Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Get creative with your patient chart

When you are traveling down the path to paperless, the computer IS your patient chart and the clinical documentation becomes one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. You no longer have your blue and red indelible pencils to draw in the existing fillings, put Xs on the missing teeth, and mark up the tooth chart the way you want it. The goal with an electronic chart is to make it look as accurate as possible so when you are discussing the treatment plan or when the doctor walks in for the exam, there are no assumptions and there is no misguided information.

Let’s get a little creative and learn some of the tips and tricks you can do with your Dentrix software to make the patient chart look as accurate as possible.

Remember when you were treatment planning that occlusal pit composite filling or the MOD that covered the entire mesial cusp and you could get out your colored pencils and color away? You can do the same thing in Dentrix. Just click on the Cusps/Pits button and select the paint type you want. If the filling has already been treatment planned and you want to change the look of the filling, just right click and click on Edit Surface Painting.

Remember in the paper chart you could pick up your pencil and draw in a lingual bar retainer or circle something you wanted to remember? With the Chart Notations, you can do exactly that. On the tool bar, select the Chart Notations icon and then select the color and size of pen you want. Use your mouse to freehand draw on the tooth chart. If you want to erase your drawings, then select the eraser tool.

What about the patient who had 4-bi extractions during ortho when they were a teenager? You don’t want it to look like they have missing teeth. What about the patient who has a large diastema between 8 and 9? Using Conditions can create a visual picture of the patient’s mouth. Here are some common conditions to use:
1.      Drifting Mesial – Use this for missing teeth when the space has been closed. This paint type will put arrows to show the space has been closed.

2.      Open Contact – Use this for diastemas and open space between teeth

3.      Unerupted – Use this condition when the tooth is below the gum line. Using this condition will also cause the perio chart to skip the tooth.

Here are some other blog posts on clinical charting:
CLICK HERE for video on treatment options
CLICK HERE for a great way to review clinical notes

Dayna Johnson, Certified Dentrix Trainer
Dayna loves her work. She has over 25 years of experience in the dental industry, and she’s passionate about building efficient, consistent, and secure practice management systems. Dayna knows that your entire day revolves around your practice management software—the better you learn to use it, the more productive and stress-free your office will be. In 2016, Dayna founded Novonee ™, The Premier Dentrix Community, to help cultivate Dentrix super-users all over the country. Learn more from Dayna at www.novonee.com and contact Dayna at dayna@novonee.com.


  1. We have used the drawing tool. However, it only gets displayed on the computer of the person who drew it. Everyone else is unable to see the drawn in tooth. Is there a correction for this?

    1. When you click on the Chart Notations icon make sure "Always Show" is checked on all your workstations.
      Hope this helps,