Dental Codes & Their Meaning

Dental codes are alphanumeric representations used to describe specific dental procedures and treatments. These codes play a central role in processing insurance claims accurately and efficiently. Let’s delve into the world of dental codes and their significance in the realm of dental insurance.


  • Dental Procedure Code (CDT): The CDT code set, maintained by the American Dental Association (ADA), is a standardized system used to describe various dental procedures and services. Each code represents a specific treatment, such as a filling, extraction, or crown. When submitting insurance claims, dental practitioners must use the appropriate CDT codes to communicate the provided services to insurance carriers accurately.
  • Diagnostic Codes: Diagnostic codes, often referred to as ICD-10 codes, are utilized in dental insurance to indicate the reason for a particular treatment or procedure. These codes are essential for linking the patient’s diagnosis to the treatment provided. For instance, if a patient undergoes a root canal due to dental caries, the corresponding ICD-10 code would reflect the caries diagnosis.
  • Procedure Description: Alongside each dental code, a detailed procedure description should be included. This description provides additional information about the treatment rendered, allowing insurance carriers to verify the necessity and appropriateness of the procedure.
  • Fee Schedule: Dental codes are also associated with specific fee schedules that outline the reimbursement rates for each procedure. These fee schedules may vary among different insurance carriers. As dental staff, it’s essential to be familiar with the fee schedules of the insurance plans accepted at your dental practice to accurately estimate patient co-payments and out-of-pocket expenses.


Dental codes serve as a standardized language in dental insurance, facilitating effective communication between dental practitioners and insurance carriers. A thorough understanding of dental codes and their meanings empowers dental staff to process insurance claims accurately, ensure proper reimbursement for services rendered, and offer transparent and informed support to patients. Let’s continue to sharpen our skills in navigating dental codes, strengthening the efficiency and success of our dental practice.


Please take a moment to review this document which displays all of the current ADA codes in dentistry.