Organized Dental EHRs

Dental electronic health records (EHRs) are no different than medical records.  They need to be organized, categorized and accessible for efficient patient care. The dental professional, whether the physician or hygienist, provides better care when the records are handled appropriately and information is properly entered and stored.

“With a properly configured computer in your treatment areas, clinical records can be placed directly into the patient’s electronic record. Single entry allows the treatment plan to be updated; insurance coverage to be calculated and filed, and accounts receivable information to be processed before the patient departs the treatment room” (2002).

Selecting the right dental EHR is no easy task, as there are many options to consider. Additionally, decisions regarding transition, implementation, workflow, and staff affect will need its due attention. Choices made regarding software that pertains to practice management, clinical reference, and digital radiology will all come into play.

Periodontal charting, that is, recording pocket depths along the gum line, is important in overall oral health as it can reveal less obvious health issues, such as diabetes. Some dentists select voice recognition software for this process to improve accuracy in recording and can be done without assistance.

Patients can be better educated regarding their dental health as well; “3-D multimedia presentations, designed specifically for either the treatment rooms or the reception area” can be available (2002).

Lessons learned:

  • The electronic record can be treated like the traditional paper, which often makes transitioning much easier.
  • Dental radiology imaging is more quick, effective, and accessible in the treatment room with the patient.
  • Clinical reference software allows patient information regarding medical history, condition, and treatment to be readily available.
  • Practice management software takes care of the “nuts and bolts” of scheduling, tracking, and processing insurance.


Kahn, E. and Benjamin, S. (2002, Apr.). Computerized charting and the electronic health record in dentistry. Dental Economics, 92 (4); 60-65.