Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Family Relationships in Dentrix

When thinking about the patients in your practice, some of them might have blended families. You're going to need to handle those unique family situations within Dentrix. Today's blog post focuses on different ways of handling those family situations.

Head-of-Household

The first thing to be aware of is that the person set as the Head-of-Household in the Dentrix Family File is the person to whom billing statements will be sent. This is especially important to consider for blended families, to avoid awkward situations. For example, if a husband and wife are divorced, you will want to take care in where you send the statement. The Head-of-Household can be changed in the Family File.


Insurance Subscribers

Children of blended families may have insurance through more than one subscriber. It’s important to know which subscriber is considered the primary and the secondary for each insurance company. Often times, the Birthday Rule will apply, meaning whichever subscriber’s birthday comes first in the year is the one that is considered the primary subscriber. For example, if Mom’s birthday is in April and Dad’s is in November, then Mom would be considered the primary insurance subscriber for the child. 

If the insurance subscriber is not a patient in your office, it is important to assign the subscriber a Non-patient status in the Family File to avoid Dentrix counting them as an active patient and therefore skewing your practice’s active patient numbers. 

Merging and Separating Families

You may have the need to merge families in Dentrix, as well as separate them. This can be done in the Family File by clicking Edit > Edit Family Relations.

You will need to merge families together in the following cases:
  • A Family File was created for a patient whose family are already patients.
  • Two patients in your practice get married and need to be joined as a family account.
You will need to separate families in the following cases:
  • Husband and wife divorce and require separate accounts.
  • An adult child moves out and requires a separate account.

It’s important to note that accounts in Dentrix are family accounts so any patients requesting separate accounts should be separated into their own Family File. 

Those of you who have been using Dentrix for a long time, may remember that separating and combining families had to be done while everyone was out of Dentrix. I’m pleased to say that is no longer the case. However, the family can’t have any outstanding claims or pre-estimates. 

Also, it’s important to remember that individual patient balances will be affected when combining and separating families, which means if your office posts payments to the Guarantor and not the individual patient, the patient balances may become inaccurate. 

Knowing how to manage family relationships in your office is important because over the life of your practice, changes will happen in your patients lives, and you need to know how to handle those changes within Dentrix.

Please e-mail 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, September 11, 2019

Specifying a Provider for Continuing Care

Selecting a continuing care provider for a patient from the Continuing Care module has been a feature in Dentrix for a long time, but few offices know about it. So, I thought it would be a good topic for this week. The ability to set a provider for a patient’s continuing care can be a very beneficial feature for your office to use! Not only can it save a lot of time when scheduling appointments and eliminate errors, but it also indicates to all team members which hygienist a patient prefers to see.

In Dentrix, when you schedule appointments, the provider for the appointment generally defaults to the patient’s primary provider. But when you are scheduling a continuing care appointment with a hygienist, this can be cumbersome because you have to change the provider assigned to the appointment to the hygienist’s provider ID. Additionally, any time you make a change to the appointment, for example if you add X-rays or fluoride treatment, the provider will change from the hygienist back to the patient’s primary provider.

But, did you know that you can assign a continuing care type to a particular provider? In the Family File, select a patient and double-click the Continuing Care block. Select one of the Continuing Care types, for example, Prophy, and click Edit. You can select a Provider for this continuing care type. The options are Provider 1, Provider 2 or you can assign another Specific Provider from a drop-down list. Assign the provider who will be completing the continuing care procedures during an appointment for this continuing care type, and click OK to save the changes.



Once this has been set up, when you schedule an appointment for that continuing care type, the appointment will be automatically scheduled with the selected provider and there will be no need to change it!  For offices that schedule continuing care appointments, this is a huge time saver and eliminates errors when completing appointments and assigning procedures to specific providers.

Selecting the provider for a continuing care type is also a great way to indicate if a patient prefers to see a particular hygienist. By assigning a continuing care type to a specific provider, when you schedule a continuing care appointment in the future, the preferred hygienist provider number will automatically appear in the Appointment Information window.

Please contact me with questions about this topic or others 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, September 4, 2019

Viewing Production Goals in the Appointment Book

Setting and working towards goals in areas of life can help you to achieve them. Setting and working towards goals for your practice works the same way. When scheduling patient appointments, I like to use the Dentrix Appointment Book to help me schedule in order to meet practice production goals.

In the Appointment Book, you can view scheduled production for the day, the week, and the month. This allows you to see how you are doing each day, and can schedule additional production in order to meet practice goals.

You can view an individual day’s scheduled production on any computer by using Appointment Book Views. When setting up an Appointment Book View, make sure the View Amount option is checked.




Then when viewing the Appointment Book, the production amount for the day is shown as a number in the upper right corner of the schedule. Once activated, this number can be seen in the day, week, or month view. A zero is used as the first digit to help disguise that this is a dollar amount.







Another way you can keep track of scheduled production amounts is using the calendar within the Appointment Book. When you view the calendar, click Scheduled Production to see the entire month’s scheduled production, as well as how much is scheduled on each day.




This option is a great way to view your monthly scheduled production, and also shows you how close you are to the practice’s monthly production goal (if those have been set up) and what has been produced so far. You can quickly view each day and see which days have high and low production.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when viewing scheduled production and using this information to schedule appointments.


  • For the production amounts to be accurate, the patient must be assigned to the correct fee schedule. If you participate with insurance carriers, the fee schedule needs to be attached to the patient’s insurance and the treatment fees should be updated. This is very important to avoid the scheduled production appearing inflated.
  • The procedures attached to appointments need to be accurate. If a patient is scheduled for a dental cleaning, but the exam and X-rays aren’t attached, then the scheduled production won’t be accurate.


Knowing how to view scheduled production and then scheduling patients to meet your practice production goals is a great way to keep your practice on track. If you have questions about how to set up practice goals, or how to implement the ideas discussed here, 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, August 28, 2019

Quickly Scheduling Appointments Using Initial Reasons and Treatment-Planned Procedures

When scheduling an appointment in Dentrix you can select procedures from the Initial Reasons list or from the Treatment Plan Reasons list—all from within the Appointment Information dialog box. Here’s how I use both of these options and why.

The Initial Reasons List

I use the Initial Reasons list to schedule routine procedures. For example, exams, X-rays, adult and child cleanings can all be set up as options to choose from the Initial Reasons list.



This is a fast way to schedule routine procedures. This can also be a great way to schedule appointments for team members who aren’t familiar with individual procedure codes. The Initial Reasons list can be customized with the routine procedures you often do in your office in the Dentrix Office Manager. 

Another great way to save time when scheduling using the Initial Reasons list is to set up multi-codes and include them in the Initial list. For example, you could create a multi-code that contains all the procedures for a child prophy, periodic exam, x-rays and fluoride. By adding the multi-code to the Initial Reasons list, you can now easily schedule all those procedures in just a couple of clicks. Multi-codes can be created and edited in the Dentrix Office Manager. 


The Treatment Plan (TX) Reasons List

The other way to schedule a patient appointment is using the TX button, which contains a list of all of a patient’s treatment-planned procedures. This includes treatment-planned procedures that are tooth- or surface-specific, for example, a filling or a crown.



These procedures can be treatment planned in the Patient Chart and then scheduled using the TX button in the Appointment Information window

Note: I don’t recommend treatment planning routine procedures (such as cleanings or X-rays) because if a patient cancels their routine procedure appointment, those procedures will be considered an unscheduled treatment plan and will affect your unscheduled treatment plan reports and case acceptance reports. 

Using these appointment scheduling options in Dentrix can help save time and ensure your Unscheduled Treatment Plan Reports are accurate. 

Please e-mail me with any questions 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, August 21, 2019

A Few Remarks about Claim Remarks Templates

Do you find yourself writing the same narrative over and over on insurance claims? I’ve found that for some procedures I tend to write the same narrative for many patients. For example, scaling and root planing is a procedure I find myself writing similar information for every patient.

In Dentrix you can set up templates for claim remarks to add narratives to claims with a single point and click. This can save time so that you aren’t always re-typing the same notes. And by having a note template set up, it takes the guesswork out of what to write in the claim remarks.

Insurance companies are constantly changing the information they want to know about a procedure and providing them with that information when initially filing the claim can help to avoid delays in payment.

I’ve set up claim remarks for the following procedures:

  • Crown due to cracked tooth
  • Crown following endodontic therapy
  • Crown due to large filling with recurrent decay
  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Scaling and Root Planing

I also have a claim remark setup that states that a primary EOB is attached, to use when filing a secondary claim.

Pre-written claim remarks can be added to a claim and can also customized within the insurance claim window in the Dentrix Ledger. These notes can also be set up and customized in the Office Manager. You can choose to select one or multiple claim remarks on each claim.

Delays in insurance payment for insufficient information can be avoided by providing insurance companies with any and all information they may request when initially filing the claim. Receiving insurance payments in a timely manner helps to maintain healthy accounts receivable and cash flow.

If you have questions about how to set up claim remarks or why it’s important to add them, please e-mail me at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com. Let me know what procedures and situations you create claim remarks for!



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, August 14, 2019

6 Tips for Confirming Patient Appointments

Making sure that patients come for their appointments and arrive on time is an important part of the front office team’s job. Having patients miss or forget appointments can be costly to the office, resulting in lost production and lost revenue. One way to make sure that doesn’t happen is by having a method in place for confirming patient appointments.


Here are some of my best tips on confirming appointments: 

  1. Confirm appointments two days in advance. On Monday, confirm Tuesday and Wednesday’s appointments. That way if a patient cancels the appointment during the confirmation call, you have given yourself additional time to fill the opening on the schedule. Call Monday appointments on the Friday before to confirm them.
  2. Consider using a service to confirm appointments by text and e-mail. In today’s world, many people prefer reminders this way and it saves your office time by not having to contact these patients by phone. Patient Engage offers options for these services.
  3. Request a confirmation call back. When leaving a voicemail, I find it beneficial to request the patient call the office back to confirm that they will be coming their appointment.
  4. When creating or updating patient accounts in Dentrix, request more than one phone number for patients. When possible, get an alternate phone number such as a work number in addition to a mobile number. This gives you more opportunity to reach the patient directly.
  5. Use appointment statues to indicate how the appointment was confirmed or if you had to leave a message, so you know which patients to attempt to contact again. Appointment statuses can be customized in the Dentrix Office Manager.
  6. If you want to make note of anything unusual that transpired during the confirmation call, the Dentrix Office Journal would be a good place to do that. An example of something unusual I would make a note of would be if I left a message with a person, such as a caregiver. 
Successfully confirming appointments can help to ensure that patients make it to those appointments. Broken appointments results in lost production and revenue. Minimizing broken appointments is beneficial for your practice. 

If you have questions about confirming appointments, 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, July 31, 2019

Don't Overlook the Dentrix eDex Module!

The eDex module is available in Dentrix versions G6 and newer. eDex is an electronic contact list and directory. It’s like the Rolodex you used to keep on your desk with all your important phone numbers and addresses.  eDex puts contact information at your fingertips, which can eliminate the need for you to store this information on paper. Post-its with phone numbers or business cards can easily be misplaced or lost and if they are in your desk drawer, no one else in the office has access to them. Having contacts right in Dentrix eliminates the chance of these contacts being lost and allows the entire team to access the information.

I’ve found that many offices aren’t familiar with eDex or it’s features, so I wanted to provide you with some more information.

The eDex icon is available in many Dentrix modules, including the Appointment Book, Family File, Patient Chart, Ledger, and Office Manager.


eDex comes with thirteen pre-set categories. These categories are generated from the information already in your Dentrix database and help you to filter the information you want to see. They pre-set categories are:
  • Active Patients
  • Inactive Patients
  • Archived Patients
  • Non-Patients
  • Employers
  • Insurance Carriers
  • Labs
  • Pharmacies
  • Primary Care Physician
  • Providers
  • Referred By
  • Referred To
  • Staff

Remember though, that this information will only be complete and accurate if you are entering it when you create new patient account, or when you update patient information from paper or online forms.

Two great things about eDex are that 1) you can filter your Dentrix database to search for contacts and information and 2) that you can also add your own contacts or create additional categories.

To filter your database, open eDex and click the Filter icon.



Check the box for the category of information you want to see.


When filtering by Employer, Insurance Carrier, Referred By and Referred To, a list of attached patient’s names will be displayed along with a total number of patients. This can be a quick reference as to how many patients are attached to employers, insurance carriers and referral sources rather than having to generate a report to get this information.

When you filter by Insurance Carrier, covered patients and an insurance coverage table based on that carrier and group plan will be listed.


You also have an option to add notes for the insurance plan within eDex and create note templates as well.

When filtering eDex by Patient, the patient’s next appointment will be listed, and you have the ability to update the Appointment Status or go directly to the appointment from within eDex.


eDex also allows you to create your own categories and contacts. This is a great place to store contacts like your equipment repair service, office cleaning services, your IT guy, or pharmacies you use for prescriptions. Storing these contacts in eDex eliminates the need for you to keep these contacts on paper or as a collection of business cards.

Dentrix eDex serves two purposes. The first is a way to filter your Dentrix database and give you information quickly without having to move to another Dentrix module or generate a report. The second is to provide you with a place to store office contacts so they are easily accessible.

For additional information, read these helpful blog tips about the eDex module:



If you have questions about eDex or the benefits of using it in your office, 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.