Pediatric Dentistry cpt codes
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The 30 Most Common CDT Codes for Pediatric Dentistry: A Cheatsheet for Dental Coders
For Providers

The 30 Most Common CDT Codes for Pediatric Dentistry: A Cheatsheet for Dental Coders

Pediatric dentistry, also known as pedodontics, is a specialized branch of dentistry that focuses on the oral health of infants, children, adolescents, and patients with special healthcare needs. Pediatric dentists are trained to manage the unique dental challenges these age groups face, including growth and development of the oral cavity, eruption of primary (baby) and permanent (adult) teeth, and dental caries (cavities) prevention and management.

The latest in our series of articles aiding dental coders with shortcuts to common codes, this post will provide an overview of some commonly used pediatric dental CDT codes. However, please keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list nor is it ranked by frequency. If you’re a dental biller or a pediatric dentist running a private practice, read on for a helpful database of CDT codes for pediatric dentistry, as well as general tips about the use of CDT codes. 

What is pediatric dentistry all about?

Key aspects of pediatric dentistry include:

  • Preventive Dental Care: Educating parents and children about proper oral hygiene practices, offering fluoride treatments, and applying dental sealants to protect against cavities.
  • Regular Check-ups: Monitoring growth and development to ensure teeth are erupting properly and addressing any early signs of orthodontic concerns.
  • Dietary Recommendations: Offering advice on nutrition and habits that promote good oral health and minimize the risk of cavities.
  • Behavior Guidance: Using techniques to ensure children have positive dental experiences, which can include the use of sedation or general anesthesia for those with dental anxiety or for particularly invasive procedures.
  • Treatment of Dental Injuries: Addressing fractured, displaced, or knocked-out teeth and related trauma.
  • Management of Gum Diseases: Treating conditions like gingivitis and periodontal disease.
  • Restorative Dentistry: Treating cavities, placing crowns, and other restorative treatments suitable for children.
  • Treatment for Dental Developmental Issues: Handling conditions like delayed dental growth, congenitally missing teeth, or extra teeth.
  • Care for Patients with Special Needs: Providing comprehensive dental care for children with physical, mental, or emotional challenges in a manner that's accommodating to their conditions.

Pediatric dentists undergo additional post-graduate training (typically two to three years) after dental school to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to provide comprehensive care to pediatric patients. This training equips them with the expertise to treat the diverse dental needs of children and to create a kid-friendly environment that makes dental visits more enjoyable and less intimidating for young patients.

What are CDT codes used for?

Billing and Insurance Claims: CDT codes provide a standardized way to describe dental procedures, making it easier for dental professionals to bill insurance companies and patients. Every dental procedure has a specific CDT code, ensuring consistency across the board.

Uniformity in Treatment Description: CDT codes bring uniformity in describing dental treatment procedures. This means that the same code will refer to the same treatment, no matter which dentist or dental office you visit in the U.S.

Documentation and Records: Dental professionals can use CDT codes in their record-keeping systems. This makes it easier for them to keep track of the treatments they've provided to patients.

Data Analysis and Research: In broader research and public health contexts, standardized codes like CDT allow for the aggregation of data. For example, researchers can study trends in dental treatments, frequency of specific procedures, or assess the needs for particular dental services in specific populations.

Communication: CDT codes facilitate clearer communication between dentists, dental specialists, insurance companies, and other stakeholders. When a dentist refers a patient to a specialist, using CDT codes can provide a precise understanding of what treatments or evaluations are recommended or have been done.

Regulatory Compliance: Some state or federal programs might require the use of CDT codes to ensure compliance with rules and regulations related to dental care reimbursement or reporting.

The American Dental Association (ADA) maintains and updates the CDT codes. The updates typically include additions of new codes, revisions of existing codes, or deletion of outdated codes. These updates ensure that the CDT code system remains relevant and reflects the evolving nature of dental care.

The top 30 CDT codes for pediatric dentistry

There are quite a few pediatric dentistry CDT codes, but you’ll often find yourself using the same ones over and over again. Thus, memorizing or referring to this list could save you significant time. The 30 most common pediatric dentistry CDT codes are as follows:

  1. D0120 - Periodic oral evaluation
  2. D0140 - Limited oral evaluation, problem-focused
  3. D0150 - Comprehensive oral evaluation
  4. D0160 - Detailed and extensive oral evaluation
  5. D0210 - Intraoral - complete series of radiographic images
  6. D0220 - Intraoral - periapical first radiographic image
  7. D0230 - Intraoral - periapical each additional radiographic image
  8. D0240 - Intraoral - occlusal radiographic image
  9. D0250 - Extraoral - 2D projection radiographic image
  10. D0272 - Bitewing - two radiographic images
  11. D1120 - Prophylaxis - child
  12. D1206 - Topical application of fluoride varnish
  13. D1208 - Topical application of fluoride
  14. D1310 - Nutritional counseling for control of dental disease
  15. D1330 - Oral hygiene instructions
  16. D1351 - Sealant - per tooth
  17. D1510 - Space maintainer – fixed – unilateral
  18. D1515 - Space maintainer – fixed – bilateral
  19. D1520 - Space maintainer – removable – unilateral
  20. D1525 - Space maintainer – removable – bilateral
  21. D1550 - Re-cement or re-bond space maintainer
  22. D2140 - Amalgam - one surface, primary or permanent
  23. D2150 - Amalgam - two surfaces, primary or permanent
  24. D2160 - Amalgam - three surfaces, primary or permanent
  25. D2161 - Amalgam - four or more surfaces, primary or permanent
  26. D2330 - Resin-based composite - one surface, anterior
  27. D2331 - Resin-based composite - two surfaces, anterior
  28. D2332 - Resin-based composite - three surfaces, anterior
  29. D2335 - Resin-based composite - four or more surfaces or involving incisal angle (anterior)
  30. D2391 - Resin-based composite - one surface, posterior

How to look up CDT codes you don’t know

To look up CDT codes that you don't know:

CDT Manual: Purchase and consult the official CDT manual published by the American Dental Association (ADA). This manual is the definitive source for all CDT codes and contains detailed descriptions for each code.

Online Databases: Some dental software systems or online platforms offer searchable databases of CDT codes. With these tools, you can often input keywords or partial descriptions to find the corresponding codes.

ADA's Website: The ADA might offer tools or resources for members to look up CDT codes.

Consult with Peers: If you're part of a dental group or association, colleagues might be a resource for identifying unfamiliar CDT codes.

Continuing Education and Training: Stay updated with regular training or courses that might include reviews of new, removed, or changed CDT codes.

Always ensure you're using the most current version of the CDT, as codes can be added, altered, or deleted with new editions.

How SuperBill helps with dental coding

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About the Author

Sam Schwager

Sam Schwager co-founded SuperBill in 2021 and serves as CEO. Having personally experienced the frustrations of health insurance claims, his mission is to demystify health insurance and medical bills for other confused patients. Sam has a Computer Science degree from Stanford and formerly worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Co in San Francisco.