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Dental Insights

There is no set formula for how often a new medical history should be completed for patients of record. Many dental practices elect to have a patient complete a new medical history form every 1 to 3 years, while others choose to do so at intervals appropriate to the patient's age and medical history. The decision on the frequency is a professional decision, not a legal decision.

A patient should be asked at every visit whether there are any changes to his/her medical history since the last appointment. Be sure to ask if there are any changes in medications and dietary supplements. The patient's record should contain a dated notation that the patient was asked about health and medication changes. If a patient indicates that there have been changes, they should be noted in the patient's chart. The best practice standard would be to have the patient initial and date the change.

The MDS Dental Practice Committee encourages dental offices to create a policy on frequency of new medical history forms that works for your office or consult your professional liability insurance for a recommendation—and remember to always complete a medical history form for all new patients.
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