D4346 Dental Code: What it Covers and Why You Need to Know About It

D4346 Dental Code: What it Covers and Why You Need to Know About It

Maintaining oral health is essential to lead a healthy life, and regular dental check-ups are crucial. Dentists examine the mouth for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental problems during a dental visit. One of the procedures they may perform is dental code 4346, also known as scaling and root planing. While it may not be as commonly known as other dental codes, D4346 covers an essential aspect of preventive care that you should be aware of. This article will discuss what dental code 4346 is, its purpose, and the procedure involved.

What Is D4346 Dental Code? A Thorough Guide

What is the dental code 4346?

  • The code is part of the Current Dental Terminology (CDT) system, which dentists and dental insurance companies use to communicate and process dental claims.
  • According to the American dental association, "Dental code 4346 is a procedure used to treat patients with moderate to severe gum disease or inflammation, also known as periodontitis. It involves removing plaque and calculus (hardened plaque) from the teeth, roots, and gums."
  • This procedure is also known as scaling and root planing or deep cleaning.
  • The Gingival Index of Löe and Silness defined gingival inflammation in this way:
    1. abc Normal inflammation
    2. Mild inflammation- a slight change in color and slight edema but no bleeding on probing
    3. Moderate inflammation- redness, edema, and glazing, bleeding on probing
    4. Severe inflammation- marked redness and edema, ulceration with a tendency to spontaneous bleeding

Why was D4346 added to the CDT code?

• To fill the gap

The D4346 code was introduced in 2017 to fill a gap in the existing code system. Previously, the only code available for scaling and root planing (SRP) was D4341 and D4342. However, these codes were limited to patients with localized or generalized severe periodontitis, respectively. These codes did not capture generalized moderate or severe gingival inflammation cases, making it challenging for dental professionals to document and bill for these procedures. This gap in the code system necessitated the addition of the D4346 code to the CDT.

• Standardization of Deep Cleaning Procedures

The addition of the D4346 code to the CDT code also helps standardize deep cleaning procedures. Before this code was added, different dental practices may have used different codes to report similar procedures, which made it difficult to compare and analyze data. The D4346 code provides a standardized way to report deep cleaning procedures, which makes it easier for dental professionals to communicate and compare data.

D4346 Dental Code Properties

i. Moderate to Severe Gingival Inflammation

This code is used when a patient has moderate to severe gingival inflammation, which can lead to gum disease if left untreated.

ii. Code type

D4346 is a therapeutic code used in dentistry, not preventative.

iii. Full Mouth

This code covers the scaling of all teeth in the mouth rather than a specific quadrant or section of teeth.

iv. Follow-up Care

Patients who undergo D4346 may require additional follow-up care, such as more frequent dental cleanings or periodontal maintenance appointments, to maintain the health of their gums and prevent further inflammation.

v. Age

There is not any age restriction. Even the child can use this code procedure. Also, a child who never got dental cleaning from dental professionals can use it.

4 benefits of using gingival inflammation code D4346

1. Improved accuracy:

Using D4346 allows for more accurate reporting of gingival inflammation, which can help dental professionals better assess the severity of the condition and develop appropriate treatment plans.
The code ensures the procedure is accurately documented in the patient's dental records. This documentation is necessary for insurance claims and tracking the patient's progress in treating periodontal disease.

2. Early detection of gum disease:

The use of code D4346 can help dentists detect and treat gingivitis in its early stages before it progresses to more severe periodontal disease.

3. Increased revenue for dentists:

Using the code can help dentists increase their revenue by billing insurance companies for the necessary treatment.

4. Improved oral health:

Treatment of gingivitis can lead to improved oral health, including healthier gums, fresher breath, and reduced risk of tooth loss.

When and How to Use the D4346 Dental Code?


  1. The D4346 dental code is used when a patient has generalized moderate to severe gingival inflammation but does not have periodontal disease. This means the patient's gums are swollen and tender, but there is no bone loss or deep pockets around the teeth
  2. The patient exhibits bleeding upon probing (BOP) in more than 30% of sites or has a gingival index (GI) score of 2 or higher.
  3. The patient has periodontal pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that measure 4-5mm deep and exhibit bleeding or exudates (pus).
  4. Some signs that a patient may be a good candidate for the D4346 procedure include bleeding gums, swollen gums, bad breath, and loose teeth.
  5. Patients with a history of gum disease or who smoke are also good candidates for this procedure.


To use the D4346 dental code, the dental professional must follow specific steps.

  1. First, they must perform a comprehensive oral evaluation to determine the document the presence and severity of gingival inflammation using appropriate indices and measurements.
  2. If the patient has generalized moderate to severe gingival inflammation, the dental professional can proceed with the D4346 procedure.
  3. Once the diagnosis of moderate or severe gingival inflammation is established, the dentist can perform the D4346 procedure, which involves scaling and root planing of the entire dentition.
  4. Depending on the patient's needs and preferences, the procedure may be performed in one or multiple appointments.
  5. The dental professional must also ensure the patient's insurance plan covers the D4346 code.
  6. To report the D4346 code, the dentist must document the following information in the patient's chart and claim form:
    • The diagnosis of moderate or severe gingival inflammation
    • The extent and location of the inflammation
    • The number of teeth treated
    • The date(s) of service
    • The fees charged for the procedure

When NOT To Bill

You cannot use D4346;

  • When you have localized instead of generalized moderate to severe gingivitis
  • If you have periodontitis in more than one teeth
  • When your generalized gingivitis is slight instead of moderate to severe

What are the risks of dental code 4346?

The risks of dental code 4346 are minimal. However, patients may experience discomfort or sensitivity during and after the procedure. There is also a small risk of infection, but this can be minimized by following good oral hygiene practices and taking any prescribed antibiotics as directed.

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