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Hitting the Periodontal Coding Target for Kelly

Patti DiGangi
Enrollment is Closed

About This Course

Kelly is a 20-year-old college student you have seen since childhood. She has no previous history of periodontal disease or cavities documented. She went away to college and is away from home for the first time. She noticed some white spots on her teeth and has cold sensitivity as well as bleeding gums. She shows obvious symptoms of caries and periodontal infection. This session examines several eternal coding questions related to Kelly's diagnosis and treatment.

Learning Objectives: After this course, the learner will be able to know the correct answers to:

  1. When do we use D150 comprehensive oral evaluation, D0180 comprehensive periodontal evaluation, and D0120 Periodic oral evaluation?
  2. What is the code for using a laser debridement?
  3. Can we code D4341/2 and D1110 on the same day?
  4. What is the correct coding for 3-month visit?
  5. Can a patient ever go back to D1110?
  6. What is the code for gingival irrigation?
  7. Alternating D1110 and D4910? (There is secret)

What was the patient's diagnosis? is the answer to nearly every coding question. Often we think in Type 1,2,3,4, which are not diagnosis categories, but treatment categories. Historically, all gingival disease was treated as gingivitis and periodontal disease meant periodontitis. This thought process has led to as much as 50% under-diagnosis per Centers for Disease Control. Let's go back to the basic definition of periodontium: the supporting structures of the teeth including the cementum, the periodontal ligament, the bone of the alveolar process, and the gingival tissues. Kelly's case can be tricky because as a patient of record with no previous disease, her changing condition could be missed or untreated. Her case helps us to recognize, detect, treat and ultimately code correctly. Coding is part of this overall even if there is no insurance coverage. Codes are for measurability. How we accurately use codes benefits the practice, the patient and influences future codes.


This course is intended for use by dental hygienists, dentists, business staff and office managers to put to rest some of the recurring questions regarding coding of periodontal care provided by the dental hygiene department in a general dental practice.

Course Staff

Patti DiGangi

Patti DiGangi, RDH, BS

Patti DiGangi, RDH, BS works with dental professionals to improve practice profitability. The Affordable Care Act and other rules are changing the face of healthcare. These changes are felt through soon-coming required use of electronic health records and a set of confusing codes. Codes can seem mysterious and we can feel like a victim to the system. Patti helps break the code and demystify the process. Patti was awarded the 2014 Sunstar Award of Distinction and the 2013 Sonicare Mentor of Distinction award. Patti received the 2016 Dentistry Today CE Leaders recognition.

Patti holds publishing and speaking licenses with the American Dental Association for Current Dental Terminology and SNODENT Diagnostic Coding. She is the author of the DentalCodeology series of bite-size books for busy people. She was invited by ADA to write a chapter in CDT 2017 Companion. She is a member of the Speaking and Consulting Network and the National Speakers Association.

Patti Beeson

Patti Beeson, RDH

Patti Beeson, RDH spent decades chairside as a clinical RDH, a Red Cross volunteer RDH on an army base, civil service RDH in the U.S. and in South Korea. Founding member of a hygiene oral-systemic study club. Past President of the Illinois Dental Hygienists' Association.

Patti B holds RDH licenses in multiple states. She has worked in military base clinics, in private fee-for-service practices from the most affluent suburbs to the PPO/DMO practice in the 2nd poor city in the state.

Certification Information

Approved Pace Program Provider
PROVIDER is designated as an Approved PACE Program Provider by the Academy of General Dentistry. The formal continuing dental education programs of this program provider are accepted by AGD for Fellowship, Mastership and membership maintenance credit. Approval does not imply acceptance by a state or provincial board of dentistry or AGD endorsement. The current term of approval extends from (4/1/2014) to (3/31/2017). Provider ID# 218678
Students who successfully complete this course will receive 1 Continuing Education Credit.

Always check with your specific state/territory board and licensing requirements. For dental professionals in the United States, check requirements according to the American Dental Association website. For information about continuing education requirements in Canada, visit the Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry or the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to buy a textbook?

No, Patti has included a free online version of her book, "DentalCodeology: More than Pocket Change" as part of the course. You can purchase a printed version, at, if you'd like.

What if I have both a Dental Professional and Dental Practice login? Which do I need to use to take the course?

You will need to use the Dental Professional login to take the course. If you only have a Dental Practice profile, you can create a Dental Professional profile for free.

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