As anyone with children knows all too well, change for a young child can seem like the end of the world. When my firstborn started going to kindergarten there was a new routine, new clothes, new surroundings, new friends, and the biggest change of all, a new authority figure in her life. Then, my daughter was thrown a curveball: We arrived at school and her regular teacher was out sick. Now, a substitute teacher when you are in high school is a dream, but for a five-year-old, it was an all-out meltdown!  She could not comprehend that her teacher wasn’t able to come in and that she would have to listen to and obey another person.

I was faced with a tough decision, do I leave my baby here completely heartbroken and seeing this teacher as the Wicked Witch of the West? Or, do I give in to the meltdown and take her home? That’s the thing about change, it happens whether you are five or fifty. How you react to it is where your change comes in.

Well, change is coming for dentistry! If you think it isn’t, you are in for a rude awakening. According to the National Provider Compliance Corporation (NPCC), “Dental carriers are now requiring that any service that could be payable by any medical carrier, including Medicare; be submitted to medical first.”

Medical billing for dentistry in 2019 will be—ready or not—the standard for billing! The question is, are you ready for the change?


Delta Dental is already providing education that medical diagnosing will be part of your dental claim form. Also, the CDT Companion Guide highly references diagnosis codes for dentistry.

With that in mind, would you want to access larger reimbursements for services you perform? That’s the upside of medical billing in dentistry, there are no frequency limitations or maximums in medical insurance. Statistics say that only two to four percent of Americans actually use their maximum medical benefits on a yearly basis. Mainly in part because there are substantial procedures in dentistry (CDT codes) that are non-covered services:

  •   Bone Grafts
  •   Block Grafts
  •   Nasopalatine Procedures
  •   Resorbable Membranes
  •   CBCT’s
  •   Sinus Augmentations
  •   And, other oral surgery and periodontal treatments.

There is a reason they are non-covered services in dentistry, these are all considered medical procedures. Just taking bone grafts as an example, a bone graft is needed due to atrophy, even if it is because of tooth extraction. That bone graft would be covered by medical insurance not dental.

All signs are pointing to big changes for dentistry involving medical billing. Will you adapt or be left behind? It may not feel like the easiest choice, but adapting and growing with the changes is my choice. I was faced with two paths that day in kindergarten with my daughter:

  1. I could empower her with the strength to accept the change and trust the substitute teacher.
  2. I could follow what some other parents did and take my child home, encouraging her to run away from uncomfortable changes. I chose the first path. My “little” girl is now in her mid-thirties and I do believe she accepted the change and even thrived because of it.

I still choose the path of empowerment every day, as I am here along with everyone else at Devdent to empower and educate dental providers and their teams. We give you all the tools and training so that you can adapt to the future of insurance billing. Will you accept the change and take your practice to the next level, or will you bury your head in the sand hoping it will go away? Remember, how you react to change is what creates your outcome!