A Patient Charting Primer

Create more accurate clinical records with the visual tools in the Dentrix Patient Chart. 

When you are traveling down the path to a paperless office, the computer is your patient chart, and your clinical documentation is all stored electronically. You no longer have your blue and red indelible pencils to draw in the existing fillings, put Xs on the missing teeth, and mark up the tooth chart the way you want it. The goal with an electronic chart, as with a traditional paper chart, is to make it as accurate as possible so that as the doctor walks in for the exam or discusses the treatment plan, mistakes aren’t made based on inaccurate information.

This article teaches some of the tips and tricks you can do with Dentrix to make the patient chart look as accurate as possible.

A Few Charting Tips

Remember when you were treatment planning that occlusal pit composite filling or the MOD that covered the entire mesial cusp, and you could get out your colored pencils and color away? You can do the same thing in the Dentrix Patient Chart. As you treatment plan the procedure, from the Select Surface dialog box, just click the Cusps/Pits button to expand the dialog box, select the paint surfaces you want, and click OK.

If the filling has already been treatment planned and you want to change the look of the filling, right-click the tooth in the Patient Chart, and then click Edit Surface Painting in the shortcut menu. In the Edit Surface Painting dialog box, make the needed changes, and click OK.

Remember in the paper chart you could pick up your pencil and draw in a lingual bar retainer or circle something you wanted to remember? With the Chart Notations, you can do exactly that. On the Chart module tool bar, click the Chart Notations icon and then click Edit Notations. The Dentrix Notations palette appears. Select the color and size of pen you want, such as a Fine Point Pen. Use your mouse to freehand draw on the tooth in the Patient Chart. If you want to erase your drawings, select the eraser tool.

What about the patient who had 4-bi extractions during ortho when they were a teenager? You don’t want it to look like they have missing teeth. What about the patient who has a large diastema between 8 and 9? Using Conditions in the Procedure Codes palette, you can create a visual picture of the patient’s mouth.

Here are some common conditions to use:

  • 15000 Mesial Drifting: Use this for missing teeth when the space has been closed. This paint type will put arrows to show the space has been closed.
  • 15112/15113 Mesial/Distal Open Contact: Use this for diastemas and open space between teeth.
  • 15114 Unerupted: Use this condition when the tooth is below the gum line. (Using this condition will also cause the Perio Chart to skip the tooth.)

As you explore the features and capabilities of the Dentrix Patient Chart, you’ll discover how easy it is to create and maintain accurate charts as you continue down the path towards a paperless office.


Learn More

To learn more about the Dentrix Patient Chart, see the “Patient Chart overview” topic in the Dentrix Help.

For more tips designed for Dentrix Office Managers, subscribe to the Dentrix Office Manager blog at thedentrixofficemanager.blogspot.com.


By Dayna Johnson, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Dayna Johnson, founder and principal consultant of Rae Dental Management, helps dental offices improve patient care, increase collections, and reduce staff headaches by implementing efficient management systems. With 20 years of experience in the business and technical side of dental offices, Dayna’s passion for efficient systems is grounded in both personal understanding and professional expertise. Dayna can be reached at dayna@raedentalmanagement.com or visit her website at www.raedentalmanagement.com.

Originally published in Dentrix Magazine, Fall 2015