Confidently coding extractions
When speaking at various dental meetings, and when responding to email questions about extractions, I have encountered some confusion about the difference between simple extractions (code D7140) and surgical extractions (code D7210). Understanding the differences requires understanding the nomenclature, so let’s dive into each so you can confidently code extractions correctly in the future.
What is D7140?
Code D7140 states, “EXTRACTION, ERUPTED TOOTH OR EXPOSED ROOT (ELEVATION AND/OR FORCEPS REMOVAL). This includes removal of tooth structure, minor smoothing of socket bone, and closure, as necessary.”
What is D7210?
Code D7210 states, “EXTRACTION, ERUPTED TOOTH REQUIRING REMOVAL OF BONE AND/OR SECTIONING OF TOOTH, AND INCLUDING ELEVATION OF MUCOPERIOSTEAL FLAP, IF INDICATED. Includes related cutting of gingiva and bone, removal of tooth structure, minor smoothing of socket bone and closure.
What is the difference?
The important thing to note in the descriptor of D7210 is what is required to elevate an extraction from a “simple” extraction to a “surgical” extraction. Some dental billers have thought that having to open a flap or suture the area would elevate the procedure from a simple extraction to the level of a surgical extraction. This is not the case. Code D7210 states that removal of bone and/or sectioning of a tooth is required when submitting a claim for D7210. The clinical record should also contain a statement that the doctor did, in fact, need to section the tooth and/or remove bone in order to justify billing for a surgical extraction.
When selecting the most appropriate code to describe a particular procedure, read all descriptors and nomenclatures to help in the process and match it to the clinical documentation from the provider.
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