take a free smile assessment

Why ICD-10 Matters for Dental Issues?

ICD-10, short for the International Classification of Diseases, 10th edition, is a system used by healthcare providers to classify and code various medical conditions and diseases.

Properly using ICD-10 codes for dental problems ensures consistency in documentation, which is crucial for efficient healthcare management such as record keeping and insurance processing.

ICD-10 Codes for the Common Dental Problems

1. Dental Abscess

A dental abscess is a painful, localized infection that occurs in the tooth, gums or surrounding areas.

It can cause severe discomfort and may result from various factors, such as tooth decay, gum disease or a dental injury.

A dental abscess is a pocket of pus that forms within or around a tooth.

There are 2 primary types:

Understanding these distinctions is vital for accurate coding.

  1. Periapical abscess- involving the tooth’s root 
  2. Periodontal abscess- affecting the gum tissue

Periapical abscesses typically occur due to untreated tooth decay or dental trauma. They can lead to excruciating pain and discomfort, requiring immediate attention.

Periodontal abscess, on the other hand, affect the supporting structures around the teeth and can be triggered by gum disease. Both types need to be documented with precision in the ICD 10 system.

The treatment includes addressing the infection and relieving the associated pain. Mostly, dentists will perform a procedure to drain the abscess, removing the accumulated pus.

This can involve a root canal treatment for periapical abscess or drainage procedure for periodontal abscess. Antibiotics may also be prescribed. 

Related ICD-10 codes include:

  • K04.7 - Periapical abscess without sinus

  • K04.6 - Periapical abscess with sinus

  • K04.01 - Reversible pulpitis

  • K04.02 - Irreversible pulpitis

  • K04.1 - Necrosis of pulp

  • K04.2 - Pulp degeneration

2. Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a frequent type of gum disease that leads to inflammation, reddens, and irritates the gingiva, the area of gum that surrounds your teeth.

Gingivitis is frequently caused by poor oral hygiene. Bad dental hygiene practices can lead to the accumulation of plaque, a biofilm of bacteria that is naturally present on the surface of teeth and inflames the gums.

When plaque grows and penetrates below the gum line, it might become infected. Usually, there are no particular symptoms associated with this gum condition.

In more severe cases, there may be bleeding from the gums during brushing or flossing, bright red or purple gums, sore gums (that may be painful to the touch), soft and receding gums, and poor breath.

If treatment is not received, this illness may worsen and lead to gum disease, which can destroy tooth structure by infecting surrounding tissue and bone. 

Treatment for this gum disease in a timely and regular manner can help to reverse its symptoms and stop it from getting worse and leading to tooth loss and gum disease.

Surgery, antimicrobial drugs, and thorough teeth cleaning are available treatments for this illness.

Related ICD-10 codes include:

  • K05 Gingivitis and periodontal diseases

  • K05.0 Acute gingivitis

  • K05.00 Acute gingivitis, plaque induced

  • K05.01 Acute gingivitis, non-plaque induced

  • K05.1 Chronic gingivitis

  • K05.10 Chronic gingivitis, plaque induced

  • K05.11 Chronic gingivitis, non-plaque induced

3. Periodontitis

Periodontitis is a gum infection that  erodes the bone that supports your teeth and affects soft tissue.

The dental ailment, sometimes referred to as gum disease or periodontal disease, is brought on by inadequate brushing and flossing practices, which lead to the accumulation of plaque—a sticky layer of bacteria—around the teeth.

Gum irritation could occur from this, causing redness, swelling, and an increased tendency to bleed when brushing. 

Even in its advanced stages, gum disease can advance gradually without exhibiting any particular signs.

Swollen gums, pus between the teeth and gums, foul breath, bleeding gums, painful chewing, and a metallic taste in the mouth are a few of the most common symptoms.

The periodontal ligament and the supporting alveolar bones may be destroyed if the inflammation is not controlled or treated and spreads beneath the gum line and along the tooth roots.

If left untreated, periodontitis will eventually cause teeth to loosen and possibly fall out. Long-term infection prevention and the health of the teeth and gums can both be achieved by practicing good oral hygiene.

 ICD-10 codes for diagnosing periodontal disease include:

  • K05 Gingivitis and periodontal diseases

  • K05.2 Aggressive periodontitis

            - K05.20 Aggressive periodontitis, unspecified

  • K05.21 Aggressive periodontitis, localized

              - K05.211 Aggressive periodontitis, localized, slight

              - K05.212 Aggressive periodontitis, localized, moderate

              - K05.213 Aggressive periodontitis, localized, severe

      - K05.219 Aggressive periodontitis, localized, unspecified severity.

  • K05.22 Aggressive periodontitis, generalized

            - K05.221 Aggressive periodontitis, generalized, slight

            - K05.222 Aggressive periodontitis, generalized, moderate

            - K05.223 Aggressive periodontitis, generalized, severe

       - K05.229 Aggressive periodontitis, generalized, unspecified severity.

  • K05.3 Chronic periodontitis

            - K05.30 Chronic periodontitis, unspecified

  • K05.31 Chronic periodontitis, localized

        - K05.311 Chronic periodontitis, localized, slight

        - K05.312 Chronic periodontitis, localized, moderate

        - K05.313 Chronic periodontitis, localized, severe

        - K05.319 Chronic periodontitis, localized, unspecified severity.

  • K05.32 Chronic periodontitis, generalized

        - K05.321 Chronic periodontitis, generalized, slight

        - K05.322 Chronic periodontitis, generalized, moderate

        - K05.323 Chronic periodontitis, generalized, severe

     - K05.329 Chronic periodontitis, generalized, unspecified severity.

  • K05.4 Periodontitis

  • K05.5 Other periodontal diseases

  • K05.6 Periodontal disease, unspecified

4. Dental Caries

Dental caries, also known as cavities or tooth decay, is the irreversible loss of tooth enamel, the hard outer coating of teeth that eventually erodes into tiny holes.

Plaque is a particular type of sticky bacterium film that develops on teeth and is the source of the dental issue.

In case the problem is not treated, it may worsen and impact the teeth's inner layers, leading to toothache, infection, and eventual loss of teeth. 

The main reasons of the illness include frequently bad snacking habits, mouth plaque accumulation, tooth fractures or abscesses, and inadequate brushing.

Any age can be affected by cavities, but children and young people are more likely to experience it. In general, dental caries may not exhibit any particular symptoms or indicators in its early stages.

But as the decay deepens, you may experience further indications and symptoms, such as sensitivity to light, apparent pits or holes in your teeth, pain when you bite down, and brown, black, or white discoloration on any part of your tooth. 

Options for therapy include crowns, root canals, fillings, fluoride treatments, and tooth extractions.

ICD-10 codes for dental caries include:

  • K02 Dental caries

  • K02.3 Arrested dental caries

  • K02.5 Dental caries on pit and fissure surface

   - K02.51 Dental caries on pit and fissure surface, limited to enamel.

   - K02.52 Dental caries on pit and fissure surface, penetrating into dentin.

    - K02.53 Dental caries on pit and fissure surface, penetrating into pulp.

  • K02.6 Dental caries on smooth surface

        - K02.61 Dental caries on smooth surface, limited to enamel

      - K02.62 Dental caries on smooth surface, penetrating into dentin

        - K02.63 Dental caries on smooth surface, penetrating into pulp

  • K02.7 Dental root caries

  • K02.9 Dental caries, unspecified


Proper documentation not only facilitates efficient healthcare management but also ensures a smooth insurance claims process.

By recognizing the types of dental abscesses, knowing the relevant ICD-10 codes, and accurately diagnosing the condition, healthcare providers can offer the best care to patients while maintaining a well-organized record-keeping system.

Book a free appointment