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 and contact Dayna at

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