Simplify Treatment Planning with Alternate Cases

Discover how setting up treatment options correctly in the Treatment Planner helps ensure accurate case acceptance numbers. 

Updated 6/30/20

As the profitability coaching team works with offices on treatment planning and case acceptance, we find that many offices are unaware of how the Treatment Planner is designed to be used and that not using it properly can affect the Case Acceptance section of the Practice Advisor Report. It’s important to track treatment cases correctly so that the numbers in the Practice Advisor Report reflect true case acceptance numbers and so that we can tell if there are concerns that need to be addressed. Low case acceptance numbers suggest that you may need to spend more time presenting and/or explaining the necessary treatment to motivate the patient or to reinforce the need for the treatment to the patient.

To use the Treatment Planner properly, you should be setting up alternate cases when patients have more than one treatment option. If you do not create an alternate case when you are presenting treatment to a patient, all of your options are together in one folder in the Treatment Planner, making it difficult for you and your patients to see the different treatment options.

This article will use an implant vs. bridge scenario to demonstrate how to create alternate cases. In our scenario the patient needs to have #8 and #9 extracted, and we want to give him the option to replace the teeth with either implants and implant crowns on #8 and #9 (the treatment we recommend) or a bridge from #7-#10. When you follow these steps in your office, the specific procedures you use will be different, but the steps will be the same.

First, Treatment Plan everything the patient will need to have done, including any alternate options. We’ll need to treatment plan the extractions, the implants and implant crowns, and the bridge. Everything you treatment plan will be placed all together in the default treatment plan case, but we want to break it up into two options. From either the Treatment Planner or the Treatment Plan Case Setup panel in the Patient Chart, right-click the folder that includes the treatment planned procedures. Select Rename Case and name the case “Implant Option”.

Next, right-click the case you just renamed, and then select Create Alternate Case. The Create Alternate Case dialog box appears. Type “Bridge Option” for the name of the alternate case. Then, clear all check boxes except for the procedures you need to duplicate in both cases. Since the extractions will need to be done no matter which treatment option the patient chooses, clear all check boxes except for the extractions, so they are listed in each treatment option. Click OK. You now have two folders in the Treatment Planner that are linked together. You can tell that they are linked because they have the same color link icon next to the folder name.

Next, drag all of the bridge procedures from the Implant Option case into the Bridge Option case. We want to recommend the implant case to our patient. Right-click the Implant Option case and select Mark as Recommended Case. Dentrix marks the case as recommended and creates a new default treatment plan case. Only the procedures in the recommended case are painted in the Chart, and Dentrix creates a new default case to which all future treatment-planned procedures will be added.

Note: If the case you want to recommend is the default treatment case, it will already be set as the recommended case, so you can skip the step of setting it as the recommended case. However, be aware that if you don’t mark the case as recommended and just leave that case as the default case, any new treatment you treatment plan will be added to the case. See the sidebar in this article for more information about the default case.

When the patient decides which case they are going to proceed with, select the case, click the Update Case Status button and select Accepted. Any cases linked to this case are automatically marked as rejected, and Dentrix creates a new default treatment case if the case you are accepting is the default case.

Using the Treatment Planner correctly and setting up alternate treatment plan cases allows you to print each case separately, which makes it easier to explain the options to the patient. It also makes it easier for you to track which treatment you’ve presented and which treatment has been accepted or rejected by patients, and it allows Dentrix to calculate more accurate case acceptance numbers in the Practice Advisor Report. When you have accurate case acceptance numbers, you will be able to determine how well you’re doing with case acceptance and find ways to improve so your practice is as profitable as possible.


Sidebar: Understanding the Default Case

The default case in the Treatment Planner contains all treatment planned procedures which have not been assigned to another case. All procedures you treatment plan for a patient are automatically assigned to the default case, and from there they can be moved to individual cases.

  • Usually, the default case is labeled as Treatment Plan with the date a procedure in that folder was first treatment planned for the patient.
  • The default case name appears in bold in the Treatment Plan Case Setup panel.
  • You can rename the default case.
  • You cannot delete the default case.
  • You can make any case in the Treatment Planner the default case, except for a case that is linked to another case and isn’t set as the recommended case.
  • If you change the case status to indicate that the case has been accepted, rejected, referred, or completed, Dentrix automatically adds a new case and sets it as the default case.

Learn More

To learn more about creating alternate cases, see the “Creating alternate cases” topic in the Dentrix Help.

Read “Creating Treatment Plan Options for Your Patients” and “Creating Alternate Treatment Plans” for more treatment planning ideas.


By Kim Thornton, Dentrix Profitability Coach

Originally published in Dentrix Magazine, Summer 2014