The “Re-Care” Appointment

A Re-Care appointment means that after some agreed-upon interval, we are following up on some state of affairs we were mutually aware of in the past. Ideally, it means we have already done a “New Patient Complete Dental Examination” at some time in the past.  As a result of that session, some long-term plan for the future was agreed upon. If treatment was called for at the Complete Exam, then some phase of it or all of it was likely done during follow-up sessions.  At the Re-care appointment, we’re getting together again to confirm that all is well. It may be that some treatment proposed earlier was put on hold. The Re-Care session is a time to re-visit such decisions. The “care” part of “Re-care” also suggests that cleaning the teeth might be in order. Then again, it might not.

So at a Re-Care session, we will be asking about any changes that may have occurred with your general or dental health since last we met. We will want to know about changes in diet, supplements, medication, or medical treatments that may have occurred. You will again receive an examination of the head and neck and an examination of the mouth, gums, and teeth. The status of any treatment you received in the past will be evaluated. If needed and desired, a cleaning will be done.

What Is “An Agreed-Upon Interval?”

Twice a year dental visits is a traditional recommendation of obscure origin. One story is that twice-a-year was invented by Bristol-Myers® copywriters for Ipana toothpaste advertised on the Amos ‘n Andy radio show in the nineteen-thirties: “…brush three times a day and visit your dentist two times a year.” That may or may not be true but in the absence of convincing evidence for a one-size-fits-all interval, we “negotiate” the time for the next Re-Care session on a case-by-case basis. It can be anywhere from two months to two years.

Are You In the Mood to Bust a Myth?

There is a popular myth that in order to maintain good dental health, you need to “visit your dental professional twice a year”- or some sentiment to that effect. That has an element of truth but is also quite misleading. There is no treatment that any dental professional can bestow upon you at assigned intervals that will ensure good health between visits. The plain fact is that maintenance of your health is up to you. What happens on a daily basis makes the difference.

The role of the dental professional is to “keep score” and to let you know if things are happening that are steering you away from the path of health. The purpose of the Re-Care appointment is either to confirm that you are still on the right path or to detect that you are straying from the healthy path. Our role may then be to suggest ways for you to get back on track.

An Example

Let’s assume that between Re-Care visits a cavity has started. We detect it at your next Re-Care visit. That means that something about your lifestyle is off track. The cavity is a sign or symptom of a less than perfect lifestyle. A part (and only a part!) of the solution will probably be for us to repair the cavity with a filling. That eliminates the symptom of ill health. That stops that particular cavity from getting bigger (for now.) Unless you make some changes to the environment you are providing for that tooth, a new cavity is very likely to start. Fixing your tooth did not fix your lifestyle. We help you understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle, help with right instruction and support you with good reading materials on how to keep and follow a healthy lifestyle.

Know It Or Not – You Are Making A Choice

We’re bursting with things to tell you about preventing disease which is best achieved by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Do you understand that being repaired is not the same as being healthy? Do you care? We ask that last question because frankly, some people don’t seem to care. Either they don’t know or don’t believe that anything they do will affect their fate. They believe that dental disease – probably all disease –  is something that just happens to them and is beyond their control. We’ll work with you no matter which philosophy you choose, but it is important to us you understand that in having a one belief system and not the other, you are making a choice.

And many folks actually believe that “visiting the dentist twice a year” will ensure a healthy mouth. Did we bust that myth successfully?

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