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Two dental schools adopt SNODENT

June 16, 2014

By Kelly Soderlund

Two dental schools have implemented the Systemized Nomenclature of Dentistry in their electronic dental records systems.

The University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry and the New York University College of Dentistry are both SNODENT licensees that will use the clinical coding set to help their students correlate the best treatment to a diagnosis.

"In medicine, it's normal to apply a diagnosis to every condition prior to treating. Dentists may empirically know that a patient is at high risk for caries or that they are treating a failed restoration, but they are not directly attaching a diagnosis code to the condition they are treating," said Dr. Mark Wolf, Ph.D., associate dean for pre-doctoral clinical education at NYU. "Using diagnosis codes and having students attach a diagnostic rationale for care to every treatment trains them in the medical model of patient care."

Dr. Mark Wolff
Dr. Wolff
Dr. Mert Aksu
Dr. Aksu
SNODENT is a vocabulary designed for use in the electronic health records environment. Any dentist who uses electronic health records or who plans to in the future should be aware the use of diagnostic codes is on the horizon. SNODENT will be an important component within certified Electronic Health Records Systems for the federal and state governments' Medicaid and Medicare meaningful use incentive reimbursement programs.

SNODENT was developed by the ADA with input from representatives of all the recognized national dental specialty organizations and the Academy of General Dentistry. The Council on Dental Benefit Programs is responsible for maintaining SNODENT, and it will be updated continuously to keep pace with developments in dentistry and dental terminology.

SNODENT-enabled electronic dental records systems can benefit dentists, educators and patients through recording consistent information during patient visits. It also enables the analysis of patient care services and outcomes, sharing of clinical details and patient characteristics between providers, identification of patients who need follow up for specific conditions and improved coordination of care.

The widespread adoption of SNODENT in electronic dental health records may also benefit the public by enabling better identification and monitoring of oral health issues, reducing errors, ensuring high quality demographic and clinical data and enabling point of care decision support.

"The opportunity to incorporate SNODENT will advance the ability to track disease patterns, prevalence, and assist in tracking student experiences with specific disease conditions," said Dr. Mert N. Aksu, dean of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry. "As one of the first schools of dentistry to incorporate SNODENT, UDM hopes to contribute valuable feedback in furthering the development of database searchable diagnostic indices, such as SNODENT."

Dental schools may license SNODENT files and maps for research and educational purposes at no cost. Commercial licenses for SNODENT terminology products are also available. See for details.