ADA dental codes 2021

ADA dental code changes for 2021

Information about new ADA code changes for 2021. 2020 codes are in another post.

What are some of the major changes this year?

There are some COVID changes. A lot of new codes about taking x-rays but not reading them. Nomenclature changes like changing chairside to direct and lab to indirect. The word clasp is being changed in some spots as well as top be more encompassing.

Diagnostic and preventative code changes

There are a couple of pathogen testing codes added for both COVID but also any future outbreak. This is the section with a lot of new codes for taking x-rays but not reading them. Oral cancer screenings are not optional for a comprehensive oral evaluation anymore, they are part of your COE. The word implants was added to prophy visits.

D0604 antigen testing

D0605 antibody testing

Endodontics dental code changes for 2021

The codes added all revolve around apical surgery. Three of the codes are for repair of root resorption and three are codes for surgical access without repairing or apico.

Dental implant code changes

The dental code for a semi-precision attachment abutment was broken into two codes. There is now a code for placing the abutment portion on the implant and the other code if for the receiving portion of the semi-precision attachment on the removable prosthesis.  This changes some codes for locator dentures and possibly bar overdentures.

D6191 Placement of the semi-precision abutment on the implant body.

D6192 Placement of semi-precision attachment to the removable prosthesis.

OMFS ADA dental code changes for 2021

Frenulectomy was split into two codes.

D7961 buccal/labial frenectomy

D 7962 lingual frenectomy

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2 Responses to “ADA dental codes 2021”

  1. December 26, 2020 at 1:24 pm #

    You commented “. Oral cancer screenings are not part of not an option for exams.” Oral Cancer screening is part of the diagnostic exam process, so it is not reported separately. However, if done as the purpose of a separate encounter, I think the D0190 screening code can be applied.

    I think the codes for taking x-rays but not reading them are applicable for teledental encounters where trained personnel are with a patient to gather data, including digital x-rays, so that a remote dentist can synchronously or asynchronously review them for diagnosis and treatment planning.

    To the subject of teledental encounters, I recently submitted a request for a change in the description of the D0140 limited exam-problem focused. I don’t want to see that code abused or confused with D0190 screening or D0191 assessment codes, which are pre-diagnostic, while D0140 is diagnostic. Use of a phone camera in a teledental encounters does not yield diagnostic data, and when it leads to a remote dentist advising a patient that they need to have an in-office visit and an x-ray in order to get a diagnosis and definitive treatment plan, that speaks to that exact point. For example, a patient in pain that shows a picture of a tooth with a hole in it. The remote dentist cannot determine if RCT is advisable or not without seeing the extent and depth of decay with an in-person exam and a radiograph. Where the patient later shows in an operatory chair, an x-ray and problem focused diagnostic exam can be done, leading to treatment options and treatment plan. The diagnostic D0140 procedure as a teledental encounter involves a visit by trained personnel with a portable digital x-ray unit and intra oral camera.

    • January 3, 2021 at 7:02 pm #

      Spencer, I fixed the wording as even I don’t know what that was saying. I do know the point of the sentence and the clarification in the ADA is that COE must include cancer screenings. I agree the codes about reading x-rays are designed towards teledentistry. I don’t personally have much use or need for it but it will have it’s place somewhere at some point.

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