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When it comes to dental procedures such as a pulpotomy, it is important to understand the coding guidelines and principles to appropriately assign the correct codes for billing and reimbursement purposes. Dental practices can rely on the services of a professional dental billing company for accurate pulpotomybilling and coding and timely claim submission. In this blog, we look at the specifics of medical coding for pulpotomy dental procedures, which would be helpful for dental professionals and medical coders.

What Is the Purpose of Pulpotomy?

The major goal of a pulpotomy is to remove the infected portion of the pulp while preserving the remaining healthy tissue to maintain the tooth’s function until it naturally falls out. Increased tooth sensitivity is usually the first sign that the patient has pulpitis (inflammation of the pulp). Pulpotomy is primarily performed in children with baby (primary) teeth, which have an immature root formation.

In adults, the treatment for a decayed or infected tooth with pulpal involvement typically involves a root canal therapy (endodontic treatment) rather than a pulpotomy. Root canal therapy involves the complete removal of the infected or damaged dental pulp from both the crown and root of the tooth, followed by cleaning, shaping, and filling the root canal system. This procedure is performed to save the tooth and alleviate pain or infection.

However, there can be exceptional cases where a pulpotomy may be performed on adults. These situations might occur when dealing with specific clinical scenarios, such as a severely decayed primary tooth that serves as a bridge or retainer for a removable partial denture or a temporary measure before planning a more definitive treatment like extraction and replacement with a dental implant. Such cases would require careful assessment and consideration by the dental professional to determine the most appropriate treatment approach.

Documenting the pulpotomy accurately is important for appropriate reimbursement. Dental practices can benefit from professional dental billing solutions.

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Dental Codes for Pulpotomy

Dental medical coding is a complex procedure. It is advisable to consult the latest coding guidelines and seek advice from a certified medical coder or healthcare professional for accurate and up-to-date coding information specific to the condition.

Applicable ICD-10 Codes

  • K04 Diseases of pulp and periapical tissues
  • K04.0 Pulpitis
  • K04.01 Reversible pulpitis
  • K04.02 Irreversible pulpitis

CDT Codes

  • D3220 – Therapeutic pulpotomy (excluding final restoration) – removal of pulp coronal to the dentinocemental junction and application of medicament.
  • D3221 – Pulpal debridement, primary and permanent teeth
  • D3222 – Partial pulpotomy for apexogenesis – permanent tooth with incomplete root development

A therapeutic pulpotomy can be performed prior to receiving root canal therapy. However, this dental procedure code does not cover the procedure when the second step is root canal therapy. In other words, the use of this code covers a pulpotomy only when it is not a precursor to a root canal. The code also does not cover the final restoration to the tooth, which could include installing a prefabricated stainless steel crown.

The code covers both partial pulpotomy and complete pulpotomy. In a complete pulpotomy procedure, the entire contents of the pulpal chamber at the entrance of the root canal (s) are removed. In a partial pulpotomy, only part of the tissue in the pulp chamber is removed. Whether partial or complete, pulpotomy is a billable procedure similar to direct and indirect pulp caps.

D3220 is specifically used for primary teeth (baby teeth or deciduous teeth). If a pulpotomy is performed on a permanent tooth, a different CDT code may be relevant, such as D3230 (Pulpal therapy, excluding final restoration – permanent teeth).

It is billed in addition to the complete final restoration. The final restoration may be necessary to restore the tooth’s form, function, and aesthetics and may involve placing a dental filling, crown, or other appropriate restorative material to protect and strengthen the tooth.

The specific billing code for the final restoration will depend on the type of restoration performed. For example, if a dental filling is placed, the appropriate CDT code may be selected from the range D2000-D2999 (restorative procedures). If a crown is placed, the relevant CDT code may be chosen from the range D2700-D2799 (crown and bridge procedures). When submitting claims for reimbursement, it is important to ensure accurate documentation and coding for both the pulpotomy procedure (e.g. using code D3220) and the final restoration. This allows for proper billing and helps ensure that the dental provider receives appropriate reimbursement for the services rendered.

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Insurance Coverage May Vary

It’s worth noting that specific insurance plans and coverage policies may have their own guidelines and requirements regarding the timing and coverage of pulpotomy and final restorations. Dental professionals and medical coders should familiarize themselves with the coding and billing guidelines provided by the insurance companies to ensure compliance and maximize reimbursement.

You can ensure error-free dental coding for appropriate reimbursement with the help of a reliable dental billing company. Professional dental billing support also includes comprehensive dental eligibility verification services to verify the patient’s coverage before procedures are performed.

Amber Darst

Amber Darst is our Solutions Manager in the Healthcare Division, Practice and RCM. With a rich background in dental services, her expertise ranges from insurance coordination to office management.

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