Open Dental

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Open Dental
open dental Logo
Screenshot of open dental
Practice Management Software
Original author(s)Dr. Jordan Sparks
Stable release
19.1 / July 2, 2019; 2 months ago (2019-07-02)
Preview release
19.2 (Beta) / March 20, 2019; 5 months ago (2019-03-20)
Written inC#
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows[1]
Available inMultiple Language Packs [2]
Typedental practice management software
LicenseGNU General Public License

Open Dental, previously known as Free Dental, is a dental practice management software licensed under the GNU General Public License.[3] It is written in the C# programming language compatible with Microsoft .NET Framework and was first released in 2003. Current versions of the software require Microsoft Windows. Earlier versions of the software had supported other operating systems, but Linux support has been dropped.[4] The full function version is only available under the commercial license because it includes royalty bearing, licensed materials from the American Dental Association (ADA), the Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature (CDT).

Open Dental is owned and sponsored by Open Dental Software, Inc., which is incorporated in the State of Oregon in the United States of America.[5] Being an open source software, any programmer has the freedom to develop and support Open Dental. The company makes money through its monthly technical support fees, which are required for the first 6 months of use. The first open dental customer bought the technical support services on July 22, 2003.[6]


The database uses the dual licensed MySQL database program. The structure of the data, or schema, is available for all to see and use (the data is still secure), and the dentist has control of and access to all data. Both local preferences and those which apply to every computer in the office are stored in the mySQL database.

The database schema is published and publicly viewable at[7]

Relational database benefits to dental practice[edit]

There are documented benefits to using a relational database when storing and retrieving data: the relational model offers "advantages over the hierarchical and network models through its simpler data representation, superior data independence and easy to use query language".[8]


Relational databases like Oracle and MySQL have mechanisms that can be used to keep the availability (of the database) very high. For instance, with MySQL replication, "the active primary database ships transactions to one or more standby databases. These standby databases apply the transactions to their own copies of the data. Should the primary database fail, one of these standby databases can be activated to become the new primary database".[9] High availability is of clear importance when a customers (patients) have expectations of service at a particular time (an appointment). Open Dental provides replication support for users whose availability, mobility or multiple physical location needs demand it.[10]


Mobile dental programs have special needs including offline data collection, central data availability and public health reporting. All of these needs are met with Open Dental. An example of a mobile dental program that has published[11] their experience using Open Dental is the St. David's Dental Program.[12]


Structured Query Language (SQL) allows the user to pull data from the database for analysis. Open Dental provides over 1,100 user queries that have been requested by users,[13] and advanced users may write their own queries to get specialized information from the database.[14]


Open Dental can be scaled from a single, one-computer user in a small office to dozens of computers per server over multiple physical locations.[15]


The project wants "this software to become the world standard dental software. We want to make it easy to access and share data. We are tired of the restrictive policies of the current dental software companies. We want the user to always have total control, not the software company. And most of all, we want software that just works well”.[16]

There are an estimated 10,000 offices using OD, and an estimated 10,000,000 patient records.

Dr. Jordan Sparks has done most of the initial programming. They have a team of additional programmers employed these days.[citation needed]



  • Create unlimited operatories and unlimited providers.
  • Edit views, colors, default values.
  • Schedule and modify appointments.
  • Show pop-up alerts, financial and medical notes.
  • Recall scheduling.
  • Contact all patients on the days schedule from the appointment view.


  • View patient records (HIPAA compliant).
  • When possible, fields are filled automatically or checked for potential errors.
  • Save billing type and insurance information.
  • Sign Procedure Notes: Digital Signatures. Sign or initial procedure notes using a Topaz signature pad or by using a stylus on a touchscreen.
  • Patient Info Terminal (Kiosk): A way for a new patient to enter their own information from the waiting room. The receptionist controls the terminal from another computer. Can also be used to let patient update their info if it has changed. New patients can check off items in list of conditions.
  • Track student status and referrals.
  • Track credit and contact notes.


  • Send communication to patients.
    • Email, text, or mail appointment or recare reminders.
  • Patient and Insurance billing system with e-claim functionality
    • E-claims: go through a clearinghouse to submit all e-claims or submit directly to carries that support the X12 files/claims. The X12 EDI Format is the standard defined by ASC (ex-ANSI) and specified by HIPAA.
  • Track referrals and lab cases.
    • Lab Cases: set up turnaround times on each procedure type for due dates to be calculated automatically.
  • Create and track payment plans.
  • View patient and family balances.
  • Credit Card Processing Integrated credit card processor with swipe terminal.

Treatment Plan[20][edit]

  • View/Edit/Save treatment plans.
  • Prioritize treatment.
  • Create multiple treatment plans.
  • Create planned appointments for treatment planned care.
  • Print or send electronically insurance preauthorization forms.


  • Enter and organize patient clinical information.
  • 3D tooth charting with timeline to show treatment over time.
  • Track progress and treatment notes.
  • Supports paper and electronic prescribing.
    • Rx Alerts: Crosslink Diseases to Rx definitions so that an alert is triggered for allergies, etc. when writing an Rx.
  • Procedure codes: Currently, the following sets of procedure codes are available as separate databases: blank, usa, canada, uk.
  • Perio Charting: chart manually or using voice commands.


  • Add and manage patient images.
  • Integrate with Radiography, scanner, digital camera devices.
  • Images can be zoomed in and out, rotated.
  • Import Word, PDF, and Excel files or scanned images.


  • Create and send e-claims or paper claims.
  • Billing automation.
  • Audio and visual office intercom.
  • Critical data backup.
  • User-defined queries and reports.
  • Track employee hours and breaks.
  • Daily, weekly & monthly task lists.
  • Built-in accounting intended to replace QuickBooks for small offices.
  • Secure remote access.
  • Language support: The code is all written to automatically adapt to the user's computer settings. The translations are specific to the culture (country), not just the language.
  • Time Cards: User defined pay periods. Tracks 40-hour workweek, computes overtime, allows adjustments, and prints.
  • Multiple Server/Location Support.


  • eConfirmations: Send automated text message and/or email confirmations to remind patients about an upcoming appointment and allow the patient to e-confirm.
  • eReminders: Send automated text message and/or email reminders about upcoming appointments.
  • Integrated Texting: Send SMS text messages directly to patient's mobile devices and receive unlimited inbound text messages from patients.
  • Mobile Web: Connect to the Open Dental database using a mobile device.
  • Patient Portal: Give patients electronic access to their health information and use Secure Web Mail to send and receive patient information.
  • Web Forms: Allow patients to complete forms online using any browser. Mobile Web Forms allow patients to complete forms using a mobile device.
  • Web Sched New Patient: Allow new patients to schedule their first appointment online.
  • Web Sched Recall: Automatically or manually email recall reminders that include a clickable link to schedule the appointment online.
  • eRx: Write and transmit electronic prescriptions (only available in the United States and its territories, including Puerto Rico).


Beat Dental Practice Management Software Provider 2018, Global Health & Pharma (GHP) [25] 2017 Dental excellence Awards: Best New/Updated Software/Service[26]

ValuePenguinSoftware: Best Desktop Dental Practice Management Software[27]


See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "GNU". Open Dental Software Inc. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  4. ^ "Open Dental Software Manual - C#, Linux, and Macintosh". Open Dental Software Inc. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  5. ^ "Business Name Search". Oregon Secretary of State. State of Oregon. Archived from the original on 2009-06-04. Retrieved 2009-06-03.
  6. ^ Downes, P.K. (2007). "Putting it all Together: Dentistry and the Internet". British Dental Journal. 203 (2): 74–86. doi:10.1038/bdj.2007.633. ISSN 0007-0610. PMID 17660777.
  7. ^ "Open Dental Database Documentation". Open Dental Software Inc. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  8. ^ Coronel, Carlos; Peter Rob; Keeley Crocket (2008). Database Systems. Cengage Learning EMEA. p. 52. ISBN 1-84480-732-0.
  9. ^ Sam Drake; Wei Hu; Dale M. McInnis; Martin Sköld; Alok Srivastava; Lars Thalmann; Matti Tikkanen; Øystein Torbjørnsen; Antoni Wolski (2004). "Architecture of Highly Available Databases": 1–16. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ "Open Dental Software - Replication". Open Dental Software Inc. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  11. ^ Jackson DM, Jahnke LR, Kerber L, Nyer G, Siemens K, Clark C (2007). "Creating a Successful School-based Mobile Dental Program". Journal of School Health. 77 (1): 1–6. doi:10.1111/j.1746-1561.2007.00155.x. PMID 17212753.
  12. ^ "St. David's Community Health Foundation Leadership: Dental Program". St. David's Community Health Foundation. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  13. ^ "Open Dental Query Examples". Open Dental Software Inc. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  14. ^ "Open Dental Software Manual - User Query". Open Dental Software Inc. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  15. ^ "Open Dental Software Manual - Multiple Locations". Open Dental Software Inc. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  16. ^ "GNU". Open Dental Software Inc. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  17. ^ "Open Dental Software - Appointments Module". Open Dental Software Inc. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  18. ^ "Open Dental Software - Family Module". Open Dental Software Inc. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  19. ^ "Open Dental Software - Account Module". Open Dental Software Inc. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  20. ^ "Open Dental Software - Treatment Plan Module". Open Dental Software Inc. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  21. ^ "Open Dental Software - Chart Module". Open Dental Software Inc. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  22. ^ "Open Dental Software - Images Module". Open Dental Software Inc. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  23. ^ "Open Dental Software - Manage Module". Open Dental Software Inc. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  24. ^ "Open Dental Software - eServices". Open Dental Software Inc.
  25. ^ "Global Health & Pharma - Open Dental Software". Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  26. ^ " announces the 2017 Dental Excellence Award winners".
  27. ^ "Open Dental Review: Best Desktop Dental Practice Management Software". ValuePenguin.
  28. ^ "Spinnaker". Dental IT Ltd. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  29. ^ "Welcome to Spinnaker". Spinnaker. Dental IT Ltd. Retrieved 30 June 2017.

External links[edit]