Troubleshooting Slowness

See Troubleshooting.

If Open Dental is not as fast and responsive as you would like it to be, here are some steps that can be taken.

Update Version

Update to the most recent build of the currently installed version. Or update to the newest stable version.

Settings and Tools

Enterprise Setup

The Enterprise Setup window is a centralized location for setting a variety of options related to running Open Dental in an enterprise setting. Many are designed to improve performance by reducing server load for basic tasks.

Refreshing Data

The Process Signal Interval set in Miscellaneous Setup determines how often Open Dental sends signals to the database to automatically refresh data. If you are experiencing slowness (especially very large clinics with many workstations) decreasing the number of signals sent may help. This can be accomplished by increasing the interval and/or disabling signals when workstations are inactive for a set period of time.

Topaz Signature Pads

A computer that currently or previously had a Topaz signature pad installed may experience significant slowness (10 or more seconds) in certain parts of the program such as procedure edit and commlog edit. Follow these steps to fix:

  1. Unplug the Topaz pad from the computer if present.
  2. Uninstall the SigPlusBasic application if present.
  3. Reinstall Topaz.

For each computer you do not want to use the Topaz pad, repeat steps 1 and 2 to uninstall the Topaz pad.

Data Path

The connection to the A to Z Folder might be slower than the connection to the database. This is especially true if using a VPN. This slowness will be noticeable when working with images in the Images module. If you use patient pictures, then the slowness will be most noticeable in the Family module and the Appt module when hover bubbles come up. Open the Data Path window (Paths). If the path at the top is a location that is over a VPN rather than in the LAN, enter an override for the current workstation. The override should point to an A to Z folders in the LAN that stays synchronized with the other A to Z folders. Go around to each workstation and enter the override.

Slow Printing

The most likely cause is a bug in Open Dental. Many of the slow spots were fixed in June 2011, and some more in July. So to fix, just upgrade to a more current version. If you have already upgraded and it's still slow, call to show us. We will need to know exactly what you are trying to print.

Slow printing sometimes happens with network printers. One way to simplify your printing issues is to connect your printer directly to a computer with a USB cable.


If using the inbound email message feature (Email Client), slowness could be due to inbound email syncing. Try disabling the inbound email retrieval by going into each email address setup in Email Setup and clearing the Incoming POP3 Server. Also clear the Computer Name to Receive Email From field. It's also a good idea to close all instances of Open Dental on the Computer named in the 'receive from' field, then reopen.

Interference from Other Programs

Antivirus, firewall, and malware programs can cause slowness in Open Dental. The following specific programs have been verified to cause slowness:

The slowness issue associated with the above programs may have been solved by newer versions of those programs. But based on this known interference, a firewall should always be suspected (Firewall). The firewall could be software or hardware.

When testing if an antivirus is the problem, you can try using the antivirus 'disable' option, or if that doesn't work, uninstall the antivirus program. To prevent the server from being hacked during the test, unplug the server ethernet cable to disable internet access on the server before turning off the antivirus application. Unplugging the ethernet to the server means that you will test slowness before and after disabling/uninstalling the antivirus service ON THE SERVER. Because the ethernet is unplugged, clients will not be able to connect during testing.

Database optimization

There is a button in the Database Maintenance Tools Tab, called Optimize. The process can take a few minutes. If you notice a significant speed improvement and you have a very large database, you might consider running this tool once per month.

If you are using an older version of Open Dental, you can use the mysql-administrator-1.1.9-win.msi tool to run optimization.

Edit the my.ini File

See my.ini.

Log Slow Queries

Add the following 2 lines to your my.ini file and then restart the MySQL service.



The log file will be found in the mysql data folder. Examine the log for a recurring pattern of slow queries. Remove those lines when done to avoid impacting performance.


Problem: Open Dental is running slowly or locking up for long periods of time.

Solution: Try increasing the size of your key ranges (Setup, Replication). When new records are created, Open Dental searches for an available key value from the table it is inserting into. If no more keys are available, Open Dental will be stuck in an infinite loop.

Problem: In one of my offices, from any client machine, Open Dental freezes just after the Log On Screen.

Solution: Restart the MySQL service, then restart the MySQL replication thread by running these SQL commands: SLAVE STOP; SLAVE START;

Electronic Prescriptions

If using Legacy eRx, sluggishness when loading the Chart module may be caused by the eRx vendor's servers being unavailable. Please check the Open Dental home page,, where we will notify customers of known issues. If you do not see a notification, please Contact us.


Problem: Open Dental takes a long time opening certain patients, or gradually gets slower over time.

Solution: If patients were entered without setting a guarantor, this can cause slowness when opening a patient account. To see if this is the cause, run this query: SELECT COUNT(*) FROM patient WHERE Guarantor=0;

If less than 10 results are returned, this is not the cause of slowness. If more than 10 results are returned, Contact us and we will fix it for you.

If using a version of Open Dental earlier than 7.1.24, simply update to a version greater than 7.1.24 and the issue should fix itself.