New CDT codes to help dentists better understand procedures

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New CDT codes to help dentists better understand procedures

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Reports that some CDT codes were not readily understood prompted the American Dental Association to develop new guidelines. (Photograph: jakkaje808/Shutterstock)

Thu. 20. July 2017

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CHICAGO, USA: According to some reports, the Current Dental Terminology (CDT) codes may not be readily understood by dentists and other professionals working in the dental industry. In collaboration with knowledgeable dental experts, the American Dental Association (ADA) has developed three new CDT guidelines, to help dentists better understand the procedures underlying the codes and how they should be reported.

Dr. Ronald D. Riggins, chair of the Council on Dental Benefit Programs, said: “Since the procedures described by the code additions and revision can be new territory for dentists and dental benefit plans, the Council on Dental Benefit Programs believes these guides reflect the ADA’s Members First 2020 strategic plan mission statement—helping all members succeed.”

The first guide, D9995 and D9996—ADA Guide to Understanding and Documenting Teledentistry Events, covers new codes for reporting the two types of teledentistry scenarios a dentist can play a part in. The first is where data is collected and addressed in real time, and the other where data is collected, stored and forwarded to be addressed at another time and location.

D1354—Guide to Reporting Interim Caries Arresting Medicament Application addresses two notable aspects of the procedure. The first is that it is not limited to the application of silver diamine fluoride as the medicament. The second is the clarifying revision that this procedure is to be reported by the tooth being treated, not by the number of lesions, thereby ensuring procedures are consistently reported.

The final addition is D0411—Guide to Point of Care Diabetes Testing and Reporting. This chairside screening procedure aids, along with appropriate referral, in the diagnosis of prediabetes and diabetes. The procedure, also known as finger-prick random capillary hemoglobin A1c glucose testing, is relevant to dentists, as diabetes is a risk factor related to periodontal disease.

The codes are among 18 new codes, 16 revisions to existing codes and three deletions that the Code Maintenance Committee approved in March. All these changes will become effective on Jan. 1, 2018, and the new guides will be available for free viewing and download on the Coding Education page at ada.org/cdt.

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