👉 Before you dive into the article, be sure to familiarize yourself with the terms and verbiage used regularly when talking about pet insurance in our pet insurance glossary.
- Oral disease is common among cats and dogs — Many pets show signs of oral disease by the time they’re three years old.
- Dental insurance usually isn’t sold separately from traditional pet insurance — While humans have separate dental and medical plans, pet dental care is commonly included as a feature of a traditional insurance plan.
- Cleanings often aren’t covered by dental insurance — Most insurance companies consider routine teeth cleanings as preventative and don’t cover them.
When considering veterinary costs for our pets, we usually think of routine checkups, vaccinations, and emergencies. But, taking care of your pet’s teeth is just as important. Dental disease — also known as periodontal or gum disease — is one of the most common illnesses in dogs and cats. It can also be expensive without the right pet insurance plan, so it helps to be prepared.
How pet dental insurance works
Unlike human health care, pet dental insurance usually isn’t sold separately. It’s often included as a feature within traditional pet insurance plans. In these cases, owners pay a monthly fee toward their annual premium. They are then reimbursed for a certain percentage of out-of-pocket vet costs once they’ve met their deductible.
Not all pet insurance plans cover the cost of dental treatments, nor are all treatments covered. So, it’s important to carefully compare the details of each policy to ensure you find the right solution.
What is covered by pet dental insurance?
Most pet dental plans cover procedures for dental injuries. These include broken, chipped, and fractured teeth, tooth extractions, root canals and crowns, gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis, and stomatitis.
Routine teeth cleanings don’t typically qualify for coverage under traditional insurance plans. This is due to it being considered preventative care. However, many insurance providers offer supplemental wellness plans that can reimburse you for cat or dog dental cleaning costs.
How to find pet insurance that covers dental
While pet dental insurance isn’t a typical offering, you can look for pet insurance plans that cover dental care via comprehensive and routine/preventative care coverage.
Comprehensive plans cover dental accidents and illnesses, minus any particular exclusions outlined in the plan. Note that for dental coverage to apply, your pet may need to meet certain qualifications before enrollment, and also keep up with regular teeth cleanings.
Routine and preventive care plans provide coverage for dental cleanings and checkups to help prevent disease and catch issues early. These are usually less common than comprehensive plans.
Pet insurance companies that cover dental
Several trustworthy pet insurance companies offer solid dental coverage options. Make sure to compare the cost and coverage of each one to determine which one’s best for your pet.
- ASPCA Pet Health Insurance. ASPCA’s Complete Coverage Plan offers up to 90% cashback on expenses related to dental accidents and illnesses. But, cleanings are only covered under the company’s Preventative Coverage plan, which costs an extra $9.95 a month.
- Embrace Pet Insurance. Embrace’s Dental Illness Coverage covers treatments related to illnesses affecting the teeth and gums, while their Accident and Illness Coverage covers dental trauma.
- Pumpkin Pet Insurance. Pumpkin plans cover treatment for dental illnesses, including exams, X-rays, surgery, and prescription medication. They also cover tooth extractions for dental injuries, but they don’t cover annual dental cleanings and certain cosmetic services.
- Healthy Paws Pet Insurance. Healthy Paws doesn’t cover dental health care unless the injury to your pet’s teeth is caused by an accident, in which case they do cover extraction and/or reconstruction.
- Pet’s Best Pet Insurance. BestBenefit plans include coverage for periodontal disease, but only if your pet is free from dental disease at the time of enrollment and a vet confirms they’ve been given a cleaning in the last 13 months.
Reasons to consider pet dental insurance
Dental emergencies are all too common in pets. About 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by the time they’re three years old. If your pet doesn’t have good oral hygiene, they can develop bad breath, tooth infection, tooth loss, and even malnutrition.
Many owners choose to defer the cost of routine dental cleanings and allow problems like these to get worse over time. This often ends up in more expensive treatments down the road. Since some dental treatments cost well over $1,000, it’s a good idea to consider getting dental coverage now as part of your pet insurance plan.
Preventing pet dental emergencies
It’s impossible to prevent your pet from ever having a dental emergency. But, there are some easy ways you can help them maintain good dental health.
- Routine teeth cleanings. Depending on your pet’s dental health, your vet may recommend a professional dental cleaning anywhere from once every six months to once every two years.
- Water additives. Dog water additives go into your pet’s water bowl and work like mouthwash to clean their breath and reduce tartar buildup.
- Dental chews. Rawhide and dental chews help promote good dental health in pets and are approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.
- Regular brushing. Like with humans, daily tooth brushing is beneficial to both dogs and cats. It might take a little getting used to at first, but it goes a long way towards keeping periodontal disease at bay.
🚨 Never, ever use human toothpaste when brushing your pet’s teeth.
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Frequently asked questions
How often does a dog need its teeth cleaned?
According to most veterinarians, your dog should have their teeth cleaned about once a year.
Do vets treat teeth?
Some vets specialize in dentistry more than others. But in general, all veterinarians receive training in dentistry and can treat basic conditions.
What is usually covered under pet insurance?
Coverage offered by each pet insurance plan differs. Most plans cover unexpected injuries, accidents, and illnesses. Some also cover surgery, medication, tests, diagnostics, emergency care, and exam fees.