Enhanced CDT

A new project to review and enhance the Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature (CDT)

Enhanced CDT Code

This web page provides important information on this ongoing project for all in the dental community that use the CDT Code – e.g., dentists, practice management system vendors and dental insurance companies. Periodic updates will be posted here as more information becomes available. Please “bookmark” this page and check back often.

Project Guiding Principles:

  • Current Dxxxx structure will be maintained
  • A CDT code would be complemented, as necessary, by a set of two-character modifiers
  • To be in compliance with HIPAA, four modifiers is the most that may be reported with a CDT code.
  • Modifier codes do not duplicate information that currently can be reported on a claim (e.g., area of the oral cavity)
  • Adjudication elements will not be included in code nomenclatures and descriptors (e.g., “…not to be delivered with…”)
  • Nomenclature uses action verbs to name the procedure

Desired benefits of enhancing the CDT:

  1. Easier selection of correct codes to document procedures, supported by practice software
  2. Discrete codes with a more logical structure to support increased granularity of procedure information for:
    1. New technology (e.g., 3D printing of prosthesis)
    2. New materials (e.g., implants; dentures; restorations; remineralization and regenerative procedures)
    3. Different techniques (e.g., lasers; digital impressions)
    4. Multiple distinct steps of a procedure (e.g., crown preparation; definitive crown placement)
    5. More efficient and robust data analytics to support identification of evidence-based treatment protocols (e.g., differences in materials used in procedure delivery; differences in preventative modalities like remineralization, and emerging technology)

Project Update:

The Council’s Enhanced CDT Task Force of subject matter experts (SMEs) acquired initial dental community input on the possible architecture, nature, scope and implementation issues of an Enhanced CDT Code in January and February of 2022. This feedback was included in the Task Force’s initial findings and recommendation report to the Council.

In May 2022, the CDBP approved the recommendation to develop a draft set of dental procedure code modifiers that could be reported in conjunction with a CDT code without changing the CDT code’s current format (“Dxxxx”). 

Work continues on the development of modifier structure and content.  

Your Input Matters:

The Enhanced CDT Task Force is holding a five-month open comment period on the proposed architecture of dental procedure code modifiers beginning in November and continuing through March 2023. Comments can be submitted to dentalcode@ada.org.

Descriptions, examples, and completed sections of the Enhanced CDT Modifiers are now available to view in both Excel spreadsheet and PDF format. Click below to download.

*If viewing in Excel format, make sure to begin by reading the first tab titled “READ FIRST_Description_Examples”. Tab selection is found at the bottom of the page.

Enhanced CDT Modifiers (EXCEL)

Enhanced CDT Modifiers (PDF)

These documents will be updated as additional content is completed and will include revisions based on feedback received.

ADA staff will be available to answer questions about the modifier architecture during the following virtual open Q&A session. Time and Zoom information below.

  • Tuesday, January 24, 2023 6:30 pm to 7:00 pm Central Time
  • Tuesday, February 28, 2023 at 7:00pm to 7:30 pm Central Time

Q&A Session Zoom Link

The Task Force will compile and analyze the comments received, and deliver a findings report to the Council.  This report will enable the Council to determine next steps in the Enhanced CDT Code project.

For questions or more information –

Contact Us

Email us anytime at dentalcode@ada.org. You can also reach out to us from 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday by phone 800.621.8099.