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Does Pet Insurance Cover Teeth Cleaning?

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When we think of medical conditions that can affect our dog’s health, dental problems are seldom at the top of the list. Rabies, distemper, hip dysplasia, heartworm and parasites may be the more common health issues, but dental disease can cause serious problems if left untreated. In fact, about 70 percent to 80 percent of dogs over the age of three suffer from dental diseases. Pet insurance is an excellent way to ensure your dog can receive proper dental care at an early age. Often, the best way to prevent dental disease from developing is through regular teeth cleaning. Does pet insurance cover dental insurance? This is a concern of many dog or pet owners.

What is Pet Teeth Cleaning?

It’s important that your pet have their teeth cleaned at an early age so they get used to the procedure. The older the dog is when he has his teeth cleaned for the first time, the more difficult it will be for the dog and the veterinarian. Pet teeth cleaning involves more than just cleaning the actual tooth surface. The first thing the vet will do is give the dog a dental exam to see if the dog actually needs his teeth cleaned.

If the exam determines that the teeth need cleaning, the vet will clean the teeth and then polish them to remove plaque and tartar that can cause periodontal disease. Prior to the cleaning, the vet may perform blood tests to ensure the dog’s health is well enough for the use of anesthesia. The dog will need anesthesia to allow the vet to perform the necessary procedures like dental x-rays and examinations of each tooth.

In addition to looking at each tooth, the vet will use a dental probe to inspect the periodontal pockets for decay, food accumulation or possible gum bleeding. Any tarter or plaque found on the dog’s teeth is removed with both ultrasonic and hand scalers. The final step in the teeth cleaning process is polishing the dog’s teeth. This is done to remove any scratches that may have occurred during the cleaning and to reduce the rate of future plaque build-up.

Average Cost of Teeth Cleaning

The cost of pet teeth cleaning can vary by many factors. The veterinary practice where the procedure is performed can play a big part in cost. Some vets charge by the type of procedure while others may charge a per-hour fee. Other factors that can alter the cost are the geographic location or the seriousness of the dental disease the animal might have. For instance, a simple cleaning might cost only a couple hundred dollars, but if the dog is experiencing other dental issues, the cost might be a lot higher.

A simple extraction can cost as little as $25 while a more complicated extraction can go almost up to $1,000. As a rule, basic cleaning can cost around $200. This amount is broken down into about $100 for the actual cleaning, $35 for x-rays, $25 for sealing and $10 for polishing. Additional fees are often added for induction pre-anesthesia, general anesthesia and monitoring.

Plans That Cover Teeth Cleaning

Pet insurance companies vary in the type of dental coverage they provide. Some might offer dental care that includes teeth cleaning while others may offer dental care but not teeth cleaning. They are also some pet insurance companies that don’t really offer any type of dental insurance. Some companies may cover dental issues if they are the cause of a covered illness. Here are five different pet insurance companies and what they offer in terms of dental care or teeth cleaning coverage.

Healthy Paws: No

Although Healthy Paws does cover health issues that may be caused by dental problems, they don’t cover actual dental problems unless is it something like extractions, teeth extractions or reconstructions that are necessary because of accidents or injuries to the mouth. Because teeth cleaning is considered preventative care, it is not covered under their pet insurance plans.

Pets Best: Yes

Pets Best offers two pet insurance plans. Their Essential Wellness plan does not cover teeth cleaning, but their Best Wellness plans pay up to $150 per year towards teeth cleaning.

Figo: No

Figo will pay for the cost of tooth extractions or similar non-routine care if they’re not part of a pre-existing charge but will not cover the cost of teeth cleaning.

Embrace: Yes

Embrace offers dental insurance that covers things like gingivitis; extractions; periodontal insurance; crowns; root canals; stomatitis; and chipped, broken or fractured teeth. They cover dental accidents up to $1,000 per calendar year. Routine teeth cleanings are not covered under Embrace’s accident and illness coverage but are covered under their Wellness coverage, which is an additional policy that can be purchased with their regular pet insurance policy.

Trupanion: No

Trupanion does offer dental coverage, which includes extractions, root canal treatments, endodontic treatment and coverage for retained baby teeth. However, they do not cover teeth cleanings or the cost of pet toothbrushes or toothpaste. As with all the pet insurance companies, they will not cover any dental issue that is a pre-existing condition.

Difference Between Emergency Tooth Care and Cleanings

This may come as a surprise to some pet owners, but emergency tooth care and dental cleanings are not the same things. It’s not uncommon for a dog or pet to require emergency tooth care at some point in its life. The dog can break a tooth or have a decayed tooth due to a lack of dental care. Dogs that like chewing on rocks may chip or break a tooth, which can cause the dog pain.

A dog can’t talk so it has no way to inform its owner that a toothache is the problem. The pet owner may spend hundreds or thousands of dollars in medical trying to find a problem that can be caused by something as simple as a bad tooth. Emergency tooth care can be very expensive because it’s taking care of an emergency. Teeth cleaning, on the other hand, will cost a lot less and can often prevent the need for emergency tooth care.

Cost is the biggest factor in why veterinarians recommend regular teeth cleaning for their dogs. A simple cleaning can prevent the dog from developing serious dental diseases, which can cost not just more health problems but also a much higher vet bill.