Dental Billing

What is Dental Billing & Is It the Same as Medical Billing?

Medical and dental billing seem similar, but they are quite different processes. Understanding their differences is crucial to ensure you receive accurate service payments.

This post will explain medical and dental billing, their differences, and the benefits of using medical billing in dentistry.

What is Dental Billing?

Dental billing involves submitting claims to insurance companies or patients to receive payment for dental services. It involves recording and organizing dental procedures and sending out bills accurately and on time.

The critical steps in dental billing are:

  • Patient Registration: Collect and verify patient information, including insurance claims.
  • Treatment Documentation: Keeping detailed records of dental procedures, materials used, and essential notes.
  • Coding: It uses a set of codes called CDT to identify and report dental services and procedures.
  • Claim Submission: Send the dental claims to the appropriate insurance companies or patients for payment.
  • Payment Posting: Record payments in the patient’s account and follow up on unpaid balances to ensure accuracy.


Accurate dental billing is crucial in getting paid on time, following rules and regulations, and keeping patients happy.

What is Medical Billing?

Medical billing is when healthcare providers send bills to insurance companies, government programs, or patients to receive payment for services. It involves claim processing for services provided by doctors, hospitals, and clinics.

The critical steps in medical billing are:

  • Patient Registration: Collect and verify patient information, including insurance details.
  • Treatment Documentation: Keeping detailed records of the medical procedures performed, diagnoses, and any important notes.
  • Coding: It involves using CPT codes for procedures and ICD codes for diagnoses. These codes help organize and track medical information.
  • Submitting Claims: Sending medical bills to insurance companies, government programs, or patients for payment, following rules and regulations.
  • Payment Posting: Record payments in the patient’s account and follow up on unpaid balances to ensure accuracy.


The medical billing process has strict rules and processes for payment, which vary depending on the insurance provider or government program.

Related, Can Medical Billing Services Help Grow Your Practice?

Dental Billing vs. Medical Billing

Medical and dental billing are alike in some ways, like patient registration and payment recording, but they also have differences.

  • Dental billing uses CDT codes, while medical billing uses CPT and ICD codes. These coding systems are different and serve different purposes for documenting and billing services.
  • Dental and medical services are paid for varies greatly. Dental insurance plans often have coverage limits, deductibles, and copayment requirements that differ from medical insurance plans.
  • Dental sends dental claims to dental insurance or patients. Healthcare providers send medical claims to various payers, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies.
  • Medical billing follows strict rules like HIPAA and the False Claims Act to protect patient privacy and prevent fraud.
  • Dental billing is for oral health and dentistry. Medical billing covers surgeries, tests, and treatments for medical conditions.
Aspect Dental Billing Medical Billing
Coding System
Uses CDT codes
Uses CPT and ICD codes
Insurance Coverage
Often has coverage limits, deductibles, and copayment requirements distinct from medical insurance plans
Coverage and reimbursement may vary depending on payer (Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance)
Claim Submission
Sends claims to dental insurance or patients
Sends claims to various payers including Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies
Regulatory Compliance
Subject to specific regulations governing dental services and insurance billing
Follows strict rules such as HIPAA and False Claims Act to protect patient privacy and prevent fraud
Scope of Services
Primarily for oral health and dentistry
Encompasses surgeries, tests, and treatments for medical conditions

Is Dental Billing the Same as Medical Billing?

Medical and dental billing are alike, says LinkedIn. However, they differ in how they code, receive payment, adhere to regulations, and provide service coverage.

The impact of insurance coverage is a critical factor in understanding the distinction between dental and medical billing. Dental insurance covers less than medical insurance, which covers a broader range of healthcare services.

Medical insurance can cover some dental procedures. It is only necessary for medical reasons or related to a medical issue. Medical insurance may cover dental services in a hospital or oral surgery for trauma or congenital disabilities. It means that the healthcare provider can bill the insurance Company for the costs, and the insurance Company can pay for them through that coverage.

Related, Benefits of Using a Medical Billing Company

Advantages of Medical Billing in Dentistry

While dental billing remains the primary focus for most dental practices, incorporating medical billing practices can offer several advantages:

  • Dental offices can make more money by billing medical insurance for specific procedures. Medical insurance usually pays more and covers more services than dental insurance.
  • Integrating medical billing can help dental practices provide better care for patients with medical conditions that affect oral health. These conditions may include certain diseases or craniofacial anomalies.
  • Medical insurance plans may pay more for some procedures than dental insurance plans, which could help a practice make more money.
  • Dental offices can provide more treatments by using medical billing. It includes treatments usually covered by medical insurance, not just dental insurance.


Dentists must know how to use medical billing, follow HIPAA rules, and use medical coding standards. Exceptional knowledge and training are necessary when using medical billing in dentistry. Compliance with regulations like HIPAA and medical coding standards is also crucial.

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The Final Words

Medical and dental billing share similarities but differ in coding, payments, rules, and covered services. Dental and medical offices should understand these differences to bill accurately, increase costs, and comply with regulations.

For dental practices, incorporating medical billing practices can offer several advantages, including increased revenue cycle, improved patient care, higher payment rates, and expanded treatment options. It’s important to understand medical billing, which involves specialized knowledge, training, and following rules and guidelines.

Dental practices can improve their billing and care by understanding the differences between dental and medical billing. It helps them make better decisions, increase income, and offer personalized care to patients.

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