How Often Should My Teen Visit the Doctor?

Just like everyone else, teens need to maintain their health and wellness. One of the most helpful ways they can do so is by visiting the doctor. But there are different types of doctors your teen may need to see, and even more, there are various factors that affect how often your teen should see a medical professional.

The Psychiatrist

If your teen is on medications or has been diagnosed with a mental illness, they may have been told by their psychiatrist to visit on a regular basis (the frequency of which depends on your teen’s condition). If your teen’s psychiatrist has not specified how often your teen should visit, plan to go every few months to check up on your teen’s health. If your teen is having problems with their medication or their symptoms have worsened, you should make an appointment for the next available time.

The Family Doctor

Stethoscope Teen Doctor Visit Frequency

Image Credit: Luis Llerena

Your teen should visit your family doctor once a year, even if they look and feel completely healthy. After all, your teen’s body is still in development and they may feel uncomfortable with these changes. An annual checkup will ensure that your teen is in good health and detect any signs of abnormalities that can be treated with preventive care; it will also provide your teen the opportunity to ask your physician any health-related questions they may have. If your teen has a chronic illness, they may need to visit more frequently—be sure to ask your family doctor how often your teen should come in.

A Specialist

If your teen has ever had a surgery, a complex medical issue, a severe infection or any other condition that has resulted in a visit to a specialist, your teen may need to have follow-up appointments to ensure their condition remains stable. If you’re not sure if or when your teen needs to see a specialist, check with the specialist or consult your family doctor. You don’t want your teen to miss out on important appointments and compromise their health.

The Optometrist

Glasses Table Teen Optometrist

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Regardless of their quality of vision, your teen should take an eye exam every one to two years to determine whether or not they may have vision problems. If your teen wears glasses or contacts, they should visit the optometrist on a yearly basis. However, if your teen has recently complained about trouble seeing or headaches when they read, make an appointment for them to visit an optometrist right away.

The Gynecologist

If you think that your teenage daughter is (or planning to become) sexually active or has experienced issues with her menstrual cycle, then she should see a gynecologist every two to three years. Even if you don’t think your teen is sexually active, you may want to book her an appointment with a gynecologist so she can ask any questions she may be too embarrassed to ask you. (Generally, teen girls should have their first gynecological visit when they’re between the ages of 13–15.)

The Dentist

Toothbrush Teen Dentist

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It’s a good idea for teens (and everyone else) to visit the dentist every six months for a cleaning/checkup. The dentist can examine your teen’s teeth and gums—and see if there are any signs of stress or anxiety. It’s especially important for teens to visit twice a year because they may require wisdom teeth surgery, which is best done while they’re still young.

Keeping up-to-date with doctor’s appointments can help ensure your teen stays healthy. It’s much more effective for a doctor to detect a health problem early on rather than wait until the symptoms interfere with your teen’s life and well-being.

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