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Request a Change to the Code

Request a CDT Code Addition, Revision, Deletion

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.

Copyright Notice

Each person or entity must sign and include a copyright assignment form with their CDT Code change action request form(s). One signed form will suffice for all submitted at one time for the current maintenance cycle. The signed copyright assignment form is required prior to any consideration of the requested change, or changes.

CDT Code Action Request Form

There is one form that is used when requesting any type of CDT Code action — e.g., add a new procedure code, revise a current procedure code nomenclature or descriptor. The Microsoft Word® document is intended to be downloaded to your computer, completed at your convenience and returned by email to dentalcode@ada.org.

Submission and Evaluation Guidelines

The following was adopted during the 2013 CMC meeting, with the goal of maintaining the best possible CDT Code. A robust code taxonomy makes it possible to prepare comprehensive, accurate, and detailed patient records, and accurate dental claim submissions.


A. Submitters should carefully review the guidelines when considering submitting a CDT Code change request and the justification for that request.

B. Guidelines do not preclude the submission of any CDT Code change request, but may influence the review of the submission by the Code Maintenance Committee.

C. Submitters may withdraw their CDT Code change request up to the closing date of submissions.


  1. Change requests should be based on the need to accurately document procedures performed.

  2. Nomenclatures and descriptors:
    • should be concise, clear, and unambiguous, and
    • should not include time limitations

  3. The request should not unbundle or fragment an existing procedure entry into its component parts.

  4. The request should refer to the procedure and not be specific to a trade name, technique or instrumentation.

  5. Requests pertaining to newly developed procedures are encouraged to include documentation of clinical efficacy.

Form Completion Instructions

Each request form includes captions intended to aid completion. Highlights follow:

  • A separate request is required for each desired CDT Code action.

  • A rationale for the action (e.g., reasons why existing procedure code is inadequate or no longer appropriate; description of technology inherent to procedure; dental schools where taught) is required.

  • The following information is required for additions – a) current CDT Code used to report the proposed procedure; b) description of the procedure or clinical condition; and c) scenario describing the patient, materials, technique, etc.

  • When requesting a deletion, specify another current code (not a "999" unspecified procedure) that adequately describes the procedure. If there is no alternative or the procedure is believed to be obsolete, explain this in writing.

  • Cite literature, when available, indicating extent of the procedure's or new technology's use and acceptance.

  • Requirements for supporting documentation or literature are: a) if protected by copyright, written authorization to reprint and distribute must be provided; and b) all material must be submitted in electronic format.

Resubmission of Declined Request

A declined request may be submitted for consideration in a subsequent CDT Code review and revision cycle. The applicable change request format is used.

NOTE: A resubmission must include new information not available when the original change request form was prepared.

Components of a Dental Procedure Code

An individual dental procedure code has at least the first two of the following three components. References to typeface pertain to the CDT Code as printed in the CDT Manual.

  1. Dental Procedure Code (Code)–A five character alphanumeric code that begins with the letter "D" and is followed by four numerals. Each code identifies a specific dental procedure, and is printed in boldface type.

  2. Nomenclature–A brief written definition of a Dental Procedure Code. Each code must have Nomenclature that is printed in boldface type.

  3. Descriptor–A written narrative that provides further definition and the intended use of a Dental Procedure Code. A Descriptor is optional and is printed in regular type.

Transmitting Your CDT Code Change Action Request

Via the Internet:

The action request form is a Microsoft Word © document that may be downloaded and completed at your convenience. The form must be completed in full. Send completed Action Request form in MSWord® format via email to dentalcode@ada.org. Supporting information in electronic form may also be sent as email attachments to the same address.


Please direct your questions concerning code change request submission to the ADA's Council on Dental Benefit Programs staff via email (dentalcode@ada.org) or via telephone (ADA Members, please use the toll-free number on the back of your membership card / Direct Dial 312.440.2500).

NOTE: Contact Council on Dental Benefit Programs staff if you do not receive an acknowledgement of receipt within 15 days of submission.