Are you Treating & Billing Medical Patients Tooth Infections

July 16th, 2019 - Christine Taxin
Categories:   Dental   Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery  

A tooth infection, or an abscessed tooth, generally occurs as a result of tooth decay and poor oral hygiene. However, it can also develop due to previous dental work or traumatic injury.  When an infection occurs, it causes a pocket of pus to form in the mouth as a result of an overgrowth of bacteria. This infection often causes swelling, pain, and sensitivity in the area. Without treatment, the infection may spread to other areas of the jaw or even the brain.

Dental decay and cavities are very common. As one article notes, up to 91% of adults ages 20–64 have cavities. Also, around 27% of people in the same age group have untreated tooth decay. Treating tooth decay early is important to prevent complications such as tooth infections.
Anyone who experiences a tooth infection should see a dentist right away to prevent the infection from spreading.

One of the first things a dentist will likely recommend is an antibiotic to kill the infection. Some antibiotics work better than others for tooth infections, and there may also be some over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications to help with the symptoms.

When to use antibiotics for a tooth infection

Dentists will only recommend antibiotics for tooth infections if absolutely necessary.
Dentists will typically only recommend antibiotics in dentistry for tooth infections. However, not all infected teeth require antibiotics.  In some cases, a dentist may simply be able to drain the infected area, remove the infected tooth, or perform a root canal to fix the issue.  They tend to avoid recommending antibiotics unless they are absolutely necessary, such as when the infection is severe or spreading, or if a person has a weakened immune system.

How long do they take to work?

A person should complete the full round of antibiotics.  How long each antibiotic takes to work varies depending on many factors, such as the severity of the infection and how effectively the drug eliminates the infectious bacteria.  It is important for people to complete a full round of antibiotics, taking all of the prescribed medication exactly how the dentist says to take it. Although a person may begin to notice their symptoms go away after a couple of doses, completing the full round of antibiotics helps prevent the infection from coming back or getting stronger.
As the International Dental Journal study notes, the majority of acute infections resolve in 3–7 days.

Side effects

Although antibiotics can help clear up an infection to prepare a person for dental work, these drugs do have some possible side effects.  The side effects can vary with each type of drug. It is important to discuss any possible side effects from taking a drug with a doctor before moving forward with that particular treatment.

Other tooth infection treatments

Antibiotics may help clear the active infection, but the tooth will need work to keep the infection at bay.  This typically means undergoing one or more procedures in the area, such as:

• draining the abscess
• filling in any cavities
• performing a root canal
• extracting the tooth

Antibiotic treatment for a tooth infection is just one part of the solution. In reality, most tooth infections require work on the actual tooth itself to clear up completely. If you are not going through the tooth and performing a draining of the abscess or extracting tooth with an infection you should bill medical.  What you are truly providing is the clearing of the infection that can spread throug the body. Visit Christine Taxin's website at www.dentalmedicalbilling.com and learn how to bill for services that should be paid as a medical necessity.

Summary

Although antibiotics may help clear up a tooth infection, they are only one part of the solution. Most tooth infections require a dental procedure, such as a root canal or tooth extraction, to completely clear up.  Prompt treatment is important to keep the infection from spreading. Some helpful home remedies may help keep swelling down or ease pain while taking antibiotics and preparing for the dental procedure.

###

Questions, comments?

If you have questions or comments about this article please contact us.  Comments that provide additional related information may be added here by our Editors.


Latest articles:  (any category)

Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare - A Medical Coder's Perspective
December 26th, 2023 - Aimee Wilcox
We constantly hear how AI is creeping into every aspect of healthcare but what does that mean for medical coders and how can we better understand the language used in the codeset? Will AI take my place or will I learn with it and become an integral part of the process that uses AI to enhance my abilities? 
Specialization: Your Advantage as a Medical Coding Contractor
December 22nd, 2023 - Find-A-Code
Medical coding contractors offer a valuable service to healthcare providers who would rather outsource coding and billing rather than handling things in-house. Some contractors are better than others, but there is one thing they all have in common: the need to present some sort of value proposition in order to land new clients. As a contractor, your value proposition is the advantage you offer. And that advantage is specialization.
Changes to COVID-19 Vaccines Strike Again
December 12th, 2023 - Aimee Wilcox
According to the FDA, CDC, and other alphabet soup entities, the old COVID-19 vaccines are no longer able to treat the variants experienced today so new vaccines have been given the emergency use authorization to take the place of the old vaccines. No sooner was the updated 2024 CPT codebook published when 50 of the codes in it were deleted, some of which were being newly added for 2024.
Updated ICD-10-CM Codes for Appendicitis
November 14th, 2023 - Aimee Wilcox
With approximately 250,000 cases of acute appendicitis diagnosed annually in the United States, coding updates were made to ensure high-specificity coding could be achieved when reporting these diagnoses. While appendicitis almost equally affects both men and women, the type of appendicitis varies, as dose the risk of infection, sepsis, and perforation.
COVID Vaccine Coding Changes as of November 1, 2023
October 26th, 2023 - Wyn Staheli
COVID vaccine changes due to the end of the PHE as of November 1, 2023 are addressed in this article.
Medicare Guidance Changes for E/M Services
October 11th, 2023 - Wyn Staheli
2023 brought quite a few changes to Evaluation and management (E/M) services. The significant revisions as noted in the CPT codebook were welcome changes to bring other E/M services more in line with the changes that took place with Office or Other Outpatient Services a few years ago. As part of CMS’ Medicare Learning Network, the “Evaluation and Management Services Guide” publication was finally updated as of August 2023 to include the changes that took place in 2023. If you take a look at the new publication (see references below),....
Can We Score Interpretation of an EKG Towards E/M Medical Decision Making?
October 10th, 2023 - Aimee Wilcox
When EKGs are performed in the facility setting or even in the physician's office, what are the requirements for reporting the service and who gets credit for scoring data points for Evaluation and Management (E/M) medical decision making (MDM)? Let's take a look at a few coding scenarios related to EKG services to get a better understanding of why this can be problematic.



Home About Terms Privacy

innoviHealth® - 62 E 300 North, Spanish Fork, UT 84660 - Phone 801-770-4203 (9-5 Mountain)

Copyright © 2000-2024 innoviHealth Systems®, Inc. - CPT® copyright American Medical Association