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Pet Dental Insurance Explained

Faran Ahmed
Faran Ahmed
Faran is a financial analyst with a knack for financial content writing. Besides pet insurance, he has written content for stock recommendations, crowdfunding platforms, and fintech startups. Faran is passionate about helping young entrepreneurs make better financial decisions by breaking down complex financial concepts and creating easy-to-understand content.

DollarGeek's goal is to help you make the best financial decisions. To help us do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations or ratings.

Table of Contents

Just like humans, pets also need dental hygiene for a healthy life. Improper care may lead to issues such as infected gums, periodontal disease and other problems that might require tooth removal or other costly treatments like root canals.

Key Takeaways

  • Dental insurance covers common dental illnesses and accidents like periodontal disease, damaged teeth and gingivitis.
  • Most companies only cover dental accident treatments and not dental illness treatments.
  • Teeth cleaning, scaling, reconstruction and cosmetic dentistry services like crown amputations and fillings are not reimbursed under most plans.
  • Periodontal disease is one of the most common diseases. Most pets show early signs of the disease by the age of 3.
  • Preventive care and pet wellness plans can help you ensure better dental hygiene for your pet.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Dental Treatments?

Good dental health is crucial for keeping your pets happy and healthy. That’s why many pet insurance companies offer coverage for dental treatments. However, like other pet medical insurance, dental insurance plans vary depending on multiple factors.

Some insurers offer dental insurance as part of their standard insurance plans, while others offer it as an add-on to your pet insurance policy.

For instance, Lemonade doesn’t cover dental illnesses under its basic plan. If you want to add dental illness treatment, you’ll have to purchase their dental illness add-on.

Although it’s an optional add-on, it’s still worth having. That’s because it can help you cover treatments, diagnostics, and medication for curing a variety of dental illnesses.

And because dental illness treatments usually come at a high price, it’s crucial to know your coverage options before taking your pet to the vet.

We researched and analyzed insurance plans of different providers to help you choose the most suitable one, depending on your pet’s needs and budget.

  • Pets Best
  • Figo
  • Healthy Paws
  • Petplan
  • Embrace
  • Lemonade
  • Trupanion
  • Fetch
  • Spot
  • Nationwide

What Does Pet Dental Insurance Cover?

Pet dental insurance plans vary between different insurance providers. Some offer more comprehensive policies, while others have very basic coverage.

Mainly, there are two different types of coverage, including ‘coverage for dental illnesses’ and ‘coverage for dental accidents’. It’s important to know what’s covered (in your policy) and what isn’t, so you can provide your pet with the best care without any nuisance.

Insurance plans with dental illness coverage offer treatment for common diseases like gingivitis and stomatitis. On the other side, plans covering dental accidents offer treatments for injuries such as extraction of broken, chipped, or fractured teeth.

Common dental treatments include:

  • Damaged teeth
  • Tooth extraction
  • Stomatitis disease
  • Gingivitis disease
  • Periodontal disease

Some insurers, including Pets Best and Embrace Pet Insurance, cover both dental illnesses and accidents. That means you can get your pet treated (and reimbursed for the costs) for dental issues, whether they’re caused by a dental illness or an accident.

Here’s a list of insurance providers that cover both dental illnesses and accidents:

  • Embrace
  • Pets Best
  • Petplan
  • Trupanion
  • ManyPets
  • Healthy Paws

These companies will offer you a reimbursement for treating dental issues, whether they’re caused by an accident or a common dental illness. However, other companies provide coverage for dental accidents only.

What isn’t Covered by Pet Dental Insurance?

Most dental insurance plans only cover the most common dental issues, including but not limited to, gingivitis, stomatitis, fractured teeth and periodontal disease.

Nevertheless, there are a few exclusions that you need to be aware. These problems or dental issues are not covered under most pet insurance plans. Moreover, routine dental care such as teeth cleaning, scaling and plaque removal is usually not covered.

  • Teeth-cleaning procedures such as tartar removal, polishing, and scaling are not covered.
  • Extraction or reconstruction of damaged teeth caused by a pre-existing condition won’t be covered.
  • Medications, tools and treats related to routine oral hygiene such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental chews are not covered.
  • Crown amputations, fillings, dental implants and other cosmetic dentistry services are not covered by most insurance plans.
  • Preventive care or routine care procedures are not covered unless you buy a pet wellness plan.
  • Dental issues caused by congenital conditions (inherited conditions) are not covered.
  • Extraction of retained deciduous teeth (that do not exfoliate when the new teeth erupt) is not covered by most insurance plans.

Some insurance companies have certain conditions that pet owners should follow to maintain their policies. For instance, some insurance providers will ask you to bring your pet for annual dental checkups. You’ll have to pay for these checkups out of pocket to maintain your policy.

Another thing to consider is the minimum waiting period for your policy. It’s the time you’ll have to wait before your provider offers coverage for your pet’s dental needs.

Most insurers have waiting periods between 15 days to a couple of weeks. Lemonade requires you to wait 14 days before they offer coverage for dental illnesses.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Routine Dental Care?

As mentioned before, dental care and dental treatments are two different things. Most insurers cover dental illnesses and dental accidents and reimburse for the cost of treating these problems. But they don’t offer coverage for routine or preventive dental care.

Dental emergencies can happen anytime. You never know when your canine friend will need a dental checkup or treatment. That’s where preventive care or routine dental care comes into play. It helps you take your pet to the vet for regular checkups and teeth cleaning.

According to American Veterinary Medical Association, a vet should check your pet’s gums and teeth at least once every year.

Luckily, a few insurers offer something called pet wellness plans. These plans cover the cost of regular dental care and cleaning. Some companies offer these plans as a stand-alone, while others offer them as an add-on in their standard insurance plans.

Wellness plans help you maintain your dog’s or cat’s oral hygiene by reimbursing you for regular examinations and dental cleaning. If you have a pet wellness plan along with pet insurance policy, you can be reimbursed for your pet’s regular dental care and routine checkups.

Wellness plans not only result in better oral hygiene, but also help you avoid any or all unexpected dental complications that are often costly to treat.

Cost of Common Dental Issues

Dental treatments for pets can be as expensive as for humans. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, knowing the cost of common dental issues is essential. Doing your homework in advance helps offer outstanding care to your pet and plan your budget efficiently.

The most common dental services include treatment of periodontal disease, tooth extraction and dental cleaning. According to C&F Insurance Agency, the average claim cost for periodontal disease in dogs was $1942 based on the claims’ data from 2017 to 2020.

On the other hand, the average claim cost for treating periodontal disease in cats was $768 per the data received from Pets Best.

Usually, the tooth extraction cost in cats ranges between $300 to $1500 depending on the complication of the issue. This cost is inclusive of anesthesia, x-rays, medication, hospitalization and other supplies. For dogs, the extraction cost ranges between $15 to $35 per tooth.

Embrace estimates the average cost of root canals (in dogs and cats) ranges between $1500 and $3000. However, sometimes root canals on a large canine can cost up to $6000.

Similar to the cost of other treatments, the cost of dental treatments varies based on your location, your dog’s age and the amount of dental work needed. According to Spruce Pets, the average cost of dental cleaning in dogs ranges between $300 to $700.

How to Find Pet Dental Insurance?

The best way to find suitable dental insurance for your pet is to go through plans (of different providers) in detail and explore what’s covered and what’s not.

As a responsible pet owner, you want excellent care for your pet. But you also need to keep your budget in check. That’s why having an affordable dental insurance plan with some coverage for routine dental care is your best bet.

Additionally, you can explore options like preventive care, pet wellness plans, financing options like CareCredit and creating a savings account to pay for vet bills.

Preventive Care

According to American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA), 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show some symptoms of periodontal disease by the age of 3 years. Therefore, preventive care practices help avoid dental complications and other health concerns as your pet ages.

Pet Wellness Plan

A pet wellness plan is handy when your pet needs regular dental checkups or routine examinations. Although your insurance cost will go up, adding a wellness plan can save your pet from potential dental issues that might cost you thousands of dollars.

Financing Partner

Financing options like CareCredit can help you pay for your dog’s or cat’s expensive treatments in case they experience an emergency. They offer short-term (no-interest) loans ranging between 6 months to 2 years to help pet parents cover their vet bills up to $200.

However, they have certain conditions you need to fulfill.

  • Your insurance provider should be a part of the CreditCare network.
  • You have to pay off the balance before the end of your promotional period.
  • Failing to pay off the balance will result in a 26.99% interest rate on your loan.

The interest rate is quite high, but it shouldn’t bother you as long as you’re paying off your balances in time. Other financing options include Lending USA and United Consumer Financial Services.

Savings Account for Pets

Most pet owners lack at properly planning and manage their veterinary expenses. Therefore, setting aside a savings account to pay vet bills is a fantastic idea. You can open a separate savings account and put money into it, so you can manage your vet bills more efficiently.

There are some credit unions and banks that offer ‘pet savings accounts’. These are specifically created to help you save money on your dog’s or cat’s veterinary bills. These accounts often come with other benefits, such as discounted insurance rates and lower interest rates.

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