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Dental Treatment Coordinator Training

D9110 - Palliative Treatment

D9110 - Palliative (Emergency) Treatment of Dental Pain

  • This is typically used when a patient is seen for an emergency dental appointment, and something is painful or uncomfortable.
  • Palliative can be thought of as easing the symptoms without curing the underlying condition.
  • This is not appropriate to use when the only service provided to the patient is writing of a prescription. An actual "hands on " treatment must be provided.
  • Palliative treatment does not include an exam or evaluation.
  • Palliative treatment does not include diagnostic x-rays.
  • Although not stated in the CDT code, a narrative is helpful in determining the nature of the treatment, and documenting that it is congruent with CDT descriptor.

Examples of palliative treatment:

  • Smoothing of a sharp edge on a broken tooth or restoration.
  • Placing a temporary filling in a broken tooth.
  • Opening an abscessed tooth to relieve pain.
  • Incising an abscess.
  • Adjusting occlusion on a tooth with Cracked Tooth Syndrome.
  • Removal of floss or food impaction that has caused gingival irritation.
  • Cleaning inflamed tissue around a partially erupted wisdom tooth.
  • Applying desensitizing medicament to an exposed root surface.
  • Removing only some of the decay in a very deep painful cavity, and placing a temporary filling.
  • Administering local anesthetic to temporarily relieve pain.
  • Applying topical medication to an intraoral burn or canker sore.

Palliative treatment code is NOT appropriate for:

  • The first step of a root canal.
  • Definitive treatments, such as crown preps, permanent fillings, extractions.
  • Office visits for observation.
  • Office visits that are regular recall visits.
Written by Jacob Hodara

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