth decay and oral cancer, and medium risk patients for gum disease and tooth wear might be asked to attend for a dental checkup every 6 months.
Green – 12+ monthly dental checkups
Lower risk patients might be asked to attend for a dental checkup every year to 18 months, and patients with no natural teeth remaining maybe only every 2 years.
Dental checkup reminders
Most dental practices will have a computer system set up to automatically send out text message, email or postal reminders.
Computers however can make mistakes, so you should keep a note of when your dentist says to book your next checkup.
If unsure, you can simply call your dental practice and ask the receptionist to check when you are due. If its been over 2 years you are definitely due, but you may need to register with a new dentist.
Official limit for NHS dental checkups
A little known secret is that you can book an NHS dental checkup as soon as you wish!
NHS dentist are contractually encouraged to suggest as longer checkup interval as possible. This is in an effort to help more patients access a purposefully limited number of NHS dentists and so stretch taxpayers’ money as far as possible.
There is, however, no official lower limit to checkup frequency. Your dentist will always be happy to help when you are in need. Bear in mind though, your NHS dentist might get in trouble if you attend for too many checkups too soon!