Let's be real - no one really enjoys a trip to the dentist, especially if there’s a lengthy procedure involved. But dental health is linked to overall health, and maintaining our pet's teeth is one way of protecting their happiness and wellbeing. So let’s take a look at what most plans cover, and why it’s important to add routine dental care to your pet’s insurance plan.
Why Dental Health Matters
Our pets’ mouths are a complex ecosystem where enzymes break down foods. Some bacteria grow and flourish in this environment. Dental decay, gum disease, and oral infections can be damaging in themselves, and may also be signs of underlying disease. They may also lead to other health problems in your animal. Oral pain, for example, can result in a hesitancy to eat, weight loss, and malnutrition.
Similarly, a cracked or damaged tooth can be a gateway for bacterial infections to reach the gums and other parts of the mouth. Oral infections in pets, if left unchecked, can develop into more severe systemic infections. Also, chronic oral pain or dental disease interfere with your pet’s quality of life, making it more difficult for your pet to enjoy themselves, and reducing your animal’s resistance to other, secondary infections.
What Does Pet Dental Care Cover?
Most pet dental insurance plans cover dental procedures linked to disease or decay. This typically includes attendant costs (such as anesthesia) if the procedure is deemed covered. Standard coverage may include:
Repair of tooth damage from an accident
Treatment of dental or periodontal disease
Anesthesia (if required)
Radiographs or other imaging studies
Typically not covered by these policies are elements of routine dental care and well-patient visits, along with any reconstructive or cosmetic dentistry not directly related to an illness or accident. So procedures like dental cleanings and scaling (recommended annually for oral health) are most often not covered under standard plans.
Why Covering Routine Dentistry is Important
In pets, a severe health problem may be masked by what we believe to be “just a toothache.” Oral sores, gum disease, or advanced dental decay can both be signs of and result from other systemic health problems. And they can cause problems of their own.
For example, what may begin as a small oral sore or dental infection may cause your pet to reduce its food consumption, which can result in malnutrition and even weight loss. This decrease in nutrients may manifest as symptoms of lethargy, reluctance to play, or even a dull coat. Also, oral health issues can signal an underlying problem, such as an immune disease.
Adding routine dental procedures such as cleaning, scaling, and a full oral examination can help you detect underlying health problems early and reduce the costs of corrective procedures further down the road.
Shopping Around? Here Are Some Tips
If you’re shopping around for the best dental insurance for your pets, here are a few things to look for:
Check the deductible amounts for common procedures
Check whether pre-existing conditions clauses apply to your pet
Review the insurer’s reimbursement policy
Determine whether adjunct treatments like radiology, anesthesia and post-operative antibiotics are covered by the policy
Also, some insurers will let you customize a plan to suit your pet’s needs and your budget. For example, some pet owners opt to receive a less expensive, more basic plan, while others choose a more comprehensive package with all the add-ons.
At Figo, we’ve built our reputation by matching each client to the insurance plan that’s best for them and their pets. No pet is the same, so why lock yourself into a one size fits all plan? Our robust policies all have the option to include add-ons, like our Wellness Powerup, which gives you money back for routine dental care. Get a quote today and keep those pearly whites shining bright!
Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.