Appropriate Recall Interval for Periodontal Maintenance: A Systematic Review

J Evid Based Dent Pract. 2015 Dec;15(4):171-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jebdp.2015.10.001. Epub 2015 Nov 19.


Objectives: A systematic review of the literature was undertaken to assess the evidence to support a specific time interval between periodontal maintenance (PM) visits.

Methods: Relevant articles were identified through searches in MEDLINE, EMBASE and PubMed using specific search terms, until April, 2014, resulting in 1095 abstracts and/or titles with possible relevance. Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) guidelines were used to evaluate the strength of studies and synthesize findings. If mean recall interval was not reported for study groups, authors were contacted to attempt to retrieve this information.

Results: Eight cohort studies met the inclusion criteria. No randomized control trials were found. All included studies assessed the effect of PM recall intervals in terms of compliance with a recommended regimen (3-6 months) as a primary outcome. Shorter PM intervals (3-6 months) favored more teeth retention but also statistically insignificant differences between RC and IC/EC, or converse findings are also found. In the 2 studies reporting mean recall interval in groups, significant tooth loss differences were noted as the interval neared the 12 month limit.

Conclusions: Evidence for a specific recall interval (e.g. every 3 months) for all patients following periodontal therapy is weak. Further studies, such as RCTs or large electronic database evaluations would be appropriate. The merits of risk-based recommendations over fixed recall interval regimens should be explored.

Keywords: Dental prophylaxis; Patient compliance; Periodontal diseases; Periodontal maintenance; Supportive periodontal therapy; Systematic review; Tooth loss.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Oral Hygiene*
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Tooth Loss / prevention & control