Patient Clones are a useful feature for practices that have different types of providers who treat the same patient. The tool can be used to create one or more clones of the original patient, with data continually synched between patient and clone.

For example, a general dentistry office may also provide orthodontic and endodontic treatment.

Turn on Patient Clones

For patient clone options to show in the interface, Patient Clone must be turned on.

In the Main Menu, click Setup, Advanced, Show Features.

Check the box for Patient Clones and click OK.

Restart Open Dental.

Patient Clones in the Family Module

Manage patient clones, create new patient clones, and view patient clone relationships in the Family Module.

The original patient is listed in mixed case (e.g. Smith, John). Clones are listed in all capital letters (e.g. SMITH, JOHN).

Family Members grid: By default, patient clones are added to the original patient's family (Family Members grid).

Another option is to place new patient clones in their own family, and associate the clone to the original via Super Family. This is useful when you want to maintain separate financial accounts for each clone (e.g. send separate statements for orthodontic versus dentistry work).

  1. Turn on Super Families and restart Open Dental.
  2. In Family Module Preferences, Super Family tab, check the preference for New patient clones use super family instead of regular family.
  3. Create the clone. A separate Super Family grid will show in the Family module with the original patient as the super head and clones as family members.

Patient Clones grid: This grid shows when one or more patient clones exist. The original patient will list in red with clones listed below.

Specialty: Assigning specialties is optional, but can be a useful method of differentiating patient clones.

Note: To exclude patient clones from the insurance verification list, see Insurance Verification Setup.

Add Patient Clones

In the Family module, select the original patient.

In the toolbar, click Add next to Clones.

In the Clone Add window, select the clone's primary provider, specialty and clinic.

Primary Provider: Defaults to the provider selected on the patient's Edit Patient Information window. Click the dropdown or [...] to change.

Specialty: The clone's specialty. Unspecified can only be selected when the selected clinic has no associated specialty. Only specialties not already associated to the patient are options.

Clinic: The clone's clinic. Only clinics associated with the selected specialty are options (See Clinic List).

Click Clone to create the clone. It will list in all caps.

Break Patient-Clone Relationships

To break the relationship between a single patient clone and the original patient:

  1. In the Family module, select the patient clone.
  2. Click Break.
  3. A confirmation message will show. Click Yes to break the relationship.

To break all relationships between the original patient and every patient clone:

  1. In the Family module, select the original patient.
  2. Click Break.
  3. A confirmation message will show. Click Yes to break the relationship.

Once the relationship is broken, clones no longer list in the Patient Clones grid, but will still list as family members or super family members.

Link Duplicate Patients as Clones

If a duplicate account exists for a patient, you can use the patient merge tool to turn the duplicate account into a patient clone.

  1. On the original account (the account you want to keep), create a patient clone (see above).
  2. Open the Merge Patients tool.
  3. Merge the duplicate account into the newly created patient clone.

Synch Original Patient and Clone

The following information can be synched between the original patient and clones.

Insurance coverage amounts are not synched (amounts used and benefits available), so insurance estimates may be inaccurate. If you want both original and clone to reflect updated amounts, whenever an amount changes for one, add Adjustments to Insurance Benefits for the other.


This may not be an issue if general dental and orthodontic benefits are different and you have entered Ortho Lifetime Max and Percentage as Benefit Information.

Synch Information:

In the Family module, Family Members grid, select the patient or clone.

Note: If you synch from the clone, all clone names will become ALL CAPS, and the original patient name will become mixed case (e.g. John L. Smith).

In the toolbar, click Synch.

Click Yes to continue.

A detailed list of synched changes will list.

Click OK to close the window. Click Print to print a copy of all changes.


Version 17.1 and earlier: If the original patient's first and last name is in ALL CAPS, you may be blocked from creating a clone. To resolve, change the original patient name so first and/or last name is not in all capital letters (Smith, John). Then you will be allowed to create the clone.

Bridges to other software: Open Dental always sends the information of the original patient to bridged software, not the clone. If, in the bridged software, information is associated with the clone, you may have issues accessing it. We recommend moving all information to the original patient instead.