Managing Revenue

Count On the Account Module

The Account Module is where your patients’ financial information is stored. There are too many great features in the Account Module to review them all in detail here, so we’ll focus on the basics. Look for links to additional resources at the end of this post for the rest!



There are several numbers throughout the module that help you see the patient balance and insurance estimate.


Family Aging: This grid displays the aging for the family balance. These amounts show the full balance, regardless of insurance estimates or expected write-offs.

Total: Displays the total balance for the family. It does not take into account insurance estimates or expected write-offs.

-InsEst: Displays expected insurance payments for the entire family. This number only updates whenever a claim has been created or received.

=Est. Bal: Displays the estimated balance for the entire family, after insurance estimates and write-offs have been calculated.

Pat Est Bal: Displays the estimated patient portion due for the selected patient.

Unearned: Displays the amount of money that is not attached to a procedure or is associated with an Unearned Type (like a pre-payment).


The Select Patient grid also displays the full balance for each patient, and family balance at the bottom. Click a patient to quickly view their account, or click Entire Family to see them all together.

Show Tab

The Show tab is a great tool to customize what you see by applying filters to the Patient Ledger.


Use the Start/End dates or the date buttons to filter the ledger. Click Refresh to show the filtered results in the Ledger.

Show Proc Breakdowns: Check to show information such as the insurance paid amount, write-offs, patient portion, and amounts paid for individual procedures.
In this example, you can see the full fee was $204. The patient paid $28.80, insurance paid $155.20, and the write-off was $20.00.

Show Family Comm Entries: Check this box to show commlogs for the family, or uncheck it to just see commlogs for the selected patient.

At the bottom of the Account Module, you can view commlogs related to the family.


Note: The Name column populates based on the selected patient. If you are selected on the patient related to the commlog, the box is blank. When filled, it shows the first name of the patient associated with the commlog.

Show Completed Pay Plans: If the family had a payment plan in the past that is now complete, check this box to display it. See our Manual for details and information about Payment Plans.

Patient Ledger


The ledger can become a bit overwhelming as more and more work is completed for a patient. Couple that with adjustments, overpayments, supplemental payments, and other oddities, it can be difficult to keep everything straight.

Here are some tips:

  1. The ledger is organized by date. (e.g. payment date, service date, claim sent date, etc).
  2. Single-click on an item to show the attached procedures. In this example, we clicked on a claim, and the associated procedures and claim payment were highlighted.
  3. Attaching procedures to payments is vital. If you take a payment today for a procedure completed 3 months ago, you want to associate the procedure to the payment (see Paysplits). This helps you know exactly how much was paid to a procedure. It avoids overpayments, and allows you to pinpoint the procedures that still have a patient portion due.
  4. Write-offs happen on claims only. Use Adjustments for everything else (like an office discount).

Helpful Resources

Read our three-part series that covers multiple account-related features in detail:

  1. Managing Your Patient Accounts Part 1: All About Claims
  2. Managing Your Patient Accounts Part 2: Adjustments and Account Procs Quick Add
  3. Managing Your Patient Accounts Part 3: Repeating & Recurring Charges and Payment Plans

Watch our Account Module Playlist on Youtube!

What tips and tricks do you have that help you manage your patient accounts? Comment below!
As always, if you need assistance with the Account Module or any other part of Open Dental, feel free to Contact Us.

6 replies »

  1. Could you have est patient balance show in the appointment module in the appointment or appointment bubble, or even better, the est patient balance plus the est patient portion of the current appointment?

    As we are collecting payments in advance (as mentioned above) when collecting payment over the phone we can easily see the patient portion for the upcoming visit, but it is not easy to see if the patient also has a balance that should be handled as well.

    Even more ideally, can the est patient balance display what procedures the balance is for in the view?

    Alternative suggestion: patient dashboard field with all of the above (especially outstanding balances with associated procedures listed?)

    • Hi Amanda – thank you for your feedback! We would suggest adding EstPatientPortion to your appointment view – this would give you the patient portion due for the treatment-planned procedures on the appointment. Then, create your patient dashboard to show the patient balance. This will show their outstanding patient balances on COMPLETED procedures, so between the dashboard balance and the estimated patient portion in the appointment, you’d have complete view of what the patient would owe at the end of their appointment. Hope this helps – please don’t hesitate to reach out to our support team if you need help with anything. Please also consider submitting a feature request about this. Thank you 🙂

      • We already have that in place. 🙂 If on the patient dashboard the balance could: show patient estimated balance in addition to the family level balance, that would be great.

        And if that could show what procedures are associated with the balance, that would be fantastic as the most common question at prepayment is “What is this balance for?” and requires a lot of hunting through the ledger. If the outstanding charges ( with procedure codes, abbreviations, and ideally layman’s terms) could also display, it would be easier to answer this quickly

      • Glad you’ve put those tools to work for you! To request additional updates to the features you’ve mentioned, please use our feature request system. Learn more here:
        When you accept a patient payment, (depending on your setup), the system can be set up to automatically allocate it to what the patient owes on specific procedures. Our support techs are happy to help you with this so please reach out as needed. Thanks!

  2. With pre-payments becoming the post COVID-19 norm, there has to be a better way to attach payments to procedures not completed yet that will not confuse people and cause more internal chaos. What are you doing to address the changes being implemented in almost every practice across the country? What is being done to alleviate more headaches for practices as we return to modified operations?

    • Thank you for your comment, Dr. Lowe. This is a challenging time for everyone, and we remain committed to providing the tools and support you need as you start seeing patients again. There are Account Module Preferences ( for “Treatment planned prepayments” that can help with this issue. When enabled, they allow prepayments to be allocated to treatment-planned procedures. When accepting a patient payment, you’ll see a separate tab called “Treat Plan” and you can allocate prepayments to specific procedure(s). Our support team is happy to help answer any questions you have about this – please reach out in the way that’s most convenient for you: We know that returning to this new normal is an ongoing process, and we are working to provide the tools practices need to make this process as headache-free as possible.

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