Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Customizing the Dentrix Appointment Book for Optimum Workflow

Because we are all individuals, we each have different opinions and prefer different things. This also applies to the way you work in your office and how you customize Dentrix so that it works most efficiently for you.  

I’m often surprised when I train an office and show them a customization setting in Dentrix, and they are thrilled. They can immediately see that customization is a game changer for them because it improves their day-to-day processes.

Below are some customizations you can make in the Dentrix Appointment Book and how your office can use them to optimize your workflow.

Viewing Provider Columns

When you create and edit views in the Appointment Book, one of the options you can turn on is View Provider Columns. Once turned on, you’ll see ribbons of color on the left side of your Appointment Book. The colors correspond with the provider colors you have already set up. While some offices love the provider columns because they can use them to quickly find an available appointment time, others prefer not to view them so they can fully expand their Appointment Book.


Customizing the Hover window

The Hover window is a great tool that can give you a quick look at appointment or patient information. But did you know you can customize not only which information appears in the Hover window, but also how long you have to hover over an appointment before it appears? Some offices love the Hover window, but others don’t. Most likely it’s because the Hover window appears too soon, and it pops up and gets in the way.  You can customize the Hover window settings from the Appointment Book toolbar (click Setup, Practice Appointment Setup, and then click the Hover Detail Setup button.) If your office decides to use the Hover window, I suggest that you hide the patient’s Social Security number. Hiding the Social Security number helps to ensure that your practice is keeping patient’s sensitive information private, and in my opinion, there’s not a need to view it the Hover window. 


Customizing Flip Tabs

Flip Tabs are another great feature to set up in your Appointment Book. They are workstation specific, so you can customize them based on the needs of the user of that workstation. By using Flip Tabs, you can quickly jump within the Appointment Book to a specific date to schedule a patient’s future appointment. Many offices have Flip Tabs set up for three, four, and six months to schedule their recall patients, and two- or three-week Flip Tabs set up for crown seat appointments. 



By using customizations, Dentrix can help your office to optimize efficiency and improve workflow. The features I mentioned are just a few of many available customizations. Dentrix is designed to make your work life easier and to do some of the work for you. If you have questions, 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, February 17, 2021

3 Ways You Can Get the Most Out of eDex

eDex is a feature in Dentrix that can be used for several different purposes in your office. It can be used to store contact information for the labs and pharmacies your office typically uses. It can also be used as a reference for insurance carriers to quickly see (without having to generate a report) which patients are covered and view the carrier’s coverage table. eDex can also be used to show you a snapshot of the patient’s information (like you can using the More Information icon in Dentrix). 

Storing Contact Information

eDex acts like an electronic Rolodex within Dentrix. This is a great place to store contact information for pharmacies, labs, equipment repair technicians, and your Dentrix trainer. Using eDex to store this information eliminates the need to collect business cards and sticky notes that can easily clutter up your workspace or get lost. Because this information is stored in Dentrix, any team member can access it from any computer. You can even create your own categories for the types of contacts you would like to keep for your office.


Referencing Insurance Information

eDex is also a great tool to use to access insurance information without having to generate a specific report. You can use filters built into eDex to only show the insurance carriers you’ve entered into Dentrix. Then you can select a specific insurance carrier and plan and easily see plan information, including address and benefit renewal month, the plan’s coverage table, and any insurance carrier notes. You can also use eDex note fields to create templates which can be used to enter additional insurance information, such as frequency limitations or age limits.


Filtering by insurance carrier will also show you insured patients covered under the selected plan and will total the number of insured patients to give you a quick reference of popular plans in your office. By understanding how you can reference insurance information in eDex, you can easily answer questions when a patient calls your office and says they have Cigna PPO through FedEx and asks how preventive services are covered under their policy. Or if your doctor wants to know how many patients are covered under the Delta Dental insurance plan to justify continuing as a participating provider in the future. 

Viewing Patient Information

When filtering eDex by active patients, it provides you with a snapshot of the patient’s information. You could use this similarly to how you use the More Information icon in Dentrix to gather additional information about the patient. In eDex, you’ll see:


a. The patient's picture, address, phone number(s), email address, and date of birth
b. The patient's insurance carrier with a link you can click to view the coverage information
c. The patient's next appointment date
d. The next appointment's status
e. An icon you can click to view the upcoming appointment in the Appointment Book
f. Patient notes from the Family File
g. Account notes from the Guarantor Notes
h. The ability to make eDex notes and create note templates

Within eDex, you also have the option to access other Dentrix modules for the patient, like the Family File, Ledger, Patient Chart, and Document Center and Appointment Book. 

Viewing eDex patient information is a great place to start if a patient were to call you on the phone. You could select their name in eDex to let them know when their next appointment is, or what their insurance coverage would be for a particular procedure category. 

Additional Information

For more information about using eDex, read the following:

If you would like more information about eDex, 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, February 10, 2021

Do More Than Just Search for Payments

The Search Payments feature in the Dentrix Ledger is a topic I’ve mentioned before in this blog. However, I’ve recently had many questions on how to search for payments in Dentrix, so I thought this topic is worth revisiting. You can use the Search Payments feature to accomplish several things:

  • To search for all types of payments (cash, check, credit card, and so forth)
  • To provide patients with a list of payments they have made within a date range
  • To search your Dentrix database for other information regarding payments, such as insurance payments to reference when presenting treatment plans or how much a particular insurance company has paid your office during a specified date range


You can learn more about each of these tasks below.

Searching for Payments

Searching for a specific payment can be beneficial for a couple of reasons. You could use it to locate a patient check that was posted to the wrong account or if an insurance payment was posted inaccurately and you need to see what patients are associated with the payment in order to correct it. When searching for payments, you can filter by guarantor, by payment type, by insurance carrier, by date range, by payment amount, and/or by check number. 

Creating a List of Patient Payments

At times you may have a patient request a list of all payments that they’ve made throughout the year. Many patients will need this information for tax purposes. The benefit of using the Search Payments feature to provide the patient with this information is that you can choose to only include patient payments (not insurance payments) and Dentrix will provide a total of payments made during the specified date range. You can print this information for the patient, and you can also provide the patient with a cover sheet for the payment information. 

Finding Specific Payment Information

Another reason you may use the Search Payments feature is to reference insurance payments. An office I work with is an out-of-network provider with a patient’s insurance carrier, United HealthCare. In trying to provide another patient that has United HealthCare with an accurate estimate for their treatment plan, the office wanted to find out what the allowable amount is for a procedure.  By using the Search Payments feature, the office was able to generate a list of all patients with United HealthCare, who have had an insurance payment posted to their Ledger. They could then reference that list of patients and look at the explanation of benefits from the insurance company to determine the allowable amount for a procedure. 

The Search Payments feature in Dentrix can obviously be used to search for specific payments but can also be used to provide patients with payment information for tax purposes, or can be used to search within Dentrix for information about insurance payments in order provide patients with accurate treatment plan estimates. 

For more information on this topic, please 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, February 3, 2021

Showing Appreciation for Your Team

As the Super Bowl is approaching this weekend, it makes me think about playing on a team. In football there are players who score touchdowns as well as the supporting team members the defense. Similarly, in the dental office there are producers that generate production for the office, such as doctors and hygienists, as well as supporting team members like office managers, assistants, and administrative staff.

It is important to show all the players on your team your appreciation and share the “trophy” at the end of the game, which in your dental office may be sharing the success of a very productive month or a month of high collections.

Showing your team appreciation can come in many different forms. You could buy your team lunch, treat them to coffee, or simply tell them “thank you.” I really like using the Daily Huddle Report when meeting with your team to give them a pat on the back. The Daily Huddle Report will show you important information like how much production is scheduled for today, as well as how much production was completed yesterday, collections totals, and your month-to-date calculations. Use the Daily Huddle Report on a daily basis to incentivize your team to meet production and collection goals and also express appreciation for a job well done.

I am also a big proponent of monthly meetings. This is another time that you can share the success of your practice with your team. You can use the Practice Advisor Report to really delve into your production and collection numbers on a monthly basis, as well as reviewing things like unscheduled time units and numbers of continuing care patients who are scheduled for appointments. By recognizing that your appointment coordinator effectively schedules appointments to maximize provider working hours, or to recognize a hygiene coordinator for her efforts to schedule patients for their next recall appointment, you can help that team member to feel more pride in their work so they continue to do it efficiently and effectively.

Employees and staff tend to respond better to positive reinforcement than to negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement can help your team continue striving to be the best in their respective office roles. It can also help create a more pleasant work environment in your office. 

Recognize your team for the dental champions they are, and they will continue to win games for your practice. Use Dentrix reports to not only learn where your office needs to improve but also to reward and incentivize your team for a job well done.

If you have questions on ways to train team members in your practice, 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.