Dental disease is the most common disease in cats and dogs. Approximately 70% of cats and 80% of dogs show signs of dental disease by age three. If dental disease is left untreated, it can lead to heart, liver, and kidney issues and serious health problems that might shorten a pet’s lifespan.
Many pet parents put off getting routine dental care for their pets due to the cost. With a dental insurance plan for your pet, you’ll be able to afford care more efficiently, potentially reducing your pet’s risk of dental disease and complications. Discover more about why routine dental coverage is vital for your pet.
Reduce Your Pet’s Risk of Tooth Loss
Tooth loss can make eating painful for dogs and cats, leading to weight loss, malnutrition, and reduced quality of life. With missing teeth, your pet won’t eat dry food and other hard foods that control tartar and reduce the risk of tooth decay.
Depending on the location of the tooth loss, you may need to switch your pet to a soft-food diet. Doing so could cause bad breath and lead to a higher risk of decay and future tooth loss. Losing a tooth may also reduce your pet’s ability to play, possibly resulting in depression or behavioral issues.
Dental cleanings are an essential part of preventive care for your pet. During your pet’s dental cleaning, your veterinarian will thoroughly clean your pet’s teeth with hand and ultrasonic scalers to remove plaque and tartar that can lead to decay, gum disease, and tooth loss.
In particular, the veterinarian will focus on removing tartar and plaque that has accumulated below your pet’s gumline. Tartar and plaque build-up underneath the gums increases the severity of gum disease. After scaling, the vet polishes your pet’s teeth to slow down the rate of future plaque and tartar growth.
Routine dental insurance pays for regular dental cleanings for your pet. Cleanings can catch and treat dental issues early to prevent complications that may lead to tooth loss. Most veterinarians recommend annual teeth cleanings for pets. Since anesthesia is usually required, cleanings can cost up to $1,000 without dental insurance.
Decrease Your Pet’s Risk of Gum Disease
Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is a significant risk factor for tooth loss and other dental problems in your pets, and it progresses quickly. In the early stages of gum disease, infection and inflammation develop due to the build-up of tartar and bacteria.
As the condition worsens, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth. Without the support of the gums, the teeth become loose, making it difficult for your pet to chew. If left untreated, loose teeth may fall out.
Some pet dental plans cover gum disease treatment for early and late stages, giving you options that may halt the progression of the disease. For example, in the early stages of the disease, your pet’s dental plan may cover deep cleanings. The veterinarian removes plaque and tartar trapped deep inside your pet’s gum pockets during this procedure. They might place an antibiotic gel inside the pockets to help them close and keep the teeth attached to the gums.
If your pet has later stages of gum disease, your pet dental plan could cover advanced dental procedures that your vet may recommend. For example, your pet may require a root canal to save one or more of its teeth. Additionally, your pet may need procedures to save fractured teeth. If your pet’s gum disease progresses to stage four, extraction is usually recommended, and it will be covered by most pet dental insurance.
Prevent Oral Pain in Your Pet
Cats and dogs are adept at hiding pain. If oral issues are causing pain for your pet, you might not know until the problems reach an advanced stage. Some signs of oral pain include:
- Mouth swelling
- Loss of appetite
- Pawing at the mouth
- Lack of grooming
- Resistance when the mouth is touched
However, even when oral problems are present, many pets show no signs of pain.
Since oral diseases often progress silently, regular dental check-ups are essential for early detection and your pet’s overall health. If you have pet insurance plans covering dental care, your pet can receive periodic dental exams and cleanings. These exams identify and treat potential issues before they cause serious complications. If your pet has pre-existing conditions, your coverage may pay for antibiotics, tooth restoration, and medication to reduce pain.
Halt Bad Breath
Bad breath can be more than just an annoyance for pet owners. When you notice an odor from your pet’s mouth, it’s an early warning sign of bacterial build-up. If your vet doesn’t remove the build-up, it hardens and forms plaque, which appears as a yellow or brown film on your pet’s teeth. The first layer of plaque is microscopic, but multiple layers form over time.
Once plaque hardens, your pet’s breath smells considerably worse, and professional dental cleaning is necessary to remove the plaque. Once the vet removes the plaque, you should notice an improvement in your pet’s breath.
In addition to brushing your pet’s teeth, you’ll need to continue with annual dental cleanings to keep bad breath and plaque at bay. If your pet struggles with excessive plaque accumulation, bi-annual cleanings may be necessary. Pet dental coverage can significantly reduce the cost you’ll need to pay for cleanings, and some plans may provide full coverage for cleanings.
Catch Oral Cancers Early
Like periodontal disease, oral cancers in pets often go undetected until they reach advanced stages. If cancer begins in the soft tissue, it may appear as a lump on the gums or at the back of the mouth. Jaw cancers also grow under the skin, which is hard to spot. For these reasons, pet parents can easily miss lumps because dogs and cats rarely allow people to inspect their mouths.
Unfortunately, the survival rate for many oral cancers is low for pets. In the case of squamous cell carcinoma, the most common oral cancer in cats, the average life expectancy is only six months from the time of diagnosis.
Due to the small size of most pets’ mouths and the relatively large size of many oral tumors, surgery is not usually an option. Instead, chemotherapy and radiation are often recommended. However, these treatments can cost thousands of dollars.
Usually, your vet must give your pet anesthesia to perform a comprehensive dental exam to check for masses and other signs of oral cancer. This type of treatment can cost between $500 to $1,000 per exam without pet dental coverage. However, if you opt to invest in pet dental insurance provided by an insurance company, you may not owe anything for your pet’s dental exams.
Obtain Dental Coverage for Your Pet
At Finance is us, we can help you with any questions you may have about dental coverage for your pet. From exploring plan benefits to considering the price, we’re happy to help you narrow down your options so that you can find the ideal dental coverage for your pet’s needs.
Use our online resources to start your search and find the right insurance plan for your pets.
Disclaimer: All content on this site is information of a general nature and does not address the circumstances of any particular entity or individual, nor is the information a substitute for professional financial advice and services.