e-mail Print Share

Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature (CDT Code)


The purpose of the CDT Code is to achieve uniformity, consistency and specificity in accurately documenting dental treatment. One use of the CDT Code is to provide for the efficient processing of dental claims, and another is to populate an Electronic Health Record.

On August 17, 2000 the CDT Code was named as a HIPAA standard code set. Any claim submitted on a HIPAA standard electronic dental claim must use dental procedure codes from the version of the CDT Code in effect on the date of service. The CDT Code is also used on paper dental claims, and the ADA's paper claim form data content reflects the HIPAA electronic standard.

Coding Guidance on Scaling - The New D4346

Some CDT Code changes, especially new codes, prompt a need for a coordinated educational message on the procedure and its reporting.  The ADA, with support from organizations on the CMC and others in the dental community develops and disseminates guidelines on these codes, which are available for anyone to read, download and share with others.

A new code in CDT 2017 that fills a procedure and reporting gap between a prophylaxis and a SRP is the first in this series.  The illustrated guidance to “D4346 scaling in presence of generalized moderate or severe gingival inflammation – full mouth, after oral evaluation” is available now in PDF format.

Please bookmark this page and check back for additions or updates.

CDT Code in the News

The CDT Code and its maintenance are frequently hot topics of interest to dentists and others in the dental community.  Links to recent news articles published in 2016 follow:

Code Maintenance Committee approves new scaling code
The Code Maintenance Committee approved a new scaling code that fills a gap in the continuum of care for patients with gingival disease and no attachment loss.
Read More

Committee adds 11 new codes to CDT
The Code Maintenance Committee approved 11 new codes at its March meeting. Code numbers will be assigned in CDT 2017.
Read More

Changes to anesthesia codes in CDT 2016 prompt questions
Changes made to anesthesia and sedation procedure codes in CDT 2016 led some members to contact the ADA with questions and concerns.
Read More

Annual Review and Revision

The Council on Dental Benefit Programs (CDBP) has ADA Bylaws responsibility for CDT Code maintenance. To fulfill this obligation CDBP established its Code Maintenance Committee (CMC), a body that includes representatives from various sectors of the dental community (e.g., ADA; dental specialty organizations; third-party payers). CMC members, by their votes, determine which of the requested actions are incorporated into the CDT Code.

Please see Code Maintenance Committee (CMC) page for information about the CMC's members and reports of CDT Code maintenance actions taken at past meetings.

2016 CMC Action Reports

The CMC convened its Annual Meeting on March 3, 2016 to determine which action requests on its agenda would be accepted for inclusion in CDT 2017, which is effective January 1st.  Two reports, available for review or download, document the CMC’s decisions on the requested CDT Code changes. 

The Substantive Action Report contains requests for CDT Code additions, as well as deletion of or significant revisions to existing CDT Code entries.

The Editorial Action Report contains requests to correct grammar, syntax or format errors in existing CDT Code entries, with no effect on the procedure’s purpose or scope.

Next CMC Meeting

The next annual CMC meeting is scheduled to convene at ADA Headquarters in Chicago on March 2 - 4, 2017 (Thursday-Saturday).  Proceedings begin on March 2nd at 8:30 AM in the 2nd floor Auditorium. The meeting will formally adjourn when the CMC has addressed all agenda items, which may be accomplished in less than the three days set aside.

• This an open meeting that includes public comment and discussion of any CDT Code Action Request before the committee.

• The CMC meeting is when member organization representatives discuss and vote to accept, amend or decline each action request.

Request a CDT Code Addition, Revision, Deletion

CDT Change requests may be submitted at any time, and the date received determines the CDT Code version that may incorporate the requested action. The annual closing date for submissions is on the CDT Code Maintenance timeline. Any requests received after the closing date will be addressed in the next annual maintenance cycle.

Telephone: ADA Members, please use the toll-free number on the back of your membership card; Direct dial, 312.440.2500

Email: dentalcode@ada.org