2022 ICD-10-CM Code K02.9

Dental caries, unspecified

Version 2021

Valid for Submission

ICD-10:K02.9
Short Description:Dental caries, unspecified
Long Description:Dental caries, unspecified

Code Classification

  • Diseases of the digestive system (K00–K93)
    • Diseases of oral cavity and salivary glands (K00-K14)
      • Dental caries (K02)

K02.9 is a billable diagnosis code used to specify a medical diagnosis of dental caries, unspecified. The code K02.9 is valid during the fiscal year 2022 from October 01, 2021 through September 30, 2022 for the submission of HIPAA-covered transactions.

The ICD-10-CM code K02.9 might also be used to specify conditions or terms like active dental caries, acute dentine dental caries, acute enamel dental caries, caries active, caries inactive , caries involving multiple surfaces of tooth, etc.

Unspecified diagnosis codes like K02.9 are acceptable when clinical information is unknown or not available about a particular condition. Although a more specific code is preferable, unspecified codes should be used when such codes most accurately reflect what is known about a patient's condition. Specific diagnosis codes should not be used if not supported by the patient's medical record.

Index to Diseases and Injuries

The Index to Diseases and Injuries is an alphabetical listing of medical terms, with each term mapped to one or more ICD-10 code(s). The following references for the code K02.9 are found in the index:

Approximate Synonyms

The following clinical terms are approximate synonyms or lay terms that might be used to identify the correct diagnosis code:

Clinical Information

Convert K02.9 to ICD-9 Code

The General Equivalency Mapping (GEM) crosswalk indicates an approximate mapping between the ICD-10 code K02.9 its ICD-9 equivalent. The approximate mapping means there is not an exact match between the ICD-10 code and the ICD-9 code and the mapped code is not a precise representation of the original code.

Information for Patients


Tooth Decay

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay is damage to a tooth's surface, or enamel. It happens when bacteria in your mouth make acids that attack the enamel. Tooth decay can lead to cavities (dental caries), which are holes in your teeth. If tooth decay is not treated, it can cause pain, infection, and even tooth loss.

What causes tooth decay?

Our mouths are full of bacteria. Some bacteria are helpful. But some can be harmful, including the ones that play a role in tooth decay. These bacteria combine with food to form a soft, sticky film called plaque. The bacteria in plaque use the sugar and starch in what you eat and drink to make acids. The acids begin to eat away at the minerals on your enamel. Over time, the plaque can harden into tartar. Besides damaging your teeth, plaque and tartar can also irritate your gums and cause gum disease.

You get fluoride from toothpaste, water, and other sources. This fluoride, along with your salvia, helps the enamel repair itself by replacing the minerals. Your teeth go through this natural process of losing minerals and regaining minerals all day long. But if you don't take care of your teeth and/or you eat and drink lots of sugary or starchy things, your enamel will keep losing minerals. This leads to tooth decay.

A white spot may appear where minerals have been lost. This is an early sign of tooth decay. You may be able to stop or reverse the decay at this point. Your enamel can still repair itself, if you take better care of your teeth and limit sugary/starchy foods and drinks.

But if the tooth decay process continues, more minerals are lost. Over time, the enamel is weakened and destroyed, forming a cavity. A cavity is a hole in your tooth. It is permanent damage that a dentist has to repair with a filling.

Who is at risk for tooth decay?

The main risk factors for tooth decay are not taking care of your teeth and having too many sugary or starchy foods and drinks.

Some people have a higher risk of tooth decay, including people who

What are the symptoms of tooth decay and cavities?

In early tooth decay, you usually don't have symptoms. As tooth decay gets worse, it can cause

How are tooth decay and cavities diagnosed?

Dentists usually find tooth decay and cavities by looking at your teeth and probing them with dental instruments. Your dentist will also ask if you have any symptoms. Sometimes you may need a dental x-ray.

What are the treatments for tooth decay and cavities?

There are several treatments for tooth decay and cavities. Which treatment you get depends on how bad the problem is:

Can tooth decay be prevented?

There are steps that you can take to prevent tooth decay:

NIH: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research


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Code History

  • FY 2021 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2020 through 9/30/2021
  • FY 2020 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2019 through 9/30/2020
  • FY 2019 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2018 through 9/30/2019
  • FY 2018 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2017 through 9/30/2018
  • FY 2017 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2016 through 9/30/2017
  • FY 2016 - New Code, effective from 10/1/2015 through 9/30/2016 (First year ICD-10-CM implemented into the HIPAA code set)