Being proactive with pet dental care really makes all the difference when it comes to preventing tooth decay, teeth pain, and improving the quality of your pet’s life.
Dental problems — and the potential need to have your pet insurance policy cover the costs of treating them — can be reduced by a little preventative action. Otherwise, investing in pet dental coverage could be a good way to lower dental costs throughout a pet’s life.
While a standard pet insurance policy may cover the cost of extractions or repairs for a damaged tooth, it will probably not cover routine cleanings or procedures for treating other dental conditions. Because a typical pet insurance policy does not typically cover preventive procedures, like teeth cleanings and dental exams, you may want to consider adding a wellness program to your policy that would cover those costs, whether they are dental or not.
Adding a wellness plan to a policy will add cost to your pet insurance, but it may make up for the dental cleaning costs (which range from several hundred dollars on average to more than $1,000, depending on where you live). Many pet insurance companies offer either standalone coverage plans or add-ons to their basic plans that cover regular wellness checks, including dental cleanings.
Most accidental and trauma plans do not cover routine dental care, like cleaning; many pet wellness plans do, however. Some accident plans that provide regular dental coverage do require any pet needing emergency dental work to have had a recent cleaning. While no pet health insurance policies provide coverage for routine dental care, you can often add in a wellness plan that does.
While brushing your pets teeth helps remove bacteria and prevents gum problems in the future, many pet owners fail to do so. You brush your teeth twice daily to keep your teeth in great shape, and dental hygiene is equally important for your pets. Poor dental hygiene can result in painful mouths and major health problems in both cats and dogs.
Dental hygiene is a crucial part of a pets well-being, and it is often a reason why they suffer from serious illnesses.
Dental diseases actually cause problems in your pets organs, like their hearts. Dental problems, when left untreated, often cause major systemic problems for your pet, because the oral bacteria get into your bloodstream and can harm the kidneys, heart, and liver. Proper dental care will help prevent a variety of dental health problems from developing in your pet, such as periodontal disease, caused by bacteria that accumulate in the mouth.
Regular dental exams are important for maintaining the oral and overall health of your pet. A dental appointment will probably involve professional deep cleaning, along with periodic dental X-rays to monitor your pets dental and gum health. While your pet is being seen for cleaning, your vet will also take dental X-rays to look at your pets teeth, both above and below the gum line.
A dental probe will be used to assess gum bleeding and periodontal pockets, which are areas where food may build up and become degraded if improperly treated. A dental cleaning appointment will include a complete dental exam, teeth cleaning, and polishing to remove tartar and periodontal disease-causing plaque.
After a physical exam, your pet is given a puppy vaccination for safe, pain-free sleep throughout the dental cleaning. This way, your vet can look at what is going on in your pets body as well as its exterior, making sure it is healthy enough for a dental cleaning. Also, the anesthesia allows for better cleaning as your pet is not moving and is not at risk for trauma by dental equipment. It is important that pets are regularly seen for dental cleanings, because dental work done by veterinarians removes built-up plaque.
Many dental diseases can be avoided by taking your pet to the vet for regular dental exams and teeth cleanings. Dental health is an extremely important component of overall pet health, and dental problems can lead to, or are caused by, other health problems. The biggest culprit for dental problems in pets is the lack of a routine dog dental care program. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, improper dental care may lead to problems like periodontal (gum) disease, or it may lead to serious health problems and painful situations.
Your pets teeth and gums need to be checked by a veterinarian at least once per year to check for early signs of problems and keep your pets mouth healthy. If your pet is young, healthy, does not have any genetic predispositions to dental problems, and you are taking great care of his teeth, you may decide that dental coverage is unnecessary.
As many pets get older, taking preventative measures is necessary to ensure that dental conditions do not get worse and eventually impact their kidney or liver function. If your pet insurance plan already covers dental accidents and/or illnesses, but does not cover routine dental care, expect to pay about $10-$50 extra each month to add on a dental wellness plan that will cover this type of care.