Open Dental User Newsletter
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Open Dental is the first practice management system to integrate with the ADA’s Dental Experience and Research Exchange (DERE)™, a new outcomes assessment, research, and reporting program intended to promote excellence in dental care. 

Open Dental users have a groundbreaking opportunity to help improve oral health outcomes in their practices – and beyond. Learn more and enroll today.
Newsletter Contents
New Feature Highlights
Software Update: Version 21.2 has been released as Stable, implementing many exciting features including 17 features requested by our users. 
For the full list of new features by version, please visit the versions page in our manual.
Explore the New Features in our Feature Highlights Webinar

New Features in Stable Version 21.2 include the following:

Highly-Requested Features

New Billing and Pay To phone number fields have been added to Practice Info window

Phone numbers can be added in Setup > Practice. When the option is selected, the Bill To phone number is used on claims.

The Waiting Room now allows you to choose how the patient’s name is displayed and in which view it is displayed that way

In the Appointment View, the default is First name, Last name, but you can choose from the two new options: First name, Last initial, or just First name.
If you don’t want the patient showing in the waiting room if their appointment is in an operatory not in the current view, check the box to filter the waiting room based on the selected appointment view in Appointment Module Preferences.

Pay Periods can be set up for semi-monthly payroll cycles (twice a month)

When setting up Pay Periods, use Semi-Monthly settings to determine the dates. In this example, the 1st and 16th are the pay dates. (If choosing End Date, that would indicate pay periods ending on the 1st and the 16th.) The payday settings below ensure employees will be paid on a weekday.

Specific Procedure Codes can be excluded from the Incomplete Procedure Notes Report

Set up codes to be excluded in Report Setup: Misc Settings, Excluded Codes for Incomplete Procedure Report.

A new General Messages option in Automated Messaging allows you to send an automated email or text* after an appointment is set complete

This can be used to invite patients to post a review, etc.
* Must be signed up for Integrated Texting to text these messages.

New eClipboard Features

New eClipboard Setup options
  • Allow patients to take a photo of their photo ID or insurance card.
  • Allow you to select sheets for patients by the patient’s age.
  • Enable 2-Factor Authentication for patients filling out sheets in eClipboard.
More control over Treatment Plans in eClipboard
  • Treatment plans can be updated while still loaded to the eClipboard device. Simply make the edits to the saved treatment plan in Open Dental, then click eClipboard. Updates will reflect in eClipboard.

New Patient Portal Features

Patient Portal invites have new options
(Now more centrally located in the Automated Messaging window.)
  • Invitations can be emailed to patients before or after an appointment.
  • Patient portal invites now allow language translations.
    Once the messaging rule has been created, click the Add Language button and enter the translation.
    NOTE: Just like all other areas of Open Dental that allow translations, your practice will need to create and enter the translated text into Open Dental.

New Family Module Features

When a Discount Plan is attached to a patient, treatment planned fees are automatically updated
  • You do not need to click Update Fees in the treatment plan module.
  • A new Audit trail permission tracks when a Discount Plan is added or edited.

A waiting period can be set by procedure code in Other Benefits

Open the patient's insurance, click into Other Benefits, and enter a waiting period for benefits.

New Account Module Features

Hover over Unearned Income to see how much is in each Unearned Type
  • Add PaySplit Unearned Types that fit how your practice takes prepayments.
  • The family’s total unallocated amount shows under Unearned in the top aging bar. Hover over the total to view a breakdown of the family’s unallocated, unearned balance. All unallocated prepayments within the family are summed by Unearned Type.

Enhanced integration with Edge Express (by Global Payments Integrated)

  • Edge Express virtual credit cards can be accepted for Insurance Payments.
  • Edge Express Patient Payments no longer require a physical terminal. The card number can now be stored in Open Dental (and used for Recurring Payments as well).
NOTE: Edge Express is currently the only virtual merchant integrated with Open Dental Cloud.

Refund a patient payment with a new right-click option

  • Right-click the original payment, and select Refund (overpayment).
  • By default, a full refund split will be created. Adjust paysplits as needed when refunding only a portion of the original payment (see
    NOTE: If the original payment was made using a credit card processor integrated with Open Dental, follow the steps in our manual.
New functionality in Dynamic Payment Plans
  • Treatment planned procedures display on printed Dynamic Payment Plans.
  • Charges on a Dynamic Payment Plan can be deleted right from the Account Module. Simply right-click the PayPln: Debit item and select Delete Charge.
    NOTE: This option is only available when the Pay Plan charge logic, Age Credits and Debits is selected in Account Module Preferences.
  • Quickly fix production overcharged on Dynamic Payment Plans from inside the Dynamic Payment Plans Overcharged Report.
    Simply highlight the item to fix, then click Fix.

New Chart Module Features

Procedures with Quad or Arch treatment area can also have a tooth range, and both can be sent on the claim
This is useful for codes that have multiple treatment areas (e.g. SRP procedures or space maintainers).  In the Edit Procedure Code window, check the & Tooth Range box, then click OK.
NOTE: This check box is can only be checked when the Treatment Area is set to Quad or Arch.

Multiple Ortho Chart rows can be added on the same day

If a patient has multiple ortho visits on the same day (to adjust a painful wire, for example), that can now be noted as an additional row in the Ortho Chart and have a different provider, as needed.

New functionality in Referrals

Other New Features

Sales tax will automatically display on taxable procedures in the Treatment Plan
Once you've added the sales tax Adjustment Type and entered the sales tax rate in Account Module Preferences, you're nearly ready to use this new feature.
For any procedure that should show tax automatically, check Auto Tax in the Edit Procedure Code window
Open Dental will automatically display the tax amount in the procedure description unless the Tax Est Display Field has been added to the treatment plan (in that case, sales tax shows in a separate column, as shown below). Sales tax is automatically added to the patient portion.

Active Patients Report includes a filter for Patient Status

Patient Status defaults to all patients. Highlight the preferred patient status(es) as needed to filter the list.

Search for an insurance Carrier using their electronic ID

See Carriers and Canada Carriers in our manual for more.

Show hidden hee schedules in the Fee Schedules window

If you have recently converted to Open Dental, you likely have quite a few hidden fee schedules. Fee schedules are hidden by default, so if you'd like to see them, simply check this box.

New Global Update options in Fee Tools

Separate options allow Global Updates to either Update Fees (office fees) or Update Write-offs (insurance estimates).

New Features for Multi-Location Practices

Global Updates in Fee Tools can now be run for specific Clinics
Select a specific clinic when running Global Updates to either Update Fees (office fees) or Update Write-offs (insurance estimates).

Each Clinic can set its own default Billing Type and Assignment of Benefits

A Global preference in Lists > Clinics allows each clinic to have a separate billing type. Each clinic can have its own Assignment of Benefits setting as well. If a clinic is a specialty office or is out of network (a fee for service office), they can check this box to have the insurance pay the patient. The office would then collect the full fee from the patient at the time of service.

Associate referral sources to clinics 

By associating referral sources to clinics, practices with multiple locations throughout the state or have locations in multiple states can use this to filter what referrals are closest to the specific clinics. 

Cannot hide a clinic without moving patients to a new clinic

If the clinic has patients assigned to it that have a status of Patient, NonPatient, or Inactive, a warning will appear when attempting to mark as hidden. See more in our manual on Clinics.

Sheets allow static images per clinic

Once set up, each Clinic can have a different default image (a logo, for example) that is used automatically in their Sheets. See the Sheets Static Image page in our manual for details

A Windows service has been created to monitor replication status

Learn more about this on our Open Dental Replication Service manual page.

In Beta Version 21.3

  • Keyboard shortcut Ctrl+F brings up Select Patient Window in Open Dental
  • Set default parameters for statements in the Account Module
  • eReminders can include a Premedicate Tag to remind patients about pre-treatment medications
  • Chart Module images: multiple images can be opened simultaneously
Announcements and Helpful Info

Open Dental Marietta Street Campus Progress Update #5

Open Dental has continued to grow to serve you better, and we now have over 300 employees! Learn about all the recent changes here.

Questions & Answers with an Open Dental Expert: Lead Clinical Analyst

Open Dental is backed by a team of experts from all kinds of backgrounds. In our new Q&A series, we’re interviewing our experts in various specialties. Meet Michi, our Lead Clinical Analyst.

Planning for Coverage: Open Dental Setup for Temporary Employees

Whether your staff is going on vacation or has a planned leave of absence to welcome a new addition, these tips will help you prepare for temporary staff that will be filling in.

Feature Highlight: Claim Attachments

Some procedures require additional information like images, an EOB, a narrative, or other items to be attached to the claim. We’ll look at the options for claim attachments.
Tips & Tricks
We love sharing tips & tricks with you!
In our latest tips & tricks post, we discuss how to resubmit a claim that was partially paid, how to record a patient’s gender identity, and how to find an appointment when it’s been accidentally deleted.
Highlighted Partners & Supplemental Services

“I’ll think about it.”
How to close the case when patients are shutting down

You’ve probably had many treatment plan presentations that ended with the patient saying “I’ll think about.” Learn the questions to ask to turn your patients’ “I’ll think about it” into “Let’s get that treatment scheduled.”

A Guide to Contactless Payments

“Contactless payment” has become the big buzzword across the payments landscape. But what does it actually mean, and how does it work? Learn the answers to these questions and more in this guide to contactless payments.

3 Important Steps to Prevent Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware attacks are on the rise and there’s no way to stop cybercriminals from targeting your dental practice. Learn how to backup, update, and educate.

Online patient reviews: Why they matter and how to
improve them

Patients are looking at online reviews and ratings to select their healthcare providers. Learn how you can improve your online ratings and stand out from the crowd.
Get to Know Us
We are so happy to have been able to hold our annual company picnic this year!
Here's a look at some of our employees who were able to gather for a group picture.
We had nearly 400 people in attendance this year as we celebrated, and it was wonderful to see all the smiles in person.

Honey is good for your smile!

Several Honey Imagepeer-reviewed medical articles have explained how raw honey could be used in the mouth to decrease the pathogens causing tooth decay and gum disease. Learn more in this article.
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