The dentistry industry uses Current Dental Terminology (CDT) to assign codes to different dental procedures for the purposes of billing and insurance. These CDT codes are also used to electronically record public health information.
Dental codes are assigned, updated, and added to by the American Dental Association (ADA). The dental coding system, known as the Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature, exists to ensure a standard method of reporting dental procedures across the United States.
Why Are Dental Codes Used?
The ADA introduced a dental coding system to create uniformity across the industry and minimize errors in reporting procedures. If every practicing dentist in the United States used a different code system for the work they carry out, dental insurance providers would not know where to begin when processing claims.
It is absolutely essential that dental clinic staff have access to a current copy of the CDT code and enter the correct codes on insurance claim forms. If a member of staff were to get even one digit wrong when entering dental codes, they could end up claiming too much or too little from the insurance company. The best-case scenario is that this would leave the practice out of pocket. In the worst instances, this could result in accusations of fraud.