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Producer Price Indexes

Producer Price Index for Offices of Dentists ‐ NAICS 621210

In January 2011, in its ongoing effort to expand coverage of the service sector in the Producer Price Index (PPI), the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) introduced new price indexes for Offices of Dentists— North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 621210. Data for these indexes, which date back to June 2010, appear in table 5 of the PPI Detailed Report and are available online through the BLS Website.

This industry is part of NAICS sector 62, Health Care and Social Assistance, and is further classified in the subsector for Ambulatory Health Care Services, NAICS 621. Industries in this subsector provide health services directly or indirectly to ambulatory patients and usually do not provide inpatient services. Health practitioners in this subsector provide outpatient services, with the facilities and equipment usually not being the more significant part of the production process. NAICS 621210 includes establishments of health practitioners having the degree of D.M.D. (Doctor of Dental Medicine), D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery), or D.D.Sc. (Doctor of Dental Science) primarily engaged in the independent practice of general or specialized dentistry or dental surgery. These practitioners operate private or group practices in their own offices, centers, or clinics, or in the facilities of others, such as hospitals or HMO medical centers. They can provide either comprehensive preventive, cosmetic, or emergency care, or specialize in a single field of dentistry.

The service lines within NAICS 621210 for which indexes are available include:

The PPI also is introducing a wherever provided service index, titled Dental Care, in table 6 of the PPI Detailed Report and available online, under commodity code 511105.

To measure changes in prices for any of the PPIs listed above, BLS asks dental providers to report the reimbursement amount they receive per visit for a representative snapshot of dental service delivery as it occurred in the base period. Most every dental procedure is represented by a Current Dental Terminology (CDT) code, which is the main price-determining characteristic. These codes assist the respondent with monthly price updating, as the CDT codes and descriptions are unique and mutually exclusive. The reimbursements reported for any given dental service can be from any combination of payers involved in the transaction: patients, private insurance companies, and, more rarely, public payers. For survey purposes, PPI tracks the change in price for the hypothetical patient treatment represented by the set of services on the initial patient bill. An actual treatment bundle is selected from the dentist’s patient records. That exact bundle, in the form of a patient’s bill, is the collection of inputs that will be priced by the PPI program in the future. This is important, as dentistry may generally be categorized as a field where custom services are provided. As a result, comparing different patients with similar diagnoses from month to month is difficult or impossible. To avoid these difficult comparisons and to accomplish the goal of pricing a constant quality service, the PPI requests that an estimated price (i.e., expected reimbursement) be provided for the exact collection of services listed on the original patient bill.

Price quotations primary to NAICS 621210 are classified in one of three service lines, by CDT code. Dental visits and consultations include CDT codes for diagnostic and preventative procedures. Dental surgical intervention services include CDT codes for surgical periodontal services, maxillofacial prosthetics, implant services, oral and maxillofacial surgery and surgical endodontic services. Dental non-surgical intervention services include CDT codes for restorative dental services, non-surgical endodontic services, removable prosthodontics, fixed prosthodontics, and orthodontics. If the initial patient bill selected has CDT codes which fall into more than one service line, the price quotation is classified into the service line according to the plurality of reimbursement.

Dentists may change the services they provide at any time. They may update or change the equipment they are using or they may change the services administered. Quality adjustment will be performed when the total procedure changes due to the introduction of new technology. The coding for dental procedures may also change at any time. The CDT manual is published every two years when coding and procedural changes are incorporated, and the PPI will continue to research if producer cost data can be obtained for such changes.

For further information contact the PPI Section of Index Analysis and Public Information at or (202) 691-7705.


Last Modified Date: February 16, 2011