Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Presenting Patients with Different Treatment Options

Often, there is more than one solution to a patient's dental treatment. Of course, some solutions are more appropriate than others. You may feel obligated to present the patient with all options, and guide them to the right one. The Dentrix Treatment Planner allows you to do just that, by creating and linking multiple treatment cases from which your patient can choose the best solution for them.

Let's walk through a very simple example, where the patient needs just one filling on tooth number 3; however, she wants to know the difference between a “silver" and a "white” filling and what each will cost her.

In the Patient Chart, take the normal steps to treatment plan both possible options. When you look in the Treatment Planner panel, the two procedures are together in the same treatment case. And, at least for now, Dentrix estimates the cost and insurance benefits as if you intend to complete both of them.



To give your patient two options, separate the treatment into two different cases. Click New Case, and give the case folder a meaningful name, such as “Silver Filling 3”. Remember that the case name appears on printouts that a patient might see, so make the case name patient-friendly.

Select the appropriate procedure for the case and drag-and-drop it to the new folder.



Click New Case again, and name this case "White Filling 3". Select the appropriate procedure for this case and drag-and-drop it to the new treatment case folder.

Now with one of these two cases selected, click Link Alternate Cases.


Then, check the case that presents the alternative option to it. (Note: This example was simple, but know that as you build more complicated plans, you can link up to 4 plans together this way.)

Review the Recommended Case drop-down menu and select the case you prefer to go forward with — and don't worry, you can change the recommended case later if needed.


Notice how the linked cases now include a chain-link icon, and that the recommended case has a gold star.



You can now select these cases separately, to present them to your patient on the computer screen or to print copies of each plan.


Changing the Recommended Case

Choosing one of the linked cases as the Recommended Case is a big deal, as it's the treatment case that Dentrix assumes you will complete. Choose carefully, because the procedures in the non-recommended case will NOT be visible in the Chart's progress notes, the Ledger's Treatment Plan View, or the Appointment Book's TX reasons.

You can change the recommended case at any time. To do so, select the case, click the Link Alternate Cases menu and choose Set as Recommended Case. The procedures in this case will become visible everywhere in Dentrix, while the other linked case will only available to view as a reference in the Treatment Planner, which can acts as a record that you presented the patient with all of the options.

For additional information, see the Creating Treatment Plan Options for your Patients article in the Dentrix Magazine online archive.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Pick Up the Pace of the Lab Case Manager

Does it seem like it takes forever for your Lab Case Manager to load? And once it's open, do you sort through years of finished cases looking for the ones you really want? Make it useful again by changing the default view!

In the Lab Case Manager, select Views. Click open the Miscellaneous Options tab and remove the Finished checkbox. Then also check the Save as Default box and click OK.


The Lab Case Manager will open much faster now on this computer, without displaying the finished cases.

Be careful though, because the Save as Default options actually saves the setting on all three tabs in the View menu, so only adjust the settings that you really want to become your default view!

Learn more by reading in the Manage Your Lab Cases in Dentrix article from the Dentrix Magazine online archive.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Reviewing Appointment History

Do you have a particular patient who always seems to be changing — and canceling — their appointments? Would you like to find out just how many times this patient has changed their appointment?

It would be helpful to know the answers to these questions so that you get an idea of what these appointment changes are costing you in lost revenue. That way, you can develop a plan to encourage all of your patients keep their appointments.

The Appointment History List is the tool you are looking for. It can help you with these issues, because it displays a history of changes that were made to an appointment, including information about the appointment date, assigned providers, and assigned operatories. Additionally, you can sort the list and set a range to dates to include on the list to make it more useful for your office.

To create an appointment history list, open the Office Manager, and click Reports > Lists > Appointment History List.


Select the following options to configure your list:

  • Select Patient - Search for a single patient name, or leave set to <ALL> to include all patients that meet the other criteria you set.
  • Select Appointment Provider - Set the range of appointment providers to include, and select whether to include only the current or both history and current appointments with the selected provider(s).
  • Select Operatory - Set the range of operatories to include, then select whether to include only current appointments or both history or current appointments in the selected operatory.
  • Select Date - Select a range and type of of appointment dates to include.
  • Sort Options - Select how you want the list to be sorted.
Once all the options are set, click OK to send the list to the Batch Processor where you can view it or print it.


The printed list, shows the following information:

A. Current Appointment - The date and time the appointment was created; the appointment's current date, time, provider, operatory, and reason; the name of the patient whose appointment it is; and the patient's home phone number.
B. History - The date and time of the appointment when the change was made; the appointment's date, time, status, provider, operatory, staff member, schedule type, reason, and length; and a indication of whether a lab case was attached

Helpful Hints


  • When selecting Patients, you are limited to selecting a single patient or selecting all patients in the database. Consider selecting one patient and experimenting with the other options before selecting all of your patients for the list.
  • Selecting <ALL> for patients, providers, or operatories, and including a large date range, might create a large, unmanageable list. Consider limiting your selections for more specific results.
  • The default Select Date begins one week before the current date. You can change the dates, and you can even set the To: date to a future date — to view future appointments.


  • For additional information, read the related topic in a previous post titled, Viewing Appointment History.

    Tuesday, August 27, 2019

    Don't Overlook These New Features in Dentrix Questionnaires

    By now you probably already know that Dentrix G7.2 Health History allows you to record medications that your patients are taking (ones not prescribed in your office).

    But, did you know that the Questionnaires module has a few new Health History-related tricks up its sleeve too? If you modify your forms, you can allow your patients to type their medications in, and then use their answers to update their Health History. Additionally, you can now present medical conditions on your questionnaires in a "Yes/No" format.

    Here are the steps to modify the form(s) that your patients fill out.
    1. In Questionnaires, click Edit > Questionnaires Setup.


    2. Select a form, and choose Edit Form.


    3. Click the Insert Patient Info button.


    4. From the list of options on the left side of the window, scroll to the bottom to find the two new options:
      • PI-Health History, Yes/No
      • PI- Medications
    5. Check the box next to the option(s) you want to add to the questionnaire, and click OK.
    6. Use the Move Up or Move Down buttons to position the new question within the questionnaire form.

    Additional Information

    Tuesday, August 20, 2019

    Dealing with Discontinued Procedure Codes in Dentrix

    When the ADA discontinues a procedure code, how do you get it out of the menus so that it does not get selected again?

    For record keeping purposes, Dentrix will not allow you to delete any procedure code from the system. But you can make the code less-visible in Dentrix, so that it won’t be mistakenly assigned to patients in the future. Just follow these steps:

    1. Open the Procedure Code Editor, select the discontinued code, and click Edit.


    2. Uncheck the box for Show in Chart.
    3. Set the Auto Continuing Care option to NONE, if it isn't already.
    4. Change the Procedure Category option to NONE.
    5. Change the fee schedule fees for the procedure to $0. A quick way to do this is to double-click the first fee schedule, type a 0, then press the Tab key on your keyboard. Pressing Tab will jump down to the next fee schedule. Type a 0 and press tab again until all fees have been changed to 0.00. Then click the green check mark to save all the fees at once.
    6. Check the Do Not Bill to Dental Insurance option.
    7. Click the Save button to save your changes.
    Once you have saved these changes, you'll want to look for the discontinued procedure code that may still be hiding in patients' existing treatment plans. Use the steps in our previous tip to find those patients. 

    Tuesday, August 13, 2019

    Keeping Patient Health History Accurate with the Inactivated Date

    Do you have patients with health history items that should only be active for a certain time period? For instance, a patient may have been assigned the Pregnancy medical condition; however, that condition was assigned to her 14 months ago, and she is no longer pregnant.

    Wouldn't it be nice if Dentrix would automatically inactivate it, without you having to do it manually? With Dentrix G7.2, you can set a date in the future for when a health history status will be set to Inactive. You can set inactivated dates for medical conditions, allergies, and/or patient-reported medications.

    To add an automatic inactivated date to a new health history item:
    1. Open the patient's health history by clicking the Health History button.
    2. Click the Add button and select the type of item to be added (Medical Condition, Allergy, or Medication) from the drop-down list.
    3. As needed, set the Reported Date and Start Date.
    4. In the Inactivated Date field, set a future date for when the item's status should change to inactive.


    5. Use the search button (>>) to select a specific condition, allergy or medication.
    6. As needed, select Show as Critical and/or Display Pop-up Alert for this Patient and enter a note if needed.
    7. Click OK to review the warning message, and click OK to save.

    Bonus Tips

    If you've already created a health history item for a patient, and need to add an Inactivated Date, you can always edit that entry and set an inactivated date for it.

    When you set an inactivated date for an item, the future date displays in the Inactivated Date column. This provides you an easy way to view if and when an item will be inactivated. 


    Helpful Hints

    • The inactivated date remains editable until the scheduled date for inactivation, meaning you can change or clear the date up until the date set.
    • To clear an item's inactivated date, click the "X" to the right of the date field, then click OK. The item will no longer be automatically inactivated, and the date is removed from the Inactivated Date column in the main Heath History window.
    • Inactivating an item is permanent; however, it can still be viewed in the patient's Health History. By inactivating an item rather than deleting it, you maintain an accurate, comprehensive patient record that you can refer to at any time.
    • Setting the inactivated date to a date in the past, or as today's date, will result in the item instantly being inactivated when you click the OK in the warning message.
    For more information, read the article titled, You Asked For It! Patient Health History in Dentrix from the Dentrix Magazine online archive. 

    For details about this and other new features, visit the Dentrix New Features website to find videos and other helpful information.

    Tuesday, August 6, 2019

    Treatment Case Statuses: What's Old is New Again!

    Patients don’t complete all treatment you diagnose right away, and that’s especially true of cosmetic treatment. What usually happens when you present cosmetic work is that the patient doesn’t reject the treatment outright, but they also don’t accept it right away. 

    They say they want to wait on it, so the treatment case sits in the Treatment Planner with a “Proposed” status getting older and older. Then when you diagnose additional cosmetic treatment that you add to the case the case still has that old date on it and doesn’t look like it’s treatment the patient currently needs.



    Did you know you can use treatment statuses to keep that date current? All you have to do is change the case status to “Proposed” again. 

    Select the case and click the Update Case Status button. In the Update Current Case Status dialog box, make sure today’s date is in the date field and add a note saying you’re updating the status to keep the case date current. Then click OK.


    The case will be updated with the same status it had before, but now it will have a current date so you know that the treatment is still valid and you need to keep asking the patient about that case. 


    Note: The procedure date on the actual procedures in the case is only updated when you complete a case. If you update the case with any other status it will only change the case date, not the treatment plan date of the procedures in the case.

    Learn More

    To learn more about treatment case statuses, read Updating Case Status in Dentrix Help. 

    For ideas about new ways to talk to your patients about treatment, read Communication and Customer Service Skills for the Clinical Team in the Dentrix Magazine article archive.