Wednesday, November 18, 2020

New Dentrix Features To Help Manage Patient and Provider Balances

In Dentrix there are a couple of new features which will help your office when it comes to the tricky process of allocating balances. I wanted to take a moment to tell you about these new features and how they can help your office. 

First, I’ll explain why balances need to be allocated. 


It’s important that payments and adjustments are always posted to the individual patient and not to the guarantor. If payments aren’t posted to the patient, you’ll find that although the family may have a zero balance, the patient will have a balance in Dentrix, and the guarantor will have a credit. This can cause a mess in your accounting and make answering patients’ billing questions difficult. If you’ve been posting payments to the guarantor in Dentrix and a patient calls and asks you who in the family owes a balance, you know what I’m talking about.

It’s also very important that payments are posted accurately amongst providers. This will become increasingly important if your office hires an associate or if your doctor plans on selling the practice. Payments must be posted accurately in order for collections to be calculated accurately. 

Dentrix has provided ways to simplify the allocation process by using the Provider Credit Balances Manager. With the release of G7.4, there are additional features you can use to make managing family and provider balances easier. 

The first new feature is available when combining or separating families using the Edit Family Relations option in the Family File. When editing family relations, Dentrix walks you through the process, showing you how balances will be affected when moving family members. 


When separating families, you have the option to move the balance to the new family or keep it with the original family. Any necessary adjustments will be calculated for you and you can designate a specific adjustment type to be used.

Another new feature in Dentrix that came out in Dentrix G7.3 is the ability to have up to 255 adjustment types. Because of this, it’s a good idea to create specific adjustment types for both family adjustments and provider adjustments. That way, when reviewing reports, you’ll be able to see exactly why an adjustment was made. 

The addition of these two new features in Dentrix can simplify the process of making adjustments when combining and separating families. 

For more information on the latest features in Dentrix, click here.

Email me if you have questions at  vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.



Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

New Dentrix G7.4 Insurance Features

 With the introduction of Dentrix G7.4, there have been some exciting changes with how you enter and view patient insurance information. I believe these changes are going to be such a positive improvement for all offices. If you haven’t had an opportunity to upgrade to Dentrix G7.4 yet, or had an opportunity to learn about the changes, let me tell you what you’re missing!

There’s a new Dental Insurance Benefits and Coverage window (which you get to by double-clicking a patient’s Insurance block in the Family File and then clicking the Benefits/Coverage button), where all of a patient’s insurance information is consolidated into a single location. This makes it easier for your team to navigate without having to hunt for the information they need.

A feature that I’m especially excited about, is visible when you first access this window. When the Dental Insurance Benefits and Coverage window opens, it defaults to show the information on the Insurance Plan tab. 


Here you have the option to enter a waiting period, maximum age for dependents, a missing tooth clause, and whether crowns and bridges are paid on prep date or seat date. While this information is not included in patient estimates, Dentrix will provide you with a pop-up warning when you’re scheduling an appointment that conflicts with the insurance details you’ve entered. This is such an exciting improvement because in previous versions of Dentrix, this information would either be entered into the Insurance Plan Notes or a scanned insurance breakdown in the Document Center. The struggle with that was getting your team to read those notes before scheduling an appointment. Once you have entered that information in Dentrix, and with the new insurance warnings, this will no longer be an issue. 

Another very exciting feature is the information that can be entered in the Exceptions tab. 


This is a designated area for you to enter frequency limitations and age limits. There is an option to insert a template or create your own. I think this is an awesome improvement to the Insurance window in Dentrix, because in previous versions of Dentrix there wasn’t a specific area to keep track of this information. Now it will be easy to view insurance plan details and explain them to your patients when presenting a treatment plan and scheduling appointments.

Another great feature is that this insurance information is accessible from the Family File, the Treatment Planner, and the Appointment Information dialog box. This makes it very convenient for your team to reference this information while creating a treatment plan or when scheduling an appointment. 

There are also new insurance icons that appear in the Family File, Treatment Planner, and Appointment Information dialog box that indicate if exceptions have been entered for a patient’s plan, if there’s a missing tooth clause, and/or if there are insurance plan notes. 

Family File icons example: Insurance Plan Details, Insurance Note, Missing Tooth Clause

Treatment Plan icons example: Insurance Plan Details, Exceptions, Missing Tooth Clause

Appointment Information icons example: Insurance Plan Details, Exceptions, Missing Tooth Clause

The icons make it easy to see what type of insurance information has been entered into Dentrix and serve as a quick reference for your team to know what type of insurance details have been entered for the plan and may need a quick review.

Having insurance warnings for procedures that conflict with the patient’s insurance plan, having a designated area to enter plan details like frequencies and limitations, and having this information easily accessible for several modules in Dentrix are going to make the way your office deals with insurance so much easier. The new details and icons will also help to take the guess work out of insurance plans and allow your office to provide your patients with more accurate information and treatment estimates. 

I recently presented a Dentrix G7.4 New Features webinar which you can view on-demand. You can also get additional information here:
You can email me if you have questions at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.  

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

QuickBill Email - A New Way to Send Patient Billing Statements

Earlier this year, I wrote about collecting patient balances. I suggested sending patients a statement immediately after receiving an insurance payment if there is a remaining patient balance. This means not waiting until your office’s next regular billing cycle. Cash flow is always important in a dental practice, and perhaps even more so during these challenging times. The quicker you can send patients their statement and collect their balance, the better. With that being said, I’m excited about the addition of QuickBill Email


The previous version of QuickBill allowed your office to send statements electronically using Dentrix and have them printed and mailed for you. I always liked this service because it saved staff time printing, envelope stuffing, and mailing statements. And it saved money by not using the office’s toner ink and other office supplies to print the statements. 

While you can still send statements by traditional mail, QuickBill Email makes huge improvements on that service by allowing offices to send patient statements via e-mail. 

Here are some of the great features QuickBill Email offers:

  • Your office maintains control of which patients receive emailed statements.
  • You are able to add customized messages on individual statements. For example, you could add a statement note that reads, Exam not covered due to insurance frequency limitation, or Dental insurance annual maximum has been met.
  • Emailed statements protect patient’s privacy by requiring a first name, last name, and date of birth to be entered before viewing the statement.
  • QuickBill Email provides a convenient way for patients to pay their balance. They click a link in the email and enter their credit card information on a webpage. When your office performs your daily WebSync, you'll see a list of received payments and can easily post them into the Dentrix Ledger. This will save staff time manually entering this information and help to prevent errors. Providing patients with a more convenient way to pay their balance can improve cash flow.
  • Sending email statements vs. paper statements via the mail will be far more cost effective for your practice by eliminating the cost of paper, envelopes, and postage.
  • By sending statements via email rather than through the mail, patients are made aware of their balances faster and can make a payment immediately.

QuickBill eStatements will save offices money, improve cash flow, and improve the patient’s billing experience with your practice by providing a more convenient way to pay their balance. I’m excited about how this service can improve your dental practice’s billing procedures.

Be sure to check out the following resources:

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Inactivating vs. Archiving a Patient

Lately I’ve seen some questions about inactivating and archiving patients. While there are many opinions on this topic and offices will vary in their policy on this matter, I thought I would share some of my thoughts.

If you’ve attempted to contact a patient who is due for Continuing Care, has outstanding treatment, hasn’t been seen for eighteen months, and they haven’t responded after multiple attempts, I would suggest sending them a letter and changing their status to Inactive in the Family File.


This doesn’t mean the patient can’t return to your office; however, since they haven’t been seen in the last eighteen months, they aren’t considered an active patient in your office.

When your office decides to inactivate a patient, I would recommend changing the status of any outstanding treatment to Rejected so their outstanding treatment doesn’t continue to appear on outstanding treatment plan reports and in the Treatment Manager. I would also suggest clearing the patient’s Continuing Care so that they don’t continue to show up on continuing care reports.

If you schedule an appointment for a patient with an inactive status, Dentrix will give you a pop-up message to inform you of the patient status. I really like this because you can use this pop-up as a reminder for you to verify or update the patient’s information (address, phone number, insurance coverage, and so forth) in Dentrix.  When you schedule their appointment, you can also let the patient know that they will need to arrive early to update their health history.

When it comes to archiving a patient, my first recommendation is that you archive deceased patients. One reason for doing so is that it prevents the deceased patient’s information from inadvertently being seen. For example, if your office uses Route Slips, all family information is displayed on the Route Slip. You may not want a deceased family member’s information to appear on the Route Slip and upset the family. 

I’ve seen many opinions on the topic of inactivating and archiving patients, so I wanted to share some ideas and insight. 

For additional information, read the following:

For more information, or to share your office policies on this topic, email me at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

No More Tricks, Just Treats

 Halloween is quickly approaching, and I think we’ve all had enough tricks in 2020! Let’s talk about some treats you can implement in your office. 


Treats for Your Patients

It’s been a difficult year for everyone, and now is a great time to show your patients how much you appreciate them. You could send out a postcard or email to all of your patients letting them know you’re thinking of them and you’re thankful that they trust your office with their dental care. Another idea, to show appreciation for your patients is to enter them into a raffle or drawing for a prize, like an electric toothbrush. 

Treats for Your Team

Positive reinforcement can be a great motivator for staff. Compliment your team on areas of their job that they do well. Praise for a job well done can motivate your team to continue to work well in that area and also to improve in other aspects of their job. 

Let your team know how much you appreciate them by buying them lunch or bringing them a sweet treat, like cookies or candy. I’ve often been surprised at how a small act like that can make such a big difference to team morale. 

Treats for Your Doctor

Our doctors need a pat on the back too. It’s been a tough year for them as business owners. With the shutdowns in dentistry and the responsibility to still pay the bills and take care of their staff, it’s been very stressful for them. A small gift, a card, or just a big thank you can make their day brighter. 


Reward your patients, your team, and your doctor with some treats this Halloween season, and give them a reason to smile. Happy Halloween! 

Contact me if you have questions at  vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Contact Patients Now To Schedule Treatment Before the End-of-Year Rush

As the end of the year quickly approaches, the race for patients to complete their outstanding treatment plans in order to use up their insurance maximum begins!

You can help your patients by proactively contacting them to remind them that they have outstanding treatment. This can be done by calling them on the phone, sending them an email message, or sending them a letter. By contacting patients now, you can better manage your schedule instead of having to jam everybody in during the last two weeks of December. 


Contacting Patients By Phone

Although calling patients who have outstanding treatment plans is time consuming, it also gives you the opportunity to schedule their appointment while you have them on the phone. Use the Treatment Manager to generate a report of patients with outstanding treatment plans who have remaining insurance benefits. Contact those patients and make detailed notes in the Office Journal of what was said on the phone call. From the Treatment Manager, you have direct access to the Treatment Planner, so you will be able to easily access treatment plan information if the patient has any questions.

Contacting Patients By Email 

Sending patients an email message is an easy and convenient way to communicate. With Patient Engage, you can create an email message in the Campaign Studio to remind patients that most insurance plans renew January 1st, and any unused benefits will be lost. Encourage them to contact your office to schedule an appointment. If you’re using Dentrix Communication Manager, you can create a similar email campaign reminding patients to schedule an appointment to use their benefits.

Contacting Patients By Letter

In the Dentrix Office Manager, under Letters & Custom Lists there’s an option for Misc. letters. Here you’ll find the Treatment Plan Reminder letter. This is a great letter to use to contact patients because it has a merge field that informs the patient how much of their dental insurance maximum is remaining. When creating the letter, use filters to find specific patients to send this letter to, such as patients who have been seen this calendar year, with remaining insurance benefits between $200 and $2000, who have an outstanding treatment plan. If you decide to send letters, I would suggest including a copy of the patient’s treatment plan to remind them exactly what needs to be scheduled. 

By contacting patients with outstanding treatment plans and remaining insurance benefits, you can encourage them to schedule an appointment to maximize their insurance plans. Scheduling their appointments now will help you to control your schedule instead of everyone calling at once in December to try to get an appointment. 

Contact me if you have questions at  vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.




Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Planning for 2021

Now that we’ve entered the fourth quarter of 2020, it’s time to start planning for 2021! Here are some things you can do now in your office to plan for the upcoming year.

Close the Office for 2021 Holidays

Set up your office schedule for the coming year by closing the office for holidays in 2021. For example, if your office plans to take time off for the 4th of July, Labor Day, and/or between Christmas and New Year, it’s a good idea to set the office schedule before entering practice production goals, because practice production goals are generally set up based on the days the office will be seeing patients. It’s important to note when setting your office schedule, if you set a yearly holiday, it is based on a specific date. So, while this feature will work for a holiday like Christmas Day, it won’t work for a holiday that the date changes every year, like Memorial Day. 

For additional information, see the following:


Set Your Office Goals for 2021

Take some time to meet with your doctor and discuss the practice production goals for 2021. In Dentrix, goals are entered by provider. To calculate the monthly goal, take the provider’s daily production goal and multiply it by the number of days that provider will work that month. For example, if your hygienist’s daily production goal is $1000, and she’ll be working twenty days in January, then her January production goal will be $20,000. 

Enter a monthly goal for each hygienist and doctor in your practice. Goals and scheduled production can be viewed in the Dentrix Appointment Book by clicking on the calendar icon and then clicking Scheduled Production. You can set up views in the Appointment Book to view one provider at a time, or multiple providers. Scheduling production goals for your office can help the office stay on track to meet goals. It is also helpful to have production goals when scheduling so that your team can schedule higher production cases in order to meet your practice goals. 

For additional information see the following:
Do you plan to increase your fees for 2021? Whether you plan to increase your fees or not, it’s a good idea to evaluate them on an annual basis to ensure your practice fees are competitive for your area. Your Henry Schein rep can help you by generating a report which will show you how your office fees compare to others in your area. If you decide to increase your office fees, it can be done by a percentage or by a dollar amount in the fee schedule set up in the Dentrix Office Manager. 

For additional information, see the following:
Taking some time now to prepare your office for 2021 can help to set your practice up for success! 
Email me with questions at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.