Your pet does a lot with their teeth. Over the course of a day, your fur baby is likely to spend their time eating (kibble, wet food, treats, surreptitious table scraps) and playing (rope toys, catnip, rawhide, socks), all using those precious chompers.
If something were to happen to your pet’s pearly whites, would pet insurance have your back to help pay for their dental care?
That depends. We’ll take you through a number of toothy situations that might land your pet at the vet, and let you know how and when a Lemonade Pet insurance policy can come in and save the day!
Here’s what we’ll discuss:
- Does pet insurance cover dental accidents?
- Does pet insurance cover dental illnesses?
- Does pet insurance cover at-home dental care?
- Does pet insurance cover routine teeth cleaning?
- Does pet insurance cover orthodontics?
- How do I add dental coverage for my pet?
Pets, especially of the canine variety, can play rough. Sometimes, in their boundless enthusiasm, they can even do some things that are a bit… dumb. (No offense, pups.)
So what happens if this behavior results in an accident—and what do we even mean by “an accident”? Well, in pet insurance terms, an accident qualifies as a new, unexpected event that lands your pet at the vet.
A dental accident can take various forms. Maybe your dog fractured teeth as the result of chomping on rocks or bones. Maybe she suffered a tooth luxation (a fancy term for a tooth being knocked out of place, which might occur if your dog gets into a fight or is subjected to blunt force trauma (like getting hit by a car).
Does pet insurance cover dental accidents?
What part of coverage applies?
A base accident and illness policy will help handle the dental accident.
A base policy with Lemonade Pet will help cover the costs of vet bills associated with the diagnostics, procedures, and medications related to dental injuries and accidents. This might include x-rays, surgeries, tooth extractions, pain medications, and antibiotics.
In both dogs and cats, the most common dental disease is gingivitis, which can then develop into periodontal disease.
How common, you might ask?
Get a load of this: Over 90% of dogs who are two years or older have developed periodontal disease, and 87% of cats over three have developed the disease. So, yeah. Pretty common.
Here’s how these diseases work: When your pet has a meal, bacteria eat away at any food that’s left in their mouth, creating plaque. That plaque can build up along your pet’s gum line. If it’s not removed, it hardens into tartar.
Tartar can cause a condition called gingivitis, where your pet’s gums are irritated and inflamed. Gingivitis is an early stage of periodontal disease. If it’s not treated, it can lead to periodontal disease, which damages your pet’s gums, ligaments, and bone, causing serious damage and significant health problems.
Does pet insurance cover dental illnesses?
Yup, it can—but it depends on how you’ve customized your plan.
What part of coverage applies?
This would fall under Lemonade’s Dental Illness add-on.
This optional add-on can help cover the cost of treatments, procedures, diagnostics, and medications related to dental illness. This includes crowns, extractions, root canals, dental surgeries, and treatments for gum disease like gingivitis and periodontal disease.
To be extra clear: A base accident and illness policy without the dental illness add-on will not cover dental illnesses. So if you’re worried about facing these conditions (or their cost) in the future, consider the add-on.
When are dental illnesses not covered?
Even with the Dental Illness add-on, there are certain scenarios that would not be covered.
If your pet was treated for or was diagnosed with signs of a dental illness before you had an active pet policy, it would be considered a pre-existing condition, and would therefore not be covered. Also, if treatment or diagnosis for dental illness is given before the 14-day illness waiting period is up on your newly purchased pet policy, that also wouldn’t be covered.
This is why it pays to get a pet insurance policy as early as possible, so you get the most out of coverage.
Plus, if your vet has previously given you recommendations regarding prevention for dental illness (like scheduling a dental cleaning or x-rays), and you didn’t follow through, you also might not be covered.
TL;DR: Sign-up for insurance early, and listen to your vet!
At-home dental care
If you are committed to your pet’s oral hygiene, there are specialized products to help clean and care for your pet’s teeth and gums, and to help keep their breath fresh.
These include dental pet food, toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental wipes, water additives, dental chews, teeth-cleaning treats, or toys designed to floss and clean your pet’s teeth.
Is at-home dental care covered by pet insurance?
No, your insurance won’t cover the costs of at-home dental care.
Coverage offered by Lemonade is only able to cover treatments administered by a veterinary professional. So, while the care you provide for your pet at home is critical for their lasting health (and will undoubtedly lead to less health issues down the line!), it cannot be covered by Lemonade at this time.
Routine teeth cleaning
Ok, so we already know you take your pet’s dental health seriously. You regularly brush their teeth, plus you’ve added some specially designed and formulated dental treats, chews, and toys into their routine. Way to go!
In addition to regular dental hygiene, most veterinarians recommend at least one annual dental cleaning procedure for both dogs and cats. This will help to properly remove tartar and prevent the development and spread of gingivitis and periodontal disease.
This annual procedure generally involves the following:
- Lab tests and blood work to check on your pet’s overall health and estimate how they’ll react to general anesthesia.
- Once your pet is under, the vet cleans the teeth to remove plaque and tartar, filling cavities and extracting teeth as needed.
- Sometimes, vets will then add fluoride or other products to prevent the return of plaque.
Does pet insurance cover routine dental cleaning?
Yes, depending on how you’ve customized your coverage.
What parts of coverage apply?
Lemonade’s Dental Illness add-on could help cover the costs filling cavities and extractions.
Lemonade’s Preventative+ Care package would help cover the cost of diagnostics, anesthesia, cleaning, and polishing. What’s this package, you’re wondering?
Well, in addition to a base accident illness policy, you can opt for a number of Preventative Care options to cover the stuff you’re probably already paying for to keep your pet happy and healthy. For pets over two-years-old, the Preventative+ Care package will help cover:
- An annual wellness exam
- Fecal or internal parasite test
- Heartworm test
- Blood test
- Three annual vaccines
- Medical advice chat
- Flea/tick or heartworm prevention
- Routine dental cleaning
Did you have to endure a round of braces, expanders, and (shudder) head gear in order to fix and straighten your human teeth? It might surprise you to learn that pets also deal with their own orthodontic issues. Orthodontics in pets can help address issues with a cat or a dog’s bite caused by a natural misalignment of their teeth, and/or tooth overcrowding.
Flat-faced (Brachycephalic) or toy-sized pets are more likely to experience orthodontic dental issues. (Smaller mouths, bigger problems). This includes dog breeds such as Pugs, French Bulldogs, Shih Tzus, Chihuahuas, and Pomeranians, as well as cat breeds like Persians and Exotic Shorthairs.
Common orthodontic procedures for pets include extractions, buttons, brackets, and even braces.
Does pet insurance cover orthodontics?
Not at this time.
Thanks for explaining all that! Now how do I add dental coverage for my pet?
We thought you’d never ask.
If you currently have a Lemonade Pet policy, we’ll be able to review your options with you the next time you renew your policy (don’t worry, you’ll get a reminder email from us). If you happen to be new to Lemonade Pet Insurance (welcome!), you can update your policy within the first 14 days after purchase.
If you’re thinking about signing up for a new Lemonade Pet insurance policy, you can include Preventative Care and add-ons (like Dental Illness) as you finalize and customize your policy after receiving your quote.