March 01, 2023 • 10 mins read

Success for Medical Billing in Dentistry Requires the BIG 5!

Learn how to achieve success with the Big 5: accurate coding, timely filing, patient collections, insurance follow-up, and practice management.



Laurie Owens

CPC | CPB | COC | Director Of Medical Billing Education for Devdent

Success for Medical Billing

As a senior in high school, you do not need to pass “electives” to obtain your high school diploma.  The same goes for college, trade school, credentials, or any other education system.  In high school, one of my elective courses was shorthand, those of you that are younger, may need to look that one up.  

You may be thinking to yourself, “It’s only an elective.” But let me tell you, it was HARD!  I studied and practiced, did my homework, and on my midterm, I got a C.  Frustrated with myself, I went to my instructor and asked, “How can I get this to stick in my head?”  My very wise teacher told me something that has stuck with me these past several years. She said to practice the same section five times every night for a week and it will stick.  What do you know, with that insight, I did what she said, and my grades went higher with each week and my final grade was an A.

Medical billing for dentistry is not rocket science, but without the “Big 5” you will constantly be chasing your tail and frustrated.

1. You must form a foundation.  

When you build a house without a strong foundation, the house will not stand, in fact, it may collapse!  

To start medical billing for dentistry, you must go to a 2-day course, this is an absolute truth. We should also emphasize that this is NOT only for the biller!  Without the entire team on board with understanding what this house is built upon, there will not be success in medical billing for dentistry, but instead, a constant struggle.  

The best medical billers in dentistry have attended at least one 2-day course but most have 2, 3, and even 4 courses under their belt!

2. You must practice.  

Just like learning a new language, if you don’t use it, you lose it!  

Getting comfortable and confident with billing gets easier the more you do it.  Dentists have told me they “tried” it once and did not have great success. Unfortunately, just with anything else you do, doing something once isn’t considered a real try. Once 50 claims are under the belt, it will be considered really trying! 

3. Get a coach.  

Devdent loves helping. When a practice has a coaching package with us they could ask, get help, and get coding information every minute of every day if they need us!  

When you have access to someone that has been where you are, it helps you become confident in what you are doing.  It is an investment in your practice AND your team members. 

 If I could go back 20 years and find someone to be my coach in medical billing for dentistry, it would be done in a heartbeat!  

Practices invest in technology, facilities, and systems. Unfortunately, some might not see the benefit of investing in medical billing for dentistry. Some offices may think that new procedures (like medical billing for dentistry) can be done instantly with no training, but this is NOT TRUE!  You need to invest in your team by providing them with a coach!

4. Develop a starting point.  

When you start medical billing for dentistry, focus on the procedures NOT covered by dental insurance first.  

Get submerged in how to get those services paid and then branch out from there.  If you choose to bill every service, you will start to be overwhelmed and frustrated.  It is a lot of work and you should remember, this is a courtesy to your patient. 

5. Remember to be literal.  

In dentistry, we have a habit of taking the ball and running without the literal matter-of-fact information. 

What that means is we see the procedure and not the circumstance as to how it brought the patient to the need of the procedure, in other words, what is the why?  

When “why” is not the primary question answered, we have failed.

Bringing in the “Big 5”, and your practice will start seeing a trend.  As we always say, “Do it right and the money will follow!” This will ensure that you have success when billing medical insurance for dental procedures!

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