It goes without saying, the ultimate goal for nearly every dental practice is to provide their patients with the highest quality of care possible. Every effort is made to ensure the patient is comfortable and that procedures, treatment plans and processes are well understood. It is these communication efforts that drive a practice to meet and exceed goals that they have set out to achieve.

Recently, I started a project with an office that was focused on improving their treatment plan presentations. For many years, the office presented treatment plans through a combination of treatment conversations between the doctor and patient, followed up with a hand-written treatment plan estimate provided by the front desk clerk. This system worked well but patients often had many follow up questions, so the dental team decided it was time to take their treatment plan presentation to the next level.

Before I arrived, the team had already taken the leap and started entering treatment plans into the Easy Dental Chart. With a short observation, it was easy to see that the team was completing this task very well with very few errors. Their process involved the dentist and dental assistant entering the treatment plan into the computer chairside, and then the dental assistant would notify the front desk clerk that the treatment plan was ready. Upon notification, the front desk clerk would then print out the treatment plan from the Easy Dental Estimator.

The process that the dental team had developed was working well for them. They already noticed an increase in patient compliance, with a few patients remarking on the improvements the office had implemented. The treatment estimates were well-received by all, there was just a few scenarios where a complicated treatment plan left the front desk clerk in a situation where she was forced to improvise.

In the past, the front desk clerk had full control of treatment plan orders and the options she presented to the patient. In light of the new treatment presentation processes, she found herself using highlighters, numbers and arrows to produce hand-written instructions on how to read the treatment plan. After working with her to understand her process, we were able to quickly implement the treatment plan sort order tools within Easy Dental to eliminate the need for her colorful drawings.

Difficult treatment plans with complex option layouts can take some effort to produce. It is important to maintain the set treatment plan presentation processes, despite the need for the extra effort to maintain an elevated level of communication. A simple treatment plan layout with clear explanations will allow your patient to better understand the treatment. And when patients have a clear understanding of what you recommend, there will be fewer follow-up questions.

The end result of this project is that, weeks later, everyone is still adjusting to the change and everyone is smiling. If setting treatment plan orders is not common practice within your dental office, I would like to challenge you to try out a new process, then see who is smiling as a result. Here are some tips for setting a patient’s treatment plan orders:

Setting Treatment Plan Orders is as Easy as 1, 2, 3…

  1. The treatment plan order is set within the Estimator module. To open the Estimator module, access the patient Chart, select your patient, then click the Estimator icon. (The shortcut keys to open the Estimator module from the Chart window are Alt + E.)
  2. The treatment plan order, displayed as Ord in the first column of the Estimator window, will always display as a question mark (?) for a single procedure until the order has been set.
  3. To set the order for a single procedure, click the procedure to highlight it, then select the Set Order icon and choose the order number of letter.

    The default sort order in Easy Dental is to list all unsorted (question mark items) first, then numbered orders in sequence as the second priority, followed by lettered orders in sequence.

    • Note: To select more than one procedure at a time, use CTRL then click on each procedure line to highlight.

      Click to highlight procedure(s), then…


      …select the Set Order icon and choose a desired order.


Additional Details

  • Use the Display Orders icon to make your treatment plan orders look different at a glance.

    Display Orders allow you to set the color for each treatment plan order. In the image below, I have set order 1 as blue, order 2 as red, and order 3 as green.

    • To change the color, open the Display Order menu, then click the color box next to each sort order number/letter, select a desired color, and click OK to save.

      Corresponding procedures in the designated order will change to match your color coding options when viewed in the Estimator.
    • You will quickly notice that Orders can be set by number (1-26) or by letter (A-Z). You can use the order to show alternate treatment options by setting a number sequence for the recommended treatment option and letter sequence for the alternate option. In the example below, I have used numbers to indicate the periodontal treatment plan and letters for the restorative plan:
    • The Display Orders can be selected (or deselected) to show or hide treatment plan details. Simply check the boxes next to the Orders you want to show.

      • Note: The Display Order set as visible on the Estimator window are the only items that will print on the treatment estimate. This is a great for printing “Option 1” vs “Option 2” for the patient to consider.
    • Last, but certainly not least, when printing you patient’s treatment estimate, you can choose to print Sub Totals by Order. The treatment cost for each order will be provided on your patient’s estimate. This is a great tool for explaining the cost estimate for each visit, or step, of the treatment plan.


David Broom is Senior Director of Product and Business Development. David has a master’s degree in Information Technology (IT) from the University of Texas in Dallas and has more than 35 years of experience from many global companies such as Hitachi Vantara, Methode Electronics, and Keane, Inc. In his current role, he is responsible for all aspects of the product management and field service teams at Henry Schein TechCentral, which identifies the ideal advanced technologies to meet the unique needs of the dental market and ensure that dental offices are using the right IT to be more efficient and effective.