Inventory of Health Care Information Standards. American Dental Association (ADA)


Current Dental Terminology (CDT)

The ADA's Current Dental Terminology (CDT) is a manual that is intended to be of practical use to those in dental offices who deal with patients' dental plans, by providing assistance in accurately reporting dental treatment and procedures to third-party payers. The document used for reporting treatment is the American Dental Association's Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature which is contained in the CDT. The Code is structured so that it can be used by dentists and/or their staff to report care provided to patients. Within CDT, many code numbers are accompanied by additional information or explanations to help clarify how the codes should be applied.

Developing Organization

CDT is maintained by the American Dental Association through its Council on Dental Benefit Programs.

ANSI Accreditation

CDT is not a standard. It is a copyrighted document of the American Dental Association. However, as an organization, the ADA is directly involved in standards development as sponsor and secretariat of the ASC MD156.


Current Dental Terminology (CDT)

Contact For More Information

Thomas Conway

American Dental Association

211 East Chicago Avenue

Chicago, Illinois 60611

Phone: 312/440-2752

Fax: 312/440-2520



The CDT contains the American Dental Association's codes for dental procedures and nomenclature and is the nationally accepted set of numeric codes and descriptive terms for reporting dental treatments. CDT also contains a description of the ADA Dental Claim Form; clinical and dental benefit terminology; and a description of the tooth numbering system.


CDT is available in the following print and electronic formats:

1 volume spiral bound manual;

Electronic version in MS DOS diskette, an ASCII file, and a database program. Must have IBM compatible computer with at least 512K RAM.

In addition, CDT is currently licensed to many practice management software systems vendors.

Indicator of Market Acceptance

CDT is used as a reporting tool by all practicing dentists in the United States. It is also used by third-party payers for claims processing. The ADA's procedure codes are also included in the HCFA Procedural Coding System (HCPCS) as the dental (D) codes.

Level of Specificity

CDT includes the ADA's Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature consisting of over 400 distinct dental procedures. The codes and nomenclature have been divided into 12 categories of service: Diagnostic, Preventive, Restorative, Endodontics, Periodontics, Prosthodontics; removable, Maxillofacial Prosthetics, Implant Services, Prosthodontics;fixed, Oral Surgery, Orthodontics, and Adjunctive General Services.

Identifiable Costs

CDT is available to individuals for $29.95. Licenses are granted for $500 for a five year period to those that distribute CDT in software systems, continuing education programs and other products. The codes are revised on a five-year cycle.