Dentists face a diagnostic coding conundrum

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It appears that dentists may have a diagnostic coding conundrum on their hands. According to a recent EHR Intelligence article, one academic workgroup has created a coding set, known as EZCodes Dental Diagnostic Terminology, a set of terms that describe dental abnormalities in a similar manner to ICD-10; 17 dental schools are piloting the codes. The American Dental Association, however, is working on a subdivision of SNOMED, known as SNODENT (Systemized Nomenclature of Dentistry), which will be more robust but has yet to be released in any capacity, despite an original release date of January 2000. Dentists who want to adopt a code set sooner essentially are stuck in limbo while the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services decides which set it ultimately will choose as its standard.

"Right now, dentists are unsure which way to turn, knowing that the wrong choice will leave them investing in equipment, education and software that will be rendered obsolete if HHS chooses the competing standard," the article states. Article