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CDT coding guides educate dentists on new, revised codes

July 17, 2017

By David Burger

Some CDT codes, especially recent additions, may not be readily understood by dentists and others in the dental community.

In response, the ADA, with support from knowledge experts in the dental community, has developed three new CDT code guides. Their aim is to help dentists understand the procedures underlying these codes and how they should be reported.

The guides cover teledentistry; the application of a caries-arresting medicament (e.g., silver diamine fluoride); and finger-prick in-office diabetes testing.

"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," said Dr. Ronald D. Riggins, CDBP chair. "Development of these guides was facilitated by staff in the ADA's Practice Institute."


Dr. Riggins
The two codes for teledentistry and one code for diabetes testing are new codes that will first appear in CDT 2018. One code concerning caries-arresting medicament application is a revision to a code that has been in effect since 2016.

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 Jan. 1, 2018.

The three ADA guides are:

  • D9995 and D9996 — Guide to Understanding and Documenting Teledentistry Events. These new codes are for reporting the two types of teledentistry scenarios a dentist can play a part in — one 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 Interim Caries Arresting Medicament Application (aka Silver Diamine Fluoride). This guide addresses two notable aspects of the procedure and its code — first, that the procedure is not limited to the application of silver diamine fluoride as the medicament; and second, the clarifying revision that this procedure is to be reported by the tooth being treated, not by the number of lesions. The revision ensures that the procedure is reported consistently.
  • D0411 — Guide to Point of Care Diabetes Testing and Reporting. This chairside screening procedure aids, along with appropriate referral, in the diagnosis of pre-diabetes and diabetes. This procedure, also known as finger-prick random capillary HbA1c glucose testing, is relevant to dentists as diabetes is a risk factor related to periodontal disease.
The three new guides will be available for free viewing and download on the Coding Education page at ADA.org/cdt.  It joins other educational resources including the guide to D4346, first published in 2016 and now in its third edition.

CDT 2018 will become available Sept. 5. To order, visit ADAcatalog.org or call 1-800-947-4746.

Questions about these guides and/or the CDT Code should be directed to the ADA Member Service Center at 1-800-621-8099 or dentalcode@ada.org.