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Soft tissue graft procedures (007)

Number: 007


Subject: Soft tissue graft procedures 


Reviewed: August 16, 2023


Important note


This Clinical Policy Bulletin determines whether certain services or supplies are medically necessary, experimental, and investigational, or cosmetic. Aetna® has reached these conclusions based upon a review of currently available clinical information (including clinical outcome studies in the peer-reviewed published medical literature, regulatory status of the technology, evidence -based guidelines of public health and health research agencies, evidence-based guidelines and positions of leading national health professional organizations, views of physicians practicing in relevant clinical areas, and other relevant factors).


Aetna makes no representations and accepts no liability with respect to the content of any external information cited or relied upon in the Bulletin.  The discussion, analysis, conclusions, and positions reflected in this Bulletin, including any reference to a specific provider, product, process or service by name, trademark, manufacturer, constitute an opinion by Aetna and are made without any intent to defame.


Aetna expressly reserves the right to revise these conclusions as clinical information changes, and welcomes further relevant information including correction of any factual error. CPBs include references to standard HIPAA compliant code sets to assist with search functions and to facilitate billing and payment for covered services. New and revised codes are added to the CPBs as they are updated. When billing, you must use the most appropriate code as of the effective date of the submission. Unlisted, unspecified and nonspecific codes should be avoided. 


Each benefits plan defines which services are covered, excluded and subject to dollar caps or other limits. Members and their dentists will need to consult the member's benefits plan to determine if any exclusions or other benefits limitations apply to this service or supply. 


The conclusion that a particular service or supply is medically necessary does not guarantee that this service or supply is covered (that is, will be paid for by Aetna) for a particular member. The member's benefits plan determines coverage. Some plans exclude coverage for services or supplies that we consider medically necessary. If there is a discrepancy between this policy and a member's plan of benefits, the benefits plan will govern. In addition, coverage may be mandated by applicable legal requirements of a state, the federal government or CMS for Medicare and Medicaid members.


Visit the CMS coverage database




Aetna considers these surgical procedures to be dental-in-nature (DIN) oral surgery. Coverage may be available for DIN oral surgery procedures under either medical or dental plans.




Soft tissue grafts, including pedicle grafts, free gingival grafts, subepithelial connective tissue grafts and combination procedures, are surgical procedures designed to increase the zone of keratinized tissue around the tooth root or implant, deepen the vestibule or eliminate prominent frenum involvements. These procedures are performed to stop progressive recession and/or to provide gingival coverage over sensitive root surfaces.


Soft tissue defects include, but are not limited to, dehiscences, fenestrations and inadequate gingival margins. Defects can occur in areas with minimal pocket depth and are generally localized to either the facial or lingual tooth surfaces. Typically, there is very little or no interproximal bone loss associated with these defects, and the defects are usually restricted to the same vestibular surfaces.


Basic pocket depth measurements cannot adequately demonstrate facial or lingual soft tissue loss and have minimal diagnostic value in documenting this pathosis. A chart or narrative containing mucogingival data including millimeters of recession and millimeters of attached gingiva and/or keratinized tissue is required for each tooth/site proposed to receive a soft tissue graft. Radiographs are also required to evaluate existing bone levels and prognosis. Preoperative photos are recommended, if available.




D4270 – Pedicle soft tissue graft procedure
D4273 – autogenous connective tissue graft procedure (including donor and recipient surgical sites) first tooth, implant or edentulous tooth position
D4275 – non-autogenous connective tissue graft (including recipient site and donor material) first tooth, implant, or edentulous tooth position in graft
D4276 – Combined connective tissue and double pedicle graft, per tooth
D4277 – Free soft tissue graft procedure (including recipient and donor surgical sites) first tooth, implant, or edentulous tooth position in graft
D4278 – Free soft tissue graft procedure (including recipient and donor surgical sites) each additional contiguous tooth, implant, or edentulous tooth position in same graft site
D4383 – Autogenous connective tissue graft procedure (including donor and recipient surgical sites) – each additional contiguous tooth, implant or edentulous tooth position in same graft site
D4285 – Non-autogenous connective tissue graft procedure (including recipient surgical site and donor material) – each additional contiguous tooth, implant or edentulous tooth position in same graft site


Revision dates


Original policy: April 12, 2005
Updated: September 5, 2007; February 28, 2011; July 12, 2012; January 14, 2013; March 13, 2014; March 7, 2016; March 15, 2017; April 26, 2018; April 29, 2019; May 6, 2020; October 28, 2021; October 12, 2022; August 16, 2023
Revised: March 15, 2006; December 29, 2008; December 21, 2009


The above policy is based on the following references:


American Dental Association. CDT 2023 Dental Procedure Codes.

Annals of Periodontology. 1996 World Workshop in Periodontics. 1996; 1(1).

American Academy of Periodontology. Insurance policy statement: soft tissue grafting.  November 2002.

 Richardson CR, Allen EP, Chambrone L, Langer B, McGiure MK, Aabalegui I, Zadeh HH, Tatakis DN. Periodontal soft tissue root coverage procedures: practical applications from the AAP regeneration workshop. Clin Adv Periodontics 2015;5:2-10. Accessed October 12, 2022.


Copyright 2023 American Dental Association. All rights reserved.


Property of Aetna. All rights reserved. Dental Clinical Policy Bulletins are developed by Aetna to assist in administering plan benefits and constitute neither offers of coverage nor medical/dental advice. This Dental Clinical Policy Bulletin contains only a partial, general description of plan or program benefits and does not constitute a contract. Aetna does not provide health care services and, therefore, cannot guarantee any results or outcomes. Participating health care professionals are independent contractors in private practice and are neither employees nor agents of Aetna or its affiliates. Treating health care professionals are solely responsible for medical/dental advice and treatment of members. This Clinical Policy Bulletin may be updated and, therefore, is subject to change.

Legal notices

Aetna is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Aetna group of companies, including Aetna Life Insurance Company and its affiliates (Aetna).

Health benefits and health insurance plans contain exclusions and limitations.

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