Orthodontic Billing and Coding: Best Practices for Maximizing Reimbursements

Posted on April 18, 2023

Are you a dental professional struggling with orthodontic billing and coding? Are you not maximizing your reimbursements?

Orthodontic procedures require specific billing and coding details that can be confusing and complicated to navigate. However, understanding these details is vital for maximizing reimbursements and ensuring a smooth billing process.

In this article, we will share the best practices for orthodontic billing and coding to help you navigate the complexities of the process and ensure you receive the reimbursements you deserve. By following these guidelines, you can streamline your billing process and focus on providing the best care possible to your patients.

Understanding Orthodontic Billing and Coding

Orthodontic billing and coding are essential components of the healthcare industry. Orthodontics is a specialized field that requires detailed billing and coding practices to ensure accuracy and compliance with regulatory requirements.

Understanding these practices is critical for orthodontic professionals to accurately bill insurance providers and receive appropriate service reimbursement. Insurance policies change constantly, and coding practices evolve over time, which makes it essential for orthodontic professionals to stay up-to-date with the latest information to avoid costly mistakes.

Effective billing and coding practices also help avoid claims denials and reduce the risk of audits or penalties. By understanding orthodontic billing and coding, practitioners can ensure the best possible outcomes for their patients and their practices.

Orthodontic Codes

Orthodontic codes refer to a set of codes used in the orthodontic industry to identify the procedures and treatments provided to patients.

These codes are used for billing and insurance purposes, allowing orthodontists and dental professionals to accurately document the services they provide and ensure proper reimbursement.

Orthodontic codes also help to streamline the communication between orthodontic professionals, allowing for the precise delivery of orthodontic care.

By using standardized orthodontic codes, orthodontic professionals can ensure that patients receive the appropriate treatment and care they need.

D8220-Fixed Appliance Therapy

D8220 is a code used in orthodontics to represent fixed appliance therapy. This orthodontic treatment involves the use of brackets, wires, and bands that are permanently fixed to the teeth with dental cement.

These appliances are designed to gently pressure the teeth and jaws to gradually move them into the desired position.

Fixed appliance therapy is a popular choice for orthodontic treatment and is often recommended for patients with complex dental issues such as malocclusion, crossbites, and crowded teeth.

D8210­–Removal Appliance Therapy

This code is used when a dentist or orthodontist needs to remove an appliance previously installed to correct a specific dental condition and prevent missing tooth. This may include the removal of braces, retainers, or other orthodontic devices.

D8680-Orthodontic Retention

ADA code d8680 refers to retaining the progress made through orthodontic treatment. Retention involves the use of appliances, such as retainers, to prevent teeth from shifting back to their original position.

It is an essential aspect of orthodontic treatment as it ensures the longevity of the results achieved through the therapy.

D8680-Orthodontic retention is typically used by orthodontic professionals when they refer to the cost of retaining the correction achieved through orthodontic treatment.

D8010-Limited Orthodontic Treatment of the Primary Dentition

D8010 specifically refers to limited orthodontic treatment of the primary dentition, which means that the orthodontist will only address certain issues with a child’s baby teeth, rather than working on their permanent teeth.

D8020-Limited Orthodontic Treatment of the Transitional Dentition

Transitional dentition is the time period when children are transitioning from their primary (baby) teeth to their permanent teeth. This treatment may involve using braces or other orthodontic appliances to correct specific issues with tooth or jaw alignment during this transitional period.

D8030-Limited Orthodontic Treatment of the Adolescent Dentition

Limited orthodontic treatment of adolescent dentition is a type of treatment designed to correct minor dental issues within a specified time frame. It usually involves the use of braces or clear aligners to straighten teeth and may require periodic adjustments throughout the course of treatment.

D8040-Limited Orthodontic Treatment of the Adult Dentition

This code is used for an orthodontist addressing a specific issue with a patient’s teeth, such as crowding or misalignment, but only for a short period of time rather than a full orthodontic treatment plan.

D8070-Comprehensive Orthodontic Treatment of the Transitional Dentition

This code means that the treatment is intended for patients who are in the process of transitioning from primary to permanent teeth.

D80-Comprehensive Orthodontic Treatment of the Adolescent Dentition

This treatment is typically provided by an orthodontist and involves a comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s dental health, followed by the development of a personalized treatment plan. This can include braces, aligners, retainers, or other orthodontic appliances to correct issues like misaligned teeth or bite problems.

For those seeking improvements in the alignment and aesthetics of their teeth, comprehensive orthodontic treatment can be an effective solution.

D8090-Comprehensive Orthodontic Treatment of the Adult Dentition

This code is for treatment that may include the use of braces, clear aligners, or other orthodontic devices that are used to straighten teeth, correct bite issues, and improve overall oral health.

By using specific codes for different orthodontic treatments, dentists and orthodontists can ensure that patients receive the appropriate care and that insurance claims are processed accurately.

Orthodontic Billing

Orthodontic billing refers to the process of creating and submitting claims to insurance companies for orthodontic services. This involves coding and documenting the treatment plan and submitting the claim to the insurance company for reimbursement.

It is important for orthodontic practices to have a proper billing system in place to ensure timely payments are received and to avoid any discrepancies or errors in the claims. Proper billing practices can also improve patient satisfaction by minimizing billing issues and streamlining the payment process.

These billing practices include:

  • Insurance Verification

Insurance verification in orthodontic billing is the process of verifying a patient’s insurance benefits and coverage for orthodontic treatment.

This includes determining the patient’s eligibility for coverage, any plan exclusions or limitations, and the patient’s financial responsibility for the treatment.
It is an essential step in the billing process to ensure accurate claims submission and reimbursement for both the patient and the provider.

  • Benefits Verification

Benefits verification in orthodontic billing is the process of verifying a patient’s insurance coverage and benefits for orthodontic treatment.

It involves gathering information about the patient’s insurance plan, including deductibles, co-pays, and coverage limits.

This information is then used to determine the patient’s out-of-pocket expenses and to develop a treatment plan that maximizes insurance benefits while minimizing the patient’s financial burden.

Proper benefits verification is critical to ensuring accurate billing and reimbursement and to avoiding billing errors or insurance denials.

  • Coordination of Benefits (COB)

Coordination of benefits (COB) in orthodontic billing is a process where dental insurance providers work together to determine which plan is responsible for covering which components of an orthodontic treatment.

This ensures that the patient does not receive more reimbursement than the actual cost of the treatment, and also prevents the insurance providers from overpaying.

In other words, COB helps to determine the primary and secondary insurance providers and how they will split the cost of the treatment to provide an accurate billing statement for the patient.

How Do I Submit an Orthodontic Claim?

To submit an orthodontic claim, you should check with your insurance provider or employer to find out their preferred method of submission.

Typically, you will need to provide your itemized list of treatments and their associated costs.

You will then need to submit this information along with any necessary forms and receipts to your insurance company or employer for processing.

Be sure to follow their instructions carefully, as each provider may have different requirements and deadlines for submission.

What Information Do I Need to Include on an Orthodontic Claim?

When filing an orthodontic claim, you need to include the patient’s name, date of birth, insurance company and policy number, date of treatment, the name and address of the treating orthodontist, a description of the treatment provided, the amount charged, and a code for the specific treatment performed. It is important to ensure that all information is accurate and complete to avoid any delays or denials in payment.


An effective orthodontic billing system is essential for successful reimbursement and patient satisfaction. Proper insurance verification, benefits verification, and coordination of benefits are all critical components to ensure accurate claims submission and timely payments for both the patient and provider. By following these practices, you can help maximize revenue and minimize any claim processing issues. Contact OrthoSynetics today for more information