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Dental care strategies in the age of COVID-19
June 15, 2020

This time last year, no one ever heard of the COVID-19 virus. Even six months ago, few had any inkling as to what it would do to the dental profession. Since then, dental offices have been closed in Massachusetts except for emergency care, making these difficult times for the dental profession.  

In phase one of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan, dentists have been allowed to treat patients who have emergent dental needs. Emergent care is for patients who may not have pain or swelling due to trauma or a dental infection but who, without some intervention, would need emergency treatment shortly. When treating these patients, you may use CDT code D1354, interim caries medicament application, if it is applicable to the emergent situation.

Billing for emergent care needs

Consider using CDT D1354 to bill for the application of a medicament to treat patients for advanced caries on a tooth where you may be otherwise unable to perform definitive care. For example, it could be used when you want to avoid treatment with a handpiece to minimize aerosol or for treatment plans that minimize patient appointment duration. Although this limited treatment doesn’t substitute for definitive care, it could provide your patient with interim care while helping to keep you, your office staff, and your patients safe.

CDT code Narrative
D0140 Limited oral evaluation—problem-focused. This code is suggested for reporting telephonic or virtual visits*
D1354 Interim caries-arresting medicament application per tooth*

*subject to benefit coverage and CDT guidelines

Reminder about personal protective equipment

In a News Alert that we published on May 28, we noted that personal protective equipment (PPE) is considered a component of infection control and is not separately billable to the member. Our News Alert stated that billing for PPE with D1999 will cause claim denials. Only code D1999 will be denied; we will process all other covered services itemized on your claim.

If you bill for D1999, both you and the member will receive a reject message noting that the member should not be billed for PPE. Additionally, you may not collect pre- or post-service payment from the member for this expense.

Thank you!

We will continue to partner with the dental community as offices begin to reopen. We thank your whole dental team for their dedication to your profession and to your patients, our members.