Specialty Practices

Ortho Features in Open Dental

If your practice offers orthodontic services for your patients, this post is for you. We’ll be discussing essential setup steps, and give you some really smile-worthy tips for ongoing management of ortho activity in Open Dental.

Proper setup is essential, and here are the steps.

1. Enable Ortho

    • Go to Setup> Ortho.
        If you prefer to watch & learn, check out our Ortho Setup Webinar.
      Our recommended setup looks like this:
    • Options 1 and 2 will enable (based on selection) the Auto Ortho tab in the Account Module, an Ortho tab in the Insurance Plan, and Ortho Information in the Ortho Chart as shown below.

      Auto Ortho tab in the Account Module

      Ortho tab in Patient Insurance

      Ortho Info in the Ortho Chart

    • Option 3, when checked, tells the system to set a Preauth or Claim as Is Ortho if they contain procedure(s) that fall within the Ortho span in Insurance Categories.  When a claim is marked Is Ortho, it will then pull in the date of placement and the months in treatment.

      Insurance span for ortho determines Is Ortho on Preauths and Claims

    • Option 4 tells the system to use the first completed ortho procedure as the Date of Placement.

      Date of Initial Placement is used as Date Start in the Ortho Chart.

    • Option sets a typical duration.  Just set what’s most common – this can be customized for each patient for their actual treatment duration .  Override this default in the Account Module Auto Ortho tab.
    • Option 6 – make sure to check this one! It allows users to right-click on an appointment and go straight to the Ortho Chart.
    • Option 7 allows a patient clone to be created to handle everything having to do with a patient’s ortho treatment separate from their general dental treatment. A patient clone is a complete patient account so all treatment, insurance processes, payments, etc. are all handled within the account as normal, just separated by treatment specialty. Specialties are created in Setup > Definitions > Clinic Specialties. Specialties can be assigned to a specific Clinic if only certain locations provide specialty services like ortho or oral surgery.
    • Option 8  sets the default procedures to be used on periodic (Auto Ortho) claims.
    • Option 9 – make sure to check this option to Consolidate Ortho Insurance Payments!
      When this option is checked, it forces all payments to go to the original claim.
      With this option checked, if a user accidentally tries to post a supplemental payment to a claim that is not the original claim, they will get a warning, and it will only allow the supplemental payment to be applied to the original claim.
      We recommend you create an Insurance Payment Plan. That way, all payments can be posted there and applied to the original claim. If supplemental payments are applied to periodic claims, it can result in the appearance of a patient credit balance.
    • Ortho Chart Display Fields is a shortcut to where you set up the display fields for your Ortho Chart. Although you may do that from here, you may find it more convenient to do all your Ortho Chart setup from the Chart Module – see Ortho Chart Setup below.
    • Ortho Placement Procedures – enter/edit procedures codes here that are used by your practice for ortho placement. These procedures will be considered for the Date of Placement if you’ve checked option 4.

2. Set Your Security Settings

  • Ortho Chart Edit (full) permission allows/blocks a user from creating, signing, or editing ortho charts.
  • Ortho Chart Edit (same user, signed) permission allows/blocks a user from editing and signing ortho charts created or signed by others.
  • Team members responsible for entering supplemental insurance payments will need to have the Claim Sent Edit permission.

3. Ortho Chart Setup

Even though there is a link to set up Ortho Fields in Setup > Ortho, we recommend you set up your Ortho Chart using the Ortho Chart button in the Chart Module toolbar, so you can do all ortho chart setup from one place.

  • First, create custom Patient Fields Defs to add to your Ortho Chart.
    Go to Setup > Family/Insurance > Patient Field Defs.
    Some commonly-added fields include:

    • A phase start date field for each phase
    • A phase end date field for each phase
    • Hygiene
      TECH TIP:  Fields can also be a picklist, however, only one option can be selected (i.e. for Hygiene, a status of Good, Fair or Poor). If you need to select multiple options, create an AutoNote with a prompt so you can choose multiple items from the list.
  • Customize your Ortho Chart. In the Chart Module, click on the Ortho button, then on Setup.
  • You can customize and add Tabs for your Ortho Chart.
    Tabs appear as a drop-down on the Ortho Tab button in the Chart Module.
    Each tab can have its own set of fields that display.
    Customize the fields to display in each Ortho Chart Tab.

    • Select the Tab.
      Click to highlight an Available Field, then use the arrow to add it to your view.
    • If you don’t see a field you need in the view, create one by typing it into the “New Field” box, then move that to your view.
      TECH TIP:  Fields are mirrored in both the Ortho and Endo tabs, so if you want notes or other information that is different for ortho vs. endo, you will need to create separate fields (i.e. Ortho Notes, Endo Notes.)
    • To enable a signature box, check the Chart Module Preference to Allow digital signatures. Then, in the Chart Module, Ortho Chart button, Setup, add a field for signature, checking the box to add that to the Ortho Chart.

4. Insurance Setup

    • Verify ortho benefits for your patient.
    • Make sure to enter the ortho benefit information in the Edit Benefits window, so the annual max for their general benefits is not applied to orthodontic treatment.
    • In the Ortho tab, set Ortho Claim Type, and any other options that apply.

5. Set Up Appointment Types

Set up Appointment Types by age for easier appointment scheduling. When you set up an Appointment Type, you are able to:
– Set an appointment length
– Assign specific procedures
– Assign a color for better differentiation on your Schedule

Managing Ortho Claims and Payments

  • Create and send the original claim (when banding happens)
  • Create an Insurance Payment Plan to quickly apply payments against the initial claim.
  • If you’ve set up the Auto Ortho Tool, periodic ortho claims will be created automatically based on a set frequency and fee.
  • This information is stored in the Auto Ortho tab in the Account Module.
    TECH TIP:  If your claim type is set for Initial Claim Only, the Last Claim field will show the date of the intial claim. However, if your claim type is Initial Plus Periodic, the Last claim field will show the date of the last Auto Ortho Claim .
  • Create a Billing Type to use with your Patient Clone. That way, you can do billing, run A/R, payments reports, etc. just for your Ortho patients.


Run these reports on Ortho Activity

    • Insurance Payment Plan Report – filter by Billing Type to see just your Ortho patients.
    • Patient Payment Plan Report – filter by Billing Type.
    • Aging of A/R – filter by Billing Type.
    • Procedures Report – select Group by Code to see how many Ortho Procedures you’ve completed in a date range.

  We introduced even more Ortho features in Version 22.2 – check them out here.

Your patients will love their new smiles – and we want you to be smiling too. If you need help with any of the features here, or elsewhere in the software we’re here to help. Just reach out as needed!

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