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Over the course of your pet's life, they are likely to need dental work such as preventative cleanings and tooth removal. These treatments can cost hundreds of pounds, and might be covered by your pet insurance policy. Find out what kind of dental work is covered by pet insurance plans, and what dental work is not typically covered by pet insurance.
- Does Pet Insurance Cover Dental Work?
- Added Cost of Pet Dental Insurance
Here is a quick overview of how the most common types of dental work are—or are not—covered by pet insurance. For further information keep reading below.
|Is dental work covered by pet insurance?|
|What might be covered|
|Tooth extraction needed due to injury||If your plan covers dental due to accidental injury (may need proof of annual checkups and recommended cleanings)|
|Tooth extraction needed due to illness e.g. gingivitis||If your plan covers dental illness (may need proof of annual checkups and recommended cleanings)|
|What is not covered by pet insurance|
|Dental cleanings||Dental cleanings are never covered by pet insurance; if recommended by the vet it's important to do so, or else you might not be covered for other issues that would otherwise be covered|
Does Pet Insurance Cover Dental Work?
Whether or not dental work is covered by your pet insurance depends on the type of dental coverage you have. Pet dental insurance is split into two types of cover: dental injury and dental illness. Most pet insurance plans cover dental injury due to accident, but fewer plans on the market cover dental illness treatment.
Dental injury due to accident: If, for example, your dog fractures a tooth while chewing something very hard or roughhousing with other dogs, "dental injury" cover could help you pay for treatment. This could involve removal of the tooth by your vet, requiring costly expenses such as anesthesia and post-op pain medication.
Dental Illness: Pet insurance may cover other aspects of your dog's dental health, such as removal of teeth if necessary due to periodontal disease.
To increase your chances of a valid claim, should the need arise, be sure to follow the rules regarding regular dental maintenance as set out in the policy wording of your insurance documents. Many pet insurance plans require a vet dental exam every 12 months with any recommended works carried out within a set time frame (e.g., dental cleaning, within 3 months).
Does Pet Insurance Cover Dental Cleaning?
Pet insurance in the UK does NOT typically cover dental cleaning. Generally speaking, pet insurance doesn't cover any preventative care such as teeth cleaning or vaccinations, so it the owner's full responsibility to pay for their pet's teeth cleaning.
A dental cleaning can be one of the largest annual costs of owning a dog, with the average cost of a dental scale & polish for dogs coming in around £233. However, prices can range from £149 up to £516 or more depending on the age, weight and general health of the dog, as well as where you live.
Despite the high price, dental cleaning is something every pet owner should budget for. Not only for their pet's health and comfort, but to ensure their pet insurance will pay for related illnesses that occur later in life. If your vet has recommended dental cleaning and you have not done it, your pet insurance probably won't pay for any dental related illnesses or tooth extractions. There's usually an exclusion in the terms and conditions saying you must carry out any vet-recommended works within a certain period of time to get dental illness cover.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Dental Extractions?
Pet insurance will cover dental extractions under certain conditions and scenarios. Most pet insurance plans include dental injury cover, to help pay for costs of a tooth extraction due to an accident (e.g., extraction of a tooth fractured whilst carrying a huge stick). On the other hand, a tooth extraction necessary due to illness (e.g., periodontitis has damaged the bone and soft tissue supporting a tooth, requiring its removal) might only be covered if you have dental illness coverage.
As the cost of dental extractions for a dog or cat is typically at least as much as the cost of a dental cleaning because anesthesia is involved, pet insurance that covers dental extractions can save you a few hundred quid if your pet needs any teeth out.
Keep in mind that dental extractions may only be covered if you follow the regular dental maintenance rules (e.g., dental exam every 12 months with recommended work carried out within 3 months) as set out in your plan's policy wording, discussed above.
Added Cost of Pet Dental Insurance
Plans covering both dental injury AND dental illness tend to cost more than comparable plans with only dental injury cover. For example, our research on pet insurance prices for French and English Bulldogs showed that Lifetime pet insurance with dental illness and injury cost in the range of 27% to 48% more than Lifetime plans with dental injury cover only, as you can see in the following table and chart.
|Average Monthly Cost of Lifetime Insurance||Excluding Dental Illness||Including Dental Illness|
Most other breeds of dog are less expensive to insure than bulldogs (which are notoriously expensive to insure due to known hereditary health conditions), but the same principle generally holds true across breeds—you'll typically pay more for comparable pet insurance with dental illness than without it. That said, it is possible to find cheaper pet insurance plans that include dental illness cover, for instance Marks & Spencer and 4Paws.
Unfortunately, no UK pet insurance companies cover dental cleaning. At least none that we've ever come across in our research. (If you know of one, please let us know in the comments section below.)