Insurance claim trends in pediatric pulpal therapy

By Alex Dagostino, associate editor

November 17, 2022 -- The percentage of children undergoing pulpotomies and pulpectomies decreased from 2010 to 2020, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association. The decline may indicate teaching changes in pulpal therapy guidelines.

The study identified differences in usage trends for two specific pulpal therapy treatments in pediatric patients from January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2020. Data was collected through an online dental data warehouse. Insurance data claims for children between the ages of 2 and 12 undergoing a pulpotomy or a pulpectomy performed by a general dentist (GD) or a pediatric dentist (PD) were recorded (JADA, October 27, 2022).

The researchers, led by Dr. Lauren White of Indiana University, observed a decline in pulpotomy and pulpectomy procedures from 2010 to 2020 among both GDs and PDs. However, PDs were more likely to perform pulpotomies than GDs, and PDs were less likely to perform pulpectomies than GDs.

Younger patients were more likely to undergo pulpotomy treatment by both GDs and PDs. With increasing patient age, PDs were more likely to perform a pulpectomy, while GDs were less likely to perform a pulpectomy.

When analyzing data according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry national membership districts, the trends remained consistent.

"These changes in pulpal therapy practice might indicate a teaching change in pulpal therapy guidelines, suggesting that less invasive pulpal therapy can be used rather than pulpotomies or pulpectomies," White and colleagues concluded.

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