Pet Dental Insurance Explained

Dalmatian chewing on a toy

Most pet insurance policies include dental insurance, but not all of them include coverage for illness as opposed to accident. It depends on the insurer.

Takeaway Points

  • Most pet insurance policies cover dental
  • Dental coverage is split between accident coverage and illness coverage
  • Many insurers cover accidents but not illness
  • Cleaning and extraction costs can vary
  • Some procedures can be very expensive
  • Supplemental insurance and grants are available to cover the cost

Does Pet Insurance Cover Dental?

Typically, pet insurance packages include some kind of dental coverage. However, different policies offer different types of coverage. Let’s talk about what options are available, and how you can keep your costs to a minimum.

What Does Pet Dental Insurance Cover?

Pet dental insurance falls into two categories: accidents and illnesses. 

Accident coverage covers teeth that were broken, lost, or chipped due to a mishap. Treatment could include getting a crown or having a tooth removed, depending on the tooth and the policy.

Illness coverage covers periodontitis, gingivitis, and other diseases of the mouth and teeth. Treatments can include root canals, tooth extractions, or endodontic treatments.

Before you sign up for a pet insurance policy, it’s important to know what types of coverage you’re getting. Here’s a quick list of insurers that provide coverage for both accidents and illness:

  • Embrace
  • Healthy Paws
  • Nationwide Whole Pet with Wellness
  • Pets Best
  • Prudent Pet
  • Pumpkin
  • Spot
  • Trupanion
  • TrustedPals

In addition, there are some insurers that offer accident coverage by default, with optional add-on coverage for illnesses. These include:

  • Fetch
  • Figo
  • Lemonade

What Isn’t Covered by Pet Dental Insurance?

So far, we’ve talked about what pet dental insurance covers. Now let’s look at the flip side; what doesn’t it cover?

  • Prophylactic treatment, such as cleaning. This includes toothbrushes, toothpastes, dental treats and chews, and any other preventative remedies.
  • Endodontic treatment (caps), with the exception of the canines and carnassial teeth.
  • Removal of supernumerary teeth or replacement of missing ones.
  • Root planing.
  • Pre-existing dental conditions.

Once again, a lot depends on the plan! You can find pet insurance policies that offer one or more of these services. Shop around and read the terms and conditions for different insurers.

Many pet insurance companies also offer a wellness plan or similar add-on. These add-ons will increase your insurance premium on a monthly basis, but they can pay for themselves by covering an annual cleaning.

Cost of Common Dental Issues

Costs for pet dental treatment can vary considerably. It depends on where you are in the country and what veterinarians are available to you. We’ve gathered some rough numbers for costs for dogs and cats to give you an idea of costs.

 Basic cleaning (no anesthesia)Tooth extractionPeriodontal disease
Dog$50 to $300*$100 to $3,000*$519*

Again, there are many factors that can impact your cost. Extracting a single dog tooth can cost as little as $100. But extracting a three-rooted tooth with anesthesia can cost as much as $3,000.

Along the same lines, all cat tooth extractions require general anesthesia, which is expensive. So that $730 average is for a single tooth. If the cat is having multiple teeth pulled, the cost will be less for each additional tooth.

Keep in mind that these are the costs before insurance. If you carry pet insurance, some policies can cost as little as a $15 deductible.

How to Find Pet Dental Care

To find pet dental care, you’ll want to shop around and look at several insurance companies. Fill out your application, find the best rates, and make sure you’re getting the coverage you need.

Before you fill out any applications, make sure to have the following information handy:

  • The type of pet you’re insuring
  • Your pet’s age, sex, and weight
  • Your pet’s breed, if you know it
  • How many pets you want to have covered
  • Whether your pet has any pre-existing conditions

How to Keep Pet Dental Care Costs Down

Preventative care is the key to reducing pet dental care costs. For dogs in particular, periodontal disease is the most common disease. 90% of dogs will have some form of this condition by the time they’re 2 years old. Other pets can also suffer from periodontal disease and there are lots of other dental diseases on top of that.

The best preventative treatment is a nutritious diet, including dental treats once a day. For dogs and cats alike, it’s also wise to strike a balance between wet and dry food. The wet food is better for their kidneys, and the dry foot helps keep their teeth clean.

As animals age, dental issues could lead to other concerns. For example, a pet may stop eating if it has severe tooth pain. It’s important to monitor these conditions and provide supplemental nutrition as necessary.

What Is Dental Care for Pets?

Dental care for pets can be either preventative or responsive. Preventative care includes cleaning and ultrasonic descaling, which is sometimes performed under anaesthesia.

Responsive care can include any number of procedures to treat specific dental conditions that your pet is suffering from. Just like people, animals can get root canals, fillings, and even caps.

Routine care is ideal. Regular exams can catch problems before they become too severe to manage.

Pet Dental Care Sounds Expensive… What Can I Do?

If your pet needs dental care and you don’t already have insurance, the costs might seem daunting. Here are some options to consider:

  • Finance the procedure – Services like CareCredit offer short-term financing with terms ranging from six months to two years. CareCredit charges zero interest on bills over $200. That said, only some insurers will work with CareCredit, and the interest rates get hefty if you pay late.
  • Tap into your personal savings – It’s not ideal. But if you can afford to dip into savings, you can get your pet taken care of right away without charging any interest.
  • Apply for a grant – There are many grants available for pet owners who need help with medical expenses. Some are only for service animals and others are only for terminally ill animals. But some will cover any medical need. Pethelpers is a good place to get started.