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How to Successfully Bill Medical Insurance for Dental Treatment

Medical insurance coverage for dental treatments can be a game-changer for patients, providing them with financial relief and improved access to comprehensive oral healthcare. However, navigating the complexities of billing medical insurance for dental services can be challenging for dental practitioners.         This blog aims to guide dental professionals on the best practices to successfully bill medical insurance for dental treatments, ensuring patients receive the benefits they deserve while maintaining a seamless reimbursement process.

1. Understanding Medical vs. Dental Insurance

Before delving into the billing process, it’s essential to understand the fundamental differences between medical and dental insurance. Dental insurance typically covers routine dental care, such as cleanings, fillings, and basic treatments. On the other hand, medical insurance primarily focuses on diagnosing, treating, and preventing medical conditions. However, there are instances where medical insurance may cover certain dental treatments that are medically necessary.

2. Identifying Medically Necessary Dental Procedures

One of the crucial steps in successfully billing medical insurance for dental treatment is determining whether a procedure qualifies as medically necessary. Medically necessary dental treatments are those that address a medical condition, such as facial trauma, oral infections, sleep apnea, and congenital anomalies affecting oral health. In contrast, dental insurance covers procedures that are considered routine or cosmetic, like teeth whitening or orthodontic treatments.

3. Collaboration with Medical Professionals

For successful medical insurance billing, it is essential to collaborate with medical professionals. Dental practitioners should communicate effectively with physicians and specialists to establish the medical necessity of certain dental treatments. This collaboration will enable both parties to provide necessary documentation and substantiate the medical requirement for specific dental procedures, increasing the chances of insurance approval.

4. Accurate and Detailed Documentation

Proper documentation is the backbone of a successful insurance billing process. Dental practitioners must maintain detailed records of patient evaluations, treatment plans, and procedures performed. Including all relevant medical history, X-rays, and other diagnostic reports will strengthen the case for medical necessity. Additionally, using standardized dental codes, such as Current Dental Terminology (CDT) codes, can help facilitate communication with medical insurance companies.

5. Verification of Medical Insurance Coverage

Before initiating any medically necessary dental treatment, it is crucial to verify the patient’s medical insurance coverage. Dental practitioners should thoroughly review the patient’s insurance policy, including the terms and conditions, limitations, and exclusions. Some medical insurance plans may have specific restrictions on dental coverage, making it imperative to be well-informed to avoid potential claim denials.

6. Prior Authorization Process

Many medical insurance plans require prior authorization for certain dental procedures. Dental practitioners should initiate the prior authorization process by submitting the necessary documentation, which typically includes treatment plans, clinical records, and any relevant medical history. Early initiation of this process can prevent delays in treatment and ensure timely insurance approval.

7. Coding and Billing Procedures

Accurate coding is essential to ensure that dental claims are processed smoothly. While dental procedures typically use CDT codes, medical insurance companies require Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes. Dental practitioners must understand how to convert CDT codes to appropriate CPT codes to align with medical insurance requirements.

Moreover, when submitting claims, dental practitioners should clearly indicate the medical necessity of the procedure in the claim form. Providing a comprehensive cover letter that outlines the patient’s medical condition, the treatment’s significance, and how it will impact the patient’s overall health can significantly improve the chances of claim approval.

8. Submitting Claims and Following Up

Once all necessary documentation is in order, dental practitioners can submit the medical insurance claims for dental treatment. Prompt submission is crucial to ensure timely reimbursement. After submitting the claim, it is essential to follow up with the insurance company regularly to check the status of the claim and address any potential issues promptly.

9. Appealing Denied Claims

Despite meticulous preparation, some claims may still get denied initially. In such cases, dental practitioners should be prepared to appeal the decision. Reviewing the reasons for denial, addressing any gaps in documentation, and providing additional supporting evidence can strengthen the appeal. It may be necessary to consult with medical professionals, insurance experts, or specialized dental billing companies to navigate the appeal process effectively.

10. Patient Communication

Throughout the billing process, clear and transparent communication with patients is essential. Patients should be informed about the procedures’ medical necessity, the potential coverage they can expect from their medical insurance, and any out-of-pocket expenses they may incur. Providing patients with estimated costs, pre-authorization information, and guidance on filing claims can help manage expectations and prevent surprises.


Billing medical insurance for dental treatment can be complex but highly rewarding for both dental practitioners and patients. By understanding the distinctions between medical and dental insurance, collaborating with medical professionals, maintaining accurate documentation, and following the correct coding and billing procedures, dental practitioners can increase the likelihood of successful reimbursement. Effective communication with patients throughout the process is crucial for managing expectations and ensuring a smooth experience. By mastering these best practices, dental professionals can optimize patient care while navigating the complexities of medical insurance billing for dental treatments.

Medical Billing for Dental Practices: 5 Common Errors to Avoid

Medical billing plays a crucial role in the financial success of any dental practice. Properly navigating the complex world of medical billing for dental procedures can significantly impact a practice’s revenue and overall profitability. However, it’s not uncommon for general dentists to encounter various challenges and errors during the billing process. 

In this blog, we will explore five common errors to avoid when it comes to medical billing for dental procedures which is crucial for your revenue cycle management.

1. Inaccurate Coding

Accurate coding is vital for successful dental medical billing. One of the most common errors dentists make is using incorrect codes for dental procedures. Since dental procedures often fall under medical insurance coverage, it is essential to use appropriate Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes recognized by medical insurance companies. Failure to do so can result in claim denials, delays, or even loss of revenue. It’s crucial to stay updated with the latest coding guidelines and ensure proper documentation to support the codes used.

2. Insufficient Documentation

Insufficient documentation is another common pitfall in medical billing for dental procedures. Complete and comprehensive documentation is crucial for proper claim submission and reimbursement. Dentists should provide detailed treatment notes, including the diagnosis, procedure performed, and any supporting information. Inadequate documentation can lead to claim denials or delays, as it fails to demonstrate medical necessity and justify the treatment rendered. Implementing efficient documentation processes and training staff on proper record-keeping can help avoid this error.

3. Improper Coordination of Benefits

Coordination of benefits (COB) is essential when dealing with dual coverage patients or when dental procedures involve medical and dental insurance. Failing to coordinate benefits properly can result in incorrect billing, overpayments, or missed revenue opportunities. Dentists must understand the COB guidelines of the insurance companies involved and ensure accurate submission of claims. By coordinating benefits appropriately, dental practices can maximize reimbursements and minimize errors.

4. Failure to Verify Patient Eligibility

Verifying patient eligibility is crucial before rendering any dental procedure. Many billing errors occur when dentists fail to check patient eligibility, leading to denied claims and revenue loss. Dental practices should verify patients’ coverage, benefits, and policy restrictions before treatment begins. This step ensures that the patient’s insurance is active and covers the specific procedure. Regular communication with insurance providers and implementing an efficient eligibility verification process can prevent this error.

5. Neglecting Timely Filing

Timely filing is a critical aspect of medical billing service. Many insurance companies have strict deadlines for claim submission, and failing to meet these deadlines can result in claim denials. Dentists must be aware of the specific filing limits set by different insurance providers and adhere to them. Implementing a well-organized and efficient billing system, including timely submission of claims, can help avoid this error and ensure maximum reimbursement for dental procedures.


Medical billing for dental procedures is a complex process that requires attention to detail and adherence to proper guidelines. Avoiding common errors in medical billing, such as inaccurate coding, insufficient documentation, improper coordination of benefits, failure to verify patient eligibility, and neglecting timely filing, is crucial for the financial success of general dentists. By implementing best practices for medical billing services, staying updated with the latest coding and billing guidelines, and training staff effectively, dental practices can enhance their revenue streams and provide quality care to their patients.

How to Calculate Accounts Receivable Collection Period.

The Accounts receivable collection period refers to the amount of time it takes for a dental practice to collect payments owed by its patients and insurance providers. It can be used to make sure that your practice has enough revenue to meet its financial obligations, thus improving the proper working of your practice. It serves as an indicator of how well your practice handles its accounts receivable, thereby making it a crucial factor for practices that depend largely on their revenue or cash flow for its smooth functioning. A practice should always be able to maintain its accounts receivable collection period to the minimum if they want the practice to be successful and their revenue to be high. Remember, the lower the accounts receivable collection period, the faster the payment would be and the higher the revenue would be. Knowing how to calculate and analyze your collection period will ultimately help you increase the effectiveness of your accounts receivable management.

How can you calculate the accounts receivable collection process?

In order to calculate the average accounts receivable collection period, first, divide the company’s net credit sales for the year by 360 or 365 days. This gives you the average credit sales per day. Now divide the average balance in accounts receivable during the year with this result. 

Some of the processes involved in the calculation of the accounts receivable collection process are:

Gathering the data

Keep a tab on the data you need for calculating accurate account receivable collections. The various requirements for calculation need to be identified and collected without any errors or mistakes. The important data that needs to be collected include net credit sales, average accounts receivable balance, and accounts receivable turnover ratio. 

Calculating the collection period for accounts receivable

The formula for calculation needs to be clearly understood for an accurate accounts receivable collection period, and the data collected should be appropriately used in the formula. Once all the collected data is put into the equation, you can easily solve it to get the required result easier and faster.

Why should you calculate the accounts receivable collection period?

A practice can use its accounts receivable collection period to identify trends in its own insurance claim processing. It can be used to compare your practice’s revenue cycle with that of your competitors. So that you can identify your practices’ shortcomings and work towards improving them. Doing a proper calculation of the accounts receivable collection period can help your practice identify any mistakes in claim submission and take steps to prevent the same from happening again. This helps in reducing the number of claim denials and unpaid claims, thus improving the overall functioning of the practice. The main goal of your practice should always be to reduce the accounts receivable collection period to the least and get the payments from your patients and insurance providers as soon as possible without any delay so as to help your practice in its growth and development. But just identifying and analyzing the areas of improvement won’t help your practice. Instead, you need to take steps for improvement from the data calculated. Remember, the revenue flow of your practice depends highly on its accounts receivable collection period and knowing it would help your practice to take measures to collect the payment without any delay within the given time frame.

Role of AR management

It is the responsibility of a practice’s AR management to keep track of their AR collection period and to make sure that the payments are collected within the given time frame. Make sure you keep an eye on your practice’s accounts receivable collection period so as to monitor its performance and growth at every point without making any mistakes. It also helps your practice in implementing strict rules or policies for collecting timely payment from your patients without any difficulties by tracking trends that may show continued payment delays or unpaid claims by certain patients. 

How does it affect your practice

It’s important to understand that claims with accounts receivable collection periods of more than 60 or 90 days are at a high risk of going unpaid, which can greatly hit the overall revenue of the practice. Therefore, it becomes important to limit your accounts receivable collection period to below 50 days. If claims take more than 50 days to process, then strict measures need to be taken to collect the payments on time so to reduce unpaid claims and ensure that the functioning of the practice is not affected. 

Do not forget that as the revenue of the practice gets hit, the quality of facilities in your dental practice also gets affected. Complete payment of receivables translates to increased cash flow, leading to better quality of patient care. Have your accounts receivable collection period minimized to the lowest so as to prevent revenue leakage.

It can also help you determine the effectiveness of your RCM and work on the areas that need improvement. It shows how well your collection policies are working out, whether they are helping your practice or not, so that you can work accordingly. You can continuously monitor your accounts receivable collection period and compare it with your previous years to check the performance status of your practice for points of improvement.

Make sure you know the accounts receivable for all payers individually, so you can easily identify patients with high accounts receivable collection periods and take measures to get the payment faster. Practices often overlook the need for the proper calculation of accounts receivable among the other complex processes of RCM, without realizing that it is one of the most crucial and important steps in RCM, which can determine the success of a practice. Ignoring or paying less attention to the calculation of the AR collection period can harm your practice in many ways.


The Accounts receivable collection period can be a really powerful tool for measuring the success of your practice. Calculating our practice’s receivables  and all the other related tasks can be really stressful for your practice. Partnering with a dental RCM service provider can be the perfect solution as they guide you through the complex process of revenue cycle management so that you can concentrate on the more important needs of your practice, like patient care. They help you calculate the accounts receivable collection period and determine the growth of your practice without you having to worry about it in any way.