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The Business of Dentistry: Financial Management for the Dental Office (AGD 550)

Presenter: Natalie Kaweckyj, LDA, RF, CDA, CDPMA, COMSA, COA, CPFDA, CRFDA, MADAA, BA; Contributing Authors: Wendy Frye, CDA, RDA, MADAA; Linda Hilling, CDA; Lisa Lovering; and Linette Schmitt, CDA, LDA, MADAA


Dentistry is a business as well as a health care service profession. It is essential to provide treatment for patients in a caring manner, but it is also necessary to maintain maximum efficiency and production in order to maintain a successful practice. The administrative assistant plays a key role in the smooth operation of any dental practice. The administrative team of the 21st century is challenged with: new technology, federal and state mandates, patient needs, managed care, shortage of competent personnel, satellite offices, expanding group practices, redefinition of auxiliary utilization and credentialing and an ever-changing dental health care system. This financial management course focuses on how a dental practice protects information, receives monies for services rendered, and makes payments to outside entities. Upon completion of this course, the business assistant will be able to apply standard financial procedures to any dental practice.


has worked in the dental assisting profession administratively, as a clinician, and as an educator. She is currently a Registered Dental Assistant in Restorative Functions, Certified Dental Assistant, Certified Dental Practice Management Administrator, Certified Orthodontic Assistant, Certified Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Assistant, a Master of the American Dental Assistants Association, and holds several expanded function certificates. Natalie graduated from an ADA accredited dental assisting program at ConCorde Career Institute and graduated with a BA in Biology and Psychology from Metropolitan State University. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Health with a focus on epidemiology through Independence University.

Natalie is currently serving as ADAA President (2017-2018). She has served in many capacities at the local and state levels of her state association, and is a past ADAA Secretary, past Seventh District Trustee, and past Director to the ADAA Foundation. In addition to her association duties, Natalie is very involved legislatively with her state board of dentistry and state legislature in the expansion of the dental assisting profession, volunteers at two community dental clinics, the MN RDA Exam Committee in Expanded Functions, is an advisory board member to the Century College Hygiene Department. Natalie is also affiliated with OSAP, the National Association of Dental Assistants, and the American Association of Dental Office Managers. She has authored several other courses on a wide variety of topics for the ADAA and is a speaker on dental topics locally and nationally. 

Wendy Frye, CDA, RDA, FADAA, currently lives in St Louis, Missouri where she is a chairside dental assistant and implant treatment coordinator in a periodontal office. She is a Certified Dental Assistant, Registered Dental Assistant and Fellow of the American Dental Assistants Association. Wendy graduated from the ADA accredited dental assisting program at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Wendy has served in many various capacities on the local and state levels of the Iowa and California Dental Assisting Associations.

Lynda Hilling, CDA, MADAA, lives in Billings, MT. She is a Certified Dental Assistant and has been employed in the private practice of Michael W. Stuart, DDS for the last ten years as a chairside assistant. Lynda began her dental assisting career as an on the job trained assistant and then challenged the CDA exam in 1999. Lynda is a Master in the American Dental Assistants Association. Lynda has served on the Executive Board of the Montana Dental Assistants Association including the Presidency.

Lisa Lovering, CDA, CDPMA, MADAA, is a Certified Dental Assistant and a Certified Dental Practice Administrator and is employed chairside in the private practice of Michael W. Stuart, DDS. Lisa began her dental assisting career as an on the job trained assistant, and then challenged the CDA and CDPMA exams.

As a member of the American Dental Assistants Association, Lisa has received her Mastership. Lisa has served on the Montana Dental Assistants Dental Assistants Association Executive Board including the Presidency.

Linette Schmitt, CDA, RDA, MADAA, is a graduate from the ADA accredited dental assisting program at Hibbing Community College. Linette currently works as a chairside assistant in a large group practice. She is a MN Registered Dental Assistant and a Certified Dental Assistant, and is also certified to administer nitrous oxide analgesia. She is a member of the American Dental Assistants Association, and holds an ADAA Mastership.

She has served in many capacities at the local and state levels of her association level, and is serving as ADAA Seventh District Trustee. Linette is legislatively involved with the MN Board of Dentistry’s Policy Committee.

Wilhemina R. Leeuw, CDA, BS, is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Dental Education at Indiana University Purdue University, Fort Wayne. A DANB Certified Dental Assistant since 1985, she worked in private practice over twelve years before beginning her teaching career in the Dental Assisting Program at IPFW. She is very active in her local and Indiana state dental assisting organizations. Prof. Leeuw’s educational background includes dental assisting - both clinical and office management, and she received her baccalaureate degree in Organizational Leadership and Supervision. She is also the Education Coordinator for the American Dental Assistants Association.


At the completion of this course, the dental professional should be able to: 

• Define HIPAA.
• Describe what HIPAA requires.
• Discuss how protected health information can be recognized.
• Identify situations in which information can be disclosed without consent.
• Describe penalties for HIPAA noncompliance.
• Identify instances when a parent of a minor may not have access to health information.
• Identify individuals considered business associates under HIPAA.
• Explain how to create or maintain financial arrangements with patients or the responsible party.
• Demonstrate how to maintain patient account records including a record of all charges, payments, and adjustments to the account.
• Understand why patients should be provided with a receipt or walkout statement.
• Verify day-end totals for all charges, payments and account adjustments.
• Show how to prepare a daily bank deposit of all receipts.
• Verify that daily totals have been accurately carried over to the monthly summary.
• Explain how to generate patient account statements on a regular basis.
• Demonstrate how to prepare and verify month-end accounts receivable and related management reports.
• Explain how to handle delinquent accounts.
• Understand and describe the different methods of third-party payments including: UCR, schedule of allowances, DMO, HMO, IPA, PPO, direct reimbursement and capitation programs.
• Understand and be able to explain insurance coverage to a patient and formulate financial arrangements accordingly.
• Demonstrate how to prepare and submit pre-treatment estimates and claims to third-party carriers.
• Explain how to follow-up on delayed, lost, and/or rejected third-party claims.
• Explain how to determine eligibility of benefits.
• Describe the birthday rule.
• Give an example of an alternative benefit policy.
• Explain dual coverage, primary and secondary carriers.
• Give an example of a non-duplication of benefits scenario.
• Understand the CDT code categories.
• Describe advantages of electronic claims submission.
• Understand the difference between release of information and assignment of benefits.
• Explain what a pretreatment estimate is, and what factors can affect the estimate.
• Give examples of reports for tracking claims.
• Identify key information on an EOB.
• Understand what actions can constitute fraud.
• Understand how to differentiate between invoices and statements.
• Demonstrate how to verify a packing slip.
• Describe how to manage expense records by appropriate categories.
• Discuss how to balance a checkbook.
• Explain how to reconcile bank statements.
• Discuss how to manage the petty cash fund.
• Explain what information is required for payroll deductions.
• Explain how long payroll records should be maintained for tax and government purposes.
• Explain how to establish and maintain an inventory system to assure adequate quantity of supplies in the most cost-effective manner.
• Demonstrate how to determine the reorder point and reorder quantities of consumable supplies.
• Explain how to order supplies in accordance with practice policies.
• Discuss the different types of inventory systems.
• Differentiate between expendable, non-expendable and capital items.


The ADAA has an obligation to disseminate knowledge in the field of dentistry. Sponsorship of a continuing education program by the ADAA does not necessarily imply endorsement of a particular philosophy, product or technique.

The ADAA cautions participants taking this course on the hazards of using limited knowledge when integrating new techniques into their practices.

Credits earned upon completion of this course may be used to meet DANB’s Recertification Requirements.


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