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'Owning a copy of the CDT is a must for dentists'

ADA-produced manual has most up-to-date coding information

February 16, 2015

By Kelly Soderlund


Editor's note: This is the sixth story in a series on ADA products and services for members.


Those dental procedure codes you put on your patient's billing statement don't just appear out of nowhere.

There is a lot of time and effort expended by the people who create and maintain them. The Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature is ADA intellectual property, maintained by the Council on Dental Benefit Programs. The goal for the CDT Code is to achieve uniformity, consistency and specificity in accurately reporting dental treatment.

In 2000, the CDT Code was named as a standard code set under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

All HIPAA standard electronic dental claims must use dental procedure codes from the CDT Code version in effect on the date of service.

Every year, the ADA publishes the CDT manual — a book filled with the codes every dentist needs to properly document insurance claim submissions and dental records.

The manual is updated every year to reflect additions, revisions or deletions approved by the CDBP's Code Maintenance Committee.

"The Code Maintenance Committee has representatives from various sectors of the dental community so that we have multiple voices in determining how the CDT will look for the next year," said Dr. Charles Hoffman, CMC chair.

"We take great care in examining each request for a change to the CDT Code. Owning a copy of the CDT is a must for dentists who deal with third-party payers and who want the most up-to-date coding information."

Half of all change requests typically come from practicing dentists or their staff. CMC members cast their votes to accept, amend or decline CDT Code change requests, which can come from dentists, dental groups, third-party payers or other interested parties.

The ADA chairs the meeting and has five votes; the nine ADA recognized dental specialty organization plus the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Dental Education Association have one vote each; and the five payer organizations have one vote each.

The CMC is scheduled to meet March 5-7 at ADA Headquarters in Chicago to review changes for CDT 2016.

The 180-page CDT 2015 book (J015) is on sale for members for $39.95 and retails at $59.95. It includes a claim form with detailed completion instructions and a searchable CD-ROM for quick code lookup.

The e-book (J015D) is $29.95 for members and for a retail price of $44.95.

The ADA also offers the CDT 2015 Companion, a coding resource that has answers to 150 frequently asked questions from members about coding and claims processing.

It has a series of exercises to make sure dental team members understand the processes, and also includes information on how to link CDT codes with ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes, which are the HIPAA diagnostic code sets.

The 236-page CDT 2015 Companion book (J445) is $49.95 for members and retails for $74.95. The e-book (J445D) is on sale for $39.95 for members and $59.95 retail price.

CDT 2015 and the CDT 2015 Companion are also available together as a kit (K215) for $75 for members and $112.50 retail price.

Free shipping is available on all ADA Catalog products through March 30 using promo code 15103.

For more information on the CDT, visit ADA.org/publications/cdt. To purchase these and other ADA Catalog products, visit adacatalog.org.