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Subject: Deep Sedation, General Anesthesia and IV Sedation for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Dental Services
Reviewed: May 3, 2023
This Clinical Policy Bulletin expresses Aetna's determination of 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 this 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 Aetna’s opinion 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, which are excluded and which are subject to dollar caps or other limits. Members and their providers will need to refer to the member's benefits plan to determine if any exclusions or other benefit limitations apply to this service or supply.
The conclusion that a particular service or supply is medically necessary does not constitute a representation or warranty that this service or supply is covered (for example, will be paid for by Aetna) for a particular member. The member's benefit plan determines coverage. Some plans exclude coverage for services or supplies that Aetna considers 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.
Note: Aetna covers medically necessary general anesthesia or IV sedation for oromaxillofacial surgery (OMS) and dental-type services that are covered under the medical plan. Aetna also covers general anesthesia or IV sedation in conjunction with dental or OMS services that are excluded under the medical plan when the criteria below are met.
Aetna considers general anesthesia or IV sedation medically necessary for dental or OMS services if any of the following criteria is met:
- The member is a child, up to 6 years old, with a dental condition (such as baby bottle syndrome) that requires repairs of significant complexity (for example, multiple amalgam and/or resin-based composite restorations, pulpal therapy, extractions or any combinations of these noted or other dental procedures)
- Members exhibiting physical, intellectual, or medically compromising conditions for which dental treatment under local anesthesia, with or without additional adjunctive techniques and modalities, cannot be expected to provide a successful result and which, under anesthesia, can be expected to produce a superior result. Conditions include but are not limited to mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, cardiac problems and hyperactivity (verified by appropriate medical documentation)
- Extremely uncooperative, fearful, unmanageable, anxious, or uncommunicative members with dental needs of such magnitude that treatment should not be postponed or deferred and for whom lack of treatment can be expected to result in dental or oral pain, infection, loss of teeth, or other increased oral or dental morbidity
- Members for whom local anesthesia is ineffective (for reasons such as acute infection, anatomic variations or allergy)
- Members who have sustained extensive oral-facial and/or dental trauma, for which treatment under local anesthesia would be ineffective or compromised
Note: In general, coverage of medically necessary anesthesia services or IV sedation is available only in connection with underlying services that are covered under the benefits plan. Please check your benefits plan to determine whether services are covered. Note that most Aetna plans do not cover cosmetic surgery.
According to guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the indications for deep sedation and general anesthesia in pediatric dental patients include:
- Patients with certain physical, mental or medically compromising conditions
- Patients with dental restorative or surgical needs for whom local anesthesia is ineffective
- The extremely uncooperative, fearful, anxious or physically resistant child or adolescent with substantial dental needs and no expectation that the behavior will improve soon
- Patients who have sustained extensive orofacial or dental trauma
- Patients with dental needs who otherwise would not receive comprehensive dental care
D9222 — deep sedation/general anesthesia - first 15 minutes
D9223 — deep sedation/general anesthesia – each subsequent 15 minutes
D9239 — intravenous moderate (conscious) sedation/analgesia - first 15 minutes
D9243 — intravenous moderate (conscious) sedation/analgesia – each subsequent 15 minutes
See Medical Clinical Policy Bulletin:
General Anesthesia and IV Sedation for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Dental Services
March 22, 2023: This CPB has been reviewed and maintained.
Original Policy: January 31, 1999
Updated: January 09, 2009; February 22, 2010; May 23, 2011; September 10, 2012; November 5, 2013; December 8, 2014; February 17, 2016; November 13, 2017; February 19, 2020; April 5, 2021; May 4, 2022; May 3, 2023
Revision Dates: September 24, 2003; September 13, 2004; August 10, 2007
The above policy is based on the following references:
American Dental Association. CDT 2023 Dental Procedure Codes.
American Dental Association. Guidelines for the use of sedation and general anesthesia by dentists (PDF). Adopted by the American Dental Association House of Delegates October 2016. Accessed May 3, 2023.
Parameters of Care: AAOMS Clinical Practice Guidelines for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (AAOMS ParCare) Sixth Edition 2017.
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.
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.