Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Spring Cleaning for Your Dentrix Database


My neighborhood had a community yard sale recently and it got me thinking about de-cluttering and spring cleaning. In our homes we tend to collect clutter over time and we also do it in our Dentrix database. The problem with clutter in your Dentrix database is that it can cause reports to be inaccurate. Let’s look at some of the places we tend to collect clutter in Dentrix and talk about some ways to clean it up.

1. Patient Database
Does your office have a protocol for inactivating patients after several failed attempts to schedule? For example, some offices will attempt to contact a patient three times before changing the patient’s status in the Dentrix Family File to inactive.

If you have attempted to contact a patient to schedule and have been unsuccessful, you can send them a letter letting them know you have been trying to reach them, and since they haven’t responded, you are going to change their status in your system to inactive.

When I sent the Inactive Patient letter, I was surprised how many patients responded. They did not want their status changed to inactive because they thought that meant they had to find a new dentist. Sending this letter enables you to clean up your patient database and may motivate some patients to schedule.

You can find the Inactive Patient letters in the Dentrix Office Manager. Click on Letters & Custom Lists, then click on Inactive Patient.



When you change a patient’s status to Inactive, be sure to delete their Continuing Care in their Dentrix Family File and to mark any outstanding treatment as Rejected, otherwise the patient will continue to show up on your Unscheduled Treatment Plan List and Continuing Care List. 

2. Provider Database

Do you have old providers listed in your database? This can be frustrating when you are scheduling an appointment and must choose from many providers. You can inactivate old providers in the Dentrix Office Manager > Maintenance > Practice Setup> Practice Resource Setup.


When inactivating a provider, you must choose a replacement provider. I recommend using a replacement with the same job classification, replace a doctor with another doctor, a hygienist with another hygienist.

To inactivate providers, all computers must be logged out of Dentrix and you should have a current back up. 

3. Employer and Insurance Database

Employer and Insurance databases often get cluttered. Duplicate entries happen in almost every office. It’s a good idea to have an office discussion about how employer names and insurance carrier names should be entered to avoid duplicates. For example, do we want to enter the insurance carrier name as Blue Cross Blue Shield or BC BS?

When entering a new insurance plan into the Dentrix Family File for a patient, I recommend searching by group number first to see if that group already exists in your Dentrix database. This can help to avoid duplicates.

To clean up your insurance and employer database, you can join plans and purge plans. Open the Dentrix Office Manager, click Maintenance > Reference, and then either Employer Maintenance or Insurance Maintenance.


It’s important to note that Dentrix only allows you to purge insurance plans that are not attached to a patient and have no outstanding claims attached.

To find out which plans are not attached to a patient you can run an Insurance Carrier List from the Office Manager > Reports > Reference > Insurance Carrier List. Check Include Subscribers. This will provide you with a list of insurance carriers and the patients they are attached to.



To check for any outstanding claims, run an Insurance Aging Report. From the Office Manager, choose Reports > Ledger > Insurance Aging Report.

I recommend purging and joining employers and insurance plans on an annual basis. Make it a part of your year-end routine to get a jump on your spring cleaning. You may not have a need to do it that frequently if you and your team commit to preventing duplicate entries. Create a policy on how employers and insurance plans should be entered in Dentrix and train the team. Have them get in the habit of searching for an employer or insurance plan before entering a new one.

For more tips, read the Dentrix Magazine article titled 6 Ways to Clean up Your Dentrix Database

Enjoy your de-cluttered Dentrix database! Please feel free to contact me with any 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, May 16, 2018

Tracking Production Accurately

I was training in a practice recently where there is one doctor and two hygienists. The hygienists are responsible for reaching a daily production goal. Both the hygienists and the doctor want to be able to run accurate reports for production and collections so they can set attainable goals. Dentrix offers some features which help to post production and collections accurately by provider so you can run reports at the end of each month and evaluate each provider’s production.

In Dentrix G6 there is a great tool to help you split procedures completed during the same appointment between providers. This is something that you usually do in the case of a hygiene appointment. The prophy would be posted to the hygienist and the exam would be posted to the doctor.

In the Dentrix Appointment Book, when you click the Set Complete button, you can click one of the completed procedures from the list and change the provider. That procedure will then be posted to the Dentrix Ledger with the correct provider. I really like this feature. It is a reminder to check and make sure the provider of each procedure is correct.



I recommend checking your day sheet at the end of each day to ensure all procedures were posted to the correct provider. I always find it frustrating to find an exam posted to a hygiene provider at the end of the month. It’s a needle in a haystack to find and correct it. I find that reviewing daily is more efficient.

Dentrix G6 also has tools to help you ensure that collections are posted to the correct provider. When you are posting a patient payment in the Dentrix Ledger, there is a “Split By Provider” option. This will split the patient payment between the appropriate providers.



Also, when you are posting an insurance payment, be sure to use the “Itemize by Procedure” option. The insurance payment for each procedure will be posted to the appropriate provider. And, finally, don’t forget to check that adjustments are posted to the correct providers too!



Using these tools in Dentrix, you can make sure both production and collections are posted to the correct providers. Accurate tracking and reporting of production and collections by provider allow the practice owner to evaluate which providers are most productive. This could be beneficial if the practice owner is considering a bonus or incentive system. In some offices, a hygienist must maintain a daily average production goal to be eligible for an increase in pay.

If you have questions or would like more information on this topic, please e-mail 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, May 9, 2018

Minimizing Open Appointments


Unfortunately, patient cancellations are a fact of life in every dental office.
I was in an office recently where the office manager complained she would get several messages from patients on a Sunday night, canceling appointments for Monday. The office schedule was typically very busy and booked out far in advance. The office wished they had a list of patients who would like to come in sooner to fill their schedule.

I recommend keeping a list of patients who may want to come in sooner for an appointment. It’s a huge time saver to have a list of patients ready and waiting to come in. There are many patients who may want to come in sooner. For example, a patient who is retired or works from home may have a schedule that allows them to be flexible for appointments. A patient with a toothache may be very eager to get started on that root canal as soon as possible. Or a patient who can only come in for a 4:00PM appointment may be willing to come at 4:00PM on any day. These are patients you can easily call and offer appointments to fill open appointment times.

Dentrix has appointment lists for these very types of patients. When the patient has an appointment scheduled but wants to come in sooner, you can assign these schedule types: Fixed, Open, or ASAP.

I suggest using Fixed for your patients who need a specific day and time and can’t be flexible and come in on short notice. Open would be used for patients with a flexible schedule who may be able to come in on short notice. ASAP would be used for patients who want to come in as soon as possible. (Dentrix defaults the schedule types to Fixed unless you customize this in the practice appointment setup.)

To assign a schedule type to a patient and have the patient show with a status of “open” or “ASAP,” open the Dentrix Appointment Book, double-click an open time, and select a patient to display the Appointment Information dialog box. Click the Schedule field and select ASAP or Open.



You can access the ASAP and Open lists from the Appointment Book, under the Appt List menu. In Dentrix G6.5 and newer versions, the ASAP and Open appointment lists have been combined into one interactive list that you filter to view the patients you want to see.

I particularly like this new feature because it makes the appointment lists more user friendly. You can select from ASAP, Appointments, Pinboard and Unscheduled Lists. Or you can create custom lists by clicking on Setup > Appointment List View.



The new Dentrix Appointment List is more interactive than previous versions because not only can you access the patient’s Office Journal directly from the list, but you can also access the patient’s other Dentrix modules, such as the Dentrix Family File, Patient Chart and Ledger. I find it helpful to have easy access to these modules when I’m calling a patient to schedule.

Once you have selected an Appointment List, or created a custom list, you can sort the appointments by clicking on the column header. You can use this tool to sort the appointments by name, by provider, by operatory and by appointment reason. I like to sort by appointment reason, especially when using the lists to fill an open appointment. I can start by calling the patients who need a high production procedure, like a crown, to maintain a productive schedule.

Try using these appointment lists to fill open appointments more easily. They give you a list to work from that is accessible from all computers. Also, team members can confidently contact these patients, knowing that the patients have expressed an interest in coming in sooner.

Please e-mail me at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com if you have questions or would like to learn more.


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, May 2, 2018

Managing Your Valuable Time


There are not enough hours in the day!

Do you find that you are so busy during the workday with patient care that sometimes you forget to do tasks like following up with an insurance company, checking if a patient made a scheduled payment, or doing a staff member’s performance review?

I had this problem and I found that the best solution was to become more organized. To-do lists and reminders help keep me on track throughout the day.

During the day, I always have Dentrix open, so it makes sense to have my to-do lists and reminders in Dentrix where they are easily accessible.

There are two places that I recommend for reminders.

The first is in the Dentrix Appointment Book. This reminder can be viewed by everyone in the office. This would be a great place to put a note like, “Today is Suzie, the hygienist’s, birthday.”

In the upper left corner of the Appointment Book, you will see “Note.” Click it to open the Appointment Book Day Note. It will be yellow if there is a note on that day and gray if there’s not.



The other place for reminders is the Dentrix Office Journal. The Office Journal is where we make notes regarding correspondence with patients. But did you know, as a staff member, you also have an Office Journal?

From the Dentrix Office Manager, open the Office Journal. If you are logged into the computer and you have passwords enabled in your office, your office journal will open. If you don’t have passwords enabled, the Office Journal will prompt you to choose a provider or staff member from a list.

Using your personal office journal, you can make reminders for yourself.
From your office journal, click edit, then click add.



Select “Reminder” and choose a date for your reminder. Give your journal entry a brief description and type more detailed information in the Note box.

Try making reminders for yourself. Open your personal office journal in the morning and keep it open so you can refer to it throughout the day.

You can even set your office journal to open automatically when you open Dentrix in the morning. From the Dentrix Office Manager, click Maintenance > Practice Set Up > Preferences. In the bottom left corner, check the Automatically Launch Office Journal box.



I find that being more organized really helps me manage my time better and ensures that all my tasks are completed at the end of the day. To-do lists and reminders can help keep you on track. If you have questions or would like to learn more, please e-mail 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, April 25, 2018

A Little Bit About Me...

From the Editors: This is the first post by the new Dentrix Office Manager blogger, Charlotte Skaggs. Charlotte is a former co-owner and manager of a successful dental practice and the founder of Vector Dental Consulting, LLC. She is a certified Dentrix trainer and has nearly 20 years of experience using Dentrix. We welcome Charlotte and look forward to learning from her. Follow Facebook.com/Dentrix to see Charlotte’s posts in your Facebook timeline or subscribe to The Dentrix Office Manager blog to receive her posts in your inbox.

I am so excited to introduce myself as the new blogger for The Dentrix Office Manager blog!

Dayna Johnson has given us so many great tips over the last seven years. I have some big shoes to fill, but I am excited to provide you with some advice based on my perspective.

I have worked with Dentrix for almost 20 years and I’m a Certified Dentrix Trainer. As an office manager in a general practice, I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient. When I find an easier or better way to do something, I love to share it with others. That’s what I want to bring to this blog. I plan to share tips with you that I have learned over the years about practice management and ways use your Dentrix software more efficiently.

Some of my favorite Dentrix training experiences are with offices that have been using Dentrix for many years. I love showing them features that can improve their daily workflow that they didn’t even know existed. I never get tired of hearing, “Wow! That’s so cool! I can’t believe we haven’t been using that feature.”

I want to share tips with experienced offices and with newer Dentrix users too. I’m such a huge fan of the software and everything it can do to help your practice. There are modules that help you to provide better patient care like the Dentrix Questionnaires, Medical Alerts, and Patient Chart modules. There are also modules to help you with the business side of dentistry, like all the great reports in the Dentrix Office Manager and new and improved ways to track production, collections and adjustments. I want to help you take advantage of the tools you already have at your fingertips!

Based on my experiences, I will also share practice management tips. I have personally worked late into the evening filling the schedule that just fell apart or calling on past due accounts to try to improve collections. I am excited to share what worked and what didn’t, so maybe I can save you some time and heartache.

When I’m not working in dentistry I enjoy spending time with my family. I like running and outdoor activities. I live in Florida so I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to be outdoors a lot.



I’m looking forward to getting to know you through the blog in the coming weeks and months. Please feel free to comment on my blog posts, and if there is a topic you would like me to cover, let me know.
Thank you for reading! 

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.


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

As I transition out of the Dentrix Office Manager blog my mission continues . . . To be a Resource, an Advocate and a Voice to all the Dentrix users in the World

From the editors: This is Dayna Johnson’s final post for The Dentrix Office Manager blog. Since May 2011, Dayna has been sharing real-life scenarios, management best practices, and Dentrix tips for every member of the dental team. We’ve enjoyed working with Dayna, and we wish her the best as she pursues new opportunities. We look forward to introducing you to a new Dentrix Office Manager blogger, Charlotte Skaggs. Watch for Charlotte’s first post coming soon.

In April of 2011, I received a phone call from the marketing department at Henry Schein Practice Solutions asking me if I would like to become the author of the new Dentrix Office Manager Blog. Me? Really? My initial response was, “I have never written anything in my life. Are you sure?” I knew how to run a successful dental practice and I was a huge advocate of the Dentrix software because I was using it in my own practice. Plus, I became a certified trainer in 2006. Could I really do this? Would people listen to what I had to say?

I took a huge step outside my comfort zone and said, “Yes.” Since I had never written anything in my life (that had been published), I asked a friend of mine who was helping me write my first presentation if she would also edit my blogs. So, in May of 2011, I published my first blog article and it was the start of something amazing. I wrote about real-life scenarios and talked about the things I was hearing about in other dental practices. People must have liked it because as of December of 2016, the audience had grown to more than 20,000 views per month. You actually liked me and what I had to say!

Writing The Dentrix Office Manager blog has been an honor and has brought me so much joy over the past seven years. Your comments and emails have proven that my content has given you a lot of great information, tips to use in your practice and an ongoing resource for Dentrix best practices. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your positive energy and kind words. As I transition out, my hope is that you will continue to gain plenty of helpful tips with the new author.  Don’t worry, I am not going very far and will still be actively involved in many Dentrix and Henry Schein events.



As many of you may have heard, I started an online Dentrix community in 2016 called Novonee. With the launch of this new resource, it is now time to pass the torch on to the new blog author. It is my pleasure to introduce the new Dentrix Office Manager . . . Charlotte Skaggs. You will love her! She brings the experience of a Dentrix user, practice owner and dental industry expert.  Charlotte and I have talked a few times and I am excited for her to take on this awesome responsibility.

Being a resource, an advocate and a voice for all the Dentrix users in the world is my mission and I hope to see you all at upcoming conferences, dental meetings or other events in the future. I will definitely be at next year’s Business of Dentistry conference. You can reach out to me anytime by phone at (425) 238-3699, by email at dayna@novonee.com or join my new community. We would love to have you!


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.


Thursday, April 12, 2018

What is my A/R and what is collectible?

Many of you have been asking, “What is my true accounts receivable balance?” and how do I know what is collectible? The answer is that it depends on what your parameters are and what you consider collectible. Let me help you define the different numbers from a couple of different reports so you can make up your mind about which number you want to use. Also, you can filter your accounts receivable by using different billing types if you want to separate out a group of accounts that have been sent to collection or Medicaid patients.

The most accurate accounts receivable number available is located on the Practice Advisor Report because it looks at all balances (credit balances and money owed). The Practice Advisor also does not care about the month-end process for aging the accounts. It looks at the date of service on the ledger. You can also filter this report by billing type if you want to skip accounts like “sent to collection,” “Medicaid” or “Ortho.” For more information on this report, check out Knowledgebase article #49693 for an online tutorial available in the Dentrix Resource Center.

This number on the Practice Advisor Report should match the Aging Report if you select the same parameters. The Aging Report is also the way you can get a list of all your patient credit balances. I think the Aging Report is a good way to see what your total accounts receivable is. However, it is not the most effective way to “work” your A/R.

If you have been reading my blogs for a while, you know how much I love the Collection Manager Report for managing the accounts receivable because of all the interactive tools it has and you do not have to print it. The one thing to remember about this report is that it only shows you positive money. It does not include credit balances. So your Practice Advisor report might show an A/R of $22k and your Collection Manager might show $56k. What’s the difference here? You have about $34k in credit balances sitting on your books that need to be sorted out. For more information on credit balances, CLICK HERE. For more information on the Collection Manager Report, CLICK HERE.

The final way you can find your office’s accounts receivable is by looking at the snapshot of your practice numbers from the Practice Analysis. From the Office Manager > Analysis > Practice and you will see a snapshot of your practice numbers. This snapshot is affected by the month-end process because one of the things the month-end does is move the ending balance from the previous month to the beginning balance of the new month. Therefore, if your month-end is not up to date, this ending balance might not be accurate.

Now with the new Month End Task Scheduler with Dentrix G6.6, this should make things better because the month-end processes now run in the background. For more information on the new Month End Task Scheduler, CLICK HERE.

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.


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

It's Oral Cancer Awareness Month . . . great time to update your clinical note templates

This month is Oral Cancer Awareness month and I hope you are helping to bring awareness to your community.  In my picture my daughter and I are blowing bubbles for those who can't to bring awareness to oral cancer.  You can save lives by screening for oral cancer and helping your patients catch it early. Now is a great time to re-evaluate your protocol for oral cancer screening and your clinical documentation.

Are you using the Dentrix clinical note templates? This is a great way to add in a templated prompt, so your team will be asked about the results of the oral cancer screening. It is so easy and so important to provide good documentation for your patient’s record.

If you are using a template for your hygiene visit, you can add two questions into your clinical note template that will give your clinical team a consistent and complete account of the OCS. Go to the Patient Chart > Clinical Notes > click on the Template Setup to open your templates. Many of these templates might be from the Dentrix initial installation so you will be editing an existing template or creating a new one.

 If you have an existing template, you want to add the OCS prompts then select your template and click on Edit Template. Now you can add in a new prompt that will ask you how you performed the oral cancer screening (visual exam, Velscope, other) and what the results were (negative, no findings, refer to oral surgeon, etc.). You can create prompts with check boxes or create a prompt with a text box that will give you space to write in specific findings.

If you are creating a new template specifically for the oral cancer screening, then click on New Template and start from scratch. When creating a new template, the left side of the window is where you will type in all the “static” text you want in all your notes and the right side of the set-up window is where you will add in your prompts. You can set up prompts as check boxes, text boxes, etc. 

Having thorough clinical documentation is critical to the integrity of your patient record and will protect you during a lawsuit or complaint to the licensing board. It is extremely important that you have a well-documented patient chart. The clinical note template is one way to accomplish this.

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.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Generate a Better List for your Unscheduled Hygiene

I love it when I am working with a team one-on-one on optimizing their Dentrix software and implementing new systems and one of the team members shouts out, “OMG! That is the coolest thing ever. You just made my day.”

This happened recently while we were learning the four reports for keeping your schedule full. One of the four reports I talk about is the Continuing Care list and using it to follow up with patients who are overdue for their hygiene visit. Since nearly half our nation has periodontal disease*, it is extremely important to follow up with both classifications of patients: Perio and Prophy.

With the traditional Continuing Care list, you can only generate a list of <ALL> continuing care types or a list of one at a time. Even though this is a great report for tracking unscheduled patients, it limits what you can view on your report. My goal when I am working with an office is to always look for the most efficient and productive way to perform the tasks we do every day in the dental practice. The Dentrix developers probably never realized that, when they updated the Letters and Custom Lists feature, they had also improved the way we generate a list of unscheduled recare patients.

When you use the Letters and Custom Lists as a report generator, you can get much more specific on your parameters. It is also a much more interactive report. When the report is more interactive, you do not have to print it because all the tools you need are available right on the report. Let me show you what I mean.

Go to the Office Manager > Letters and Custom Lists > Continuing Care > select a letter option in the list you are not using and click Edit. Then let’s turn it into a report instead of a letter. Here are my recommendations . . .
  • Rename it to “Continuing Care overdue patients” (upper left corner)
  • Make sure only “Patients” is selected and under the Privacy select “Does not apply to this letter”
  • Select the due date range and the continuing care types you want to search for in the Continuing Care >> button. You will need to select your due dates each time you generate this list.
  • Then, in the Data Fields, select what information you want to see in your list. The report will look somewhat like a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with columns of data and the Data Fields are the columns you are choosing to see.
  • When you are finished, click on OK.
  • Click on Open in List Manager.


Now you have a Continuing Care list that shows you all your Prophy and Perio patients on one list and you have all the icons at the top of the report to make notes, look at the ledger, see other family members, etc. This report will save you time and give you more information than the traditional Continuing Care report did. Also, you save more trees because you never have to print this report.
If you want my tip sheet on using this report, CLICK HERE and request it.



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.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

What?? I can now post a credit card payment and save the card? YES. YOU. CAN.


Did you know you can now save a patient’s credit card for future use while posting a payment in the patient ledger. What???? You mean I can save a patient’s credit card on file when I post a credit card payment in the patient’s ledger? Yep, that’s what I just said. Do you want me to repeat it again? Okay, I will during my webinar on Wednesday, March 14th. 

This is a total game-changer for the office when it comes to patient collections, cash flow and security. I am super excited to be sharing all the great news about the new Dentrix Pay integrated payment solution along with my friends at Vantiv, now WorldPay. You can register for the webinar by CLICKING HERE and if you are unable to attend the webinar you can watch the Dentrix Pay videos on the Dentrix Resource Center by CLICKING HERE.

Ever since I can remember, storing credit cards in the Dentrix software has been an issue. The office would store the credit card number in the Guarantor Notes or the Patient Note on the Family File without even thinking twice about it. This has never been a secure location for keeping credit card information for future use and still is not a secure location. It is good practice to use a credit card for any kind of in-office payment plan and it is the only way I would ever allow a patient to have an in-office payment agreement. You are just setting yourself up for a collection issue if you have to send the patient a billing statement or remind patients to mail in their payment. Having an auto withdrawal gives your office more security and peace of mind when offering in-office payment plans.

The new Dentrix Pay has other amazing features to go along with the saved credit card feature. Everything is integrated! Which means that when you process the credit card you can sign with your ePad, it will post the payment automatically to the ledger and you can also apply the payments to any Payment Agreements on file.

Check it all out in the Dentrix Resource Center or join me during the Dentrix Pay webinar on March 14th.



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.


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Creating a Surface Watch


When you are transitioning from a paper chart to a digital record, you want the patient tooth chart to accurately represent the patient’s mouth. This is the case for documenting existing restorations, missing teeth and areas of concern. These areas of concern, or as some people call “watches,” are especially important because you want to make sure you can easily read them, and they give a clear picture of what you are watching.

A “watch” in Dentrix terminology is considered a condition and will mark the tooth with a W, circle the tooth or could put a big box around it. Many of the doctors I work with ask me if there is a way to do a “surface watch” so they can see the exact surfaces they are watching. My response is “Yes, you can.” You can have two different types of watches — you could have a tooth or area watch and you can also have a surface watch. This way, it will paint differently on the tooth chart.


The condition codes are created in the Procedure Code setup and you can create new ones or edit the existing ones. Go to the Office Manager > Maintenance > Procedure code setup > scroll down to the Conditions category and find the Watch code and click on edit. In the lower middle of the window, there is a drop-down menu for Paint Type. This is where you can select how you want the condition to paint on the tooth chart. With the Watch Tooth condition, you can decide to put a W on the tooth chart or have it circle the tooth. It’s your choice.
What if you want to create a surface watch so it will show the surfaces of the tooth you are watching? That is easy! Select New Code and fill in the appropriate items in the setup and you will have two kinds of watches.

Here are the important things to fill in when you are creating new condition code . . .
  • Give it a description – Surface Watch
  • Give it an ADA code – This can be anything you want. All the conditions are numbers so you could use 15116, which is the next one in line with the Dentrix default list.
  • Give it an abbreviated description – SurfW or something like that
  • Under Treatment Flags, select Condition and Show in Chart
  • Procedure Category – Conditions
  • Treatment Area – Surface
  • Paint Type – Surface Restoration (solid, hatched or outline)

Now open your chart and refresh your chart. You can now add your new condition code to your Procedure Buttons and you will find it in the list of Conditions in the Procedure Code List.


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.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Never lose your original treatment plan estimates


I remember when I was working in a practice and, at the time, we were still primarily using paper charts. However, we were dabbling in going paperless. Our protocol with treatment planning was to print out two copies of the treatment plan estimate — one for the patient and one for the chart. This worked well because we always seemed to write notes on the treatment plan estimate so it was nice to be able to look back on that print out in the chart to see what we had talked about with the patient.

Then, one day, a patient asked me for a copy of his original treatment plan at the completion of his dental work because he had lost his copy. I am not sure what happened to our protocol, but I could not find our original copy. There was nothing in the paper chart and I was stuck. Once all the treatment is completed, you can never retrieve that original estimate and be able to re-create it for the patient record. This was a good learning lesson for me and something I pass on to clients every day.

Now, I always print one copy of the treatment plan estimate for the patient and print one to the Document Center for safe keeping. This way, I know that it will always be available to look back on and print it again if the patient requests it. I also found out that there is a note box on the digital copy within the Document Center where I can make notes about the financial arrangement or any other special notes that I want to remember.

This is one of the most brilliant features of Dentrix is the ability to do a “virtual print” with any kind of document to the Document Center without having to scan. This saves time and storage on your server drive. This feature is simple to use and I can send you a tip sheet as a reference guide if you would like. Just email me directly at dayna@raedentalmanagement.com and I will send it to you.

When you are printing a document or a treatment plan estimate, select the printer called “Print to Dentrix Document Center” and your document will then be stored in the Unfiled Documents folder on the Document Center. Now you can attach that document directly into the patient’s Document Center for safe keeping.



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.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

It's Tax Time! Here is Help on Printouts for Patients


Don’t you just love this time of year . . . tax season!  Patients are calling in asking for a printout of their account to send along with their taxes and receipts to prove they spent money using their HSA account.  It has been over a year since the last time you had to generate these printouts for your patients, so you might have forgot.  


I want to try and make it easy for you.  Instead of printing an account ledger, which can be extremely confusing to patients and usually does not give the government what they want, I am going to show you two alternative options. You can also use the second option for patients who are looking for statements to report to their HSA accounts.
  1. The first option is if the patient does not need the year-end statement to have ADA codes. Open the Ledger > File > Search Payments. This will open a new window where you will select the parameters for your search (date range, guarantor name, payment types, etc.), then select Print.
  2. The second option is if you need a payment history that includes ADA codes (most HSA plans want the ADA codes included). First, go to the Office Manager > Maintenance > Practice Setup > Preferences and make sure the “use ADA codes in description” is checked. Next, from the Office Manager > Reports > Billing, we are going to create a customized billing statement as a year-end print out.
    • Change the Statement Date to the end of the report year (12/31/2017) and the Beginning Balance Forward date to the beginning of the year (1/1/2017)
    • Select the Guarantor family only
    • Set the Minimum Balance to Bill to 0
    • Uncheck all options
    • Clear out the Statement Message
    • Uncheck Save as Default


Don’t forget April 17th is tax deadline for filing your own taxes, UGH!



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.