Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Things to Focus on in the Fourth Quarter

Yesterday was the first day of fall, which means cooler weather, football, and pumpkin-flavored…everything! 

It also means it's time to think about what you can do for your patients during the fourth quarter of the year. 

We are all experiencing challenging times and some patients may be experiencing financial hardships. Your dental office should be doing everything you can to make your patient’s treatment affordable. One way you can do this is by helping your patients use their dental insurance benefits. 

Here are a couple of ways you can help patients take full advantage of those benefits.

Continuing Care

Due to offices being closed because of the pandemic, patients may have missed out on their recall appointments. I would suggest generating a Continuing Care report for patients who are past due for recall, as well as for patients are due for recall in the upcoming months. You could use a due date range of January 1st, 2020 – December 31st, 2020 to view patients who were due earlier in the year or who are going to be due for a prophy or periodontal maintenance sometime before the year ends. 

If you have made a habit of documenting frequency limitations in the insurance plan note, view those notes before contacting the patient to schedule. You can help patients to make the most of their insurance benefits by reviewing this information. For example, if a patient was seen in July for a prophy, and that was their first prophy of the year, they technically aren’t due for six months, which would be in January 2021. But, if their insurance allows for a prophy two times per calendar year, you could schedule them to come in for another prophy in December, so they can maximize their insurance benefits. This research may take a little more work, but would be worth it to get your patients their maximum benefit.

Outstanding Treatment Plans

The Treatment Manager in Dentrix is my favorite tool to find patients with outstanding treatment plans towards the end of the year. You can use filters when setting up the Treatment Manager to generate a list of patients whose insurance benefits renew in January and who have an outstanding insurance maximum remaining. 

This can be very beneficial for patients, especially those with several treatment-planned procedures, as they can split up their outstanding treatment and do part of it in 2020 and the remainder in 2021. This can result in both a higher insurance reimbursement for your practice and a lower out-of-pocket expense for the patient. 

Help your patients maximize the insurance benefits they pay for, before those benefits renew in January! It's not only a service to your patients, but can also help your practice keep a full schedule and consistent production during the final quarter of the year. 

Email me with questions at

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

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