Dentist's Choice to Bill Medical versus Dental for Higher Reimbursement?

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Can a dentist simply choose to bill a CPT medical code for a "panoramic xray" versus the CDT (dental) code? Are there any rules that prohibit a dentist from billing medical code instead? The CDT (dental) code is 0330 and the medical CPT code is 70350 "panoramic x-ray of jaws." The medical CPT code pays significantly more (3 X) what the dental code pays. This would be for a regular dentist in a regular dental office and not part of any oral surgery procedure as in an outpatient medical/dental clinic or hospital. If this is the case, why wouldn't all dentists bill their insurance companies for this much higher rate. Also, on a separate note....with regards to E/M codes, I assume that a dentist is not considered a physician and is not allowed to bill E/M codes using their own tax id. Thanks for any insights!


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Medical plans typically only cover dental procedures when they are related to an injury to an otherwise healthy tooth. Anything involving decay or other diseases of the teeth that routinely occur with the aging process are generally excluded from medical coverage and would only be payable by a dental plan. (There may be some exceptions to this for particular specialists such as those who treat periodontal or maxillofacial conditions, for example.) So in general, no, a dentist does not usually have the option of billing either medical or dental codes for anything they do. You're also correct that most dentists do not have the necessary credentials to be enrolled as medical providers in order to be reimbursed by health plans including Medicare and/or to bill for E/M services.