Issues with the normal development of teeth – known as tooth eruption and exfoliation – are not often covered by pet insurance companies. Trupanion is one of the few that does cover these issues.
(PR.com) March 14, 2011 — In a recent issue of DVM Newsmagazine, Dr. Jan Bellows discusses tooth eruption and exfoliation in dogs and cats. Trupanion, North America’s fastest growing pet health insurance provider, is one of very few pet insurance providers that cover veterinary treatment related to issues with this process.
Tooth eruption and exfoliation are the terms given to the normal process of a pet’s baby teeth being replaced by permanent adult teeth. The baby teeth are exfoliated as the adult teeth erupt. While issues related to this process could not be anticipated, most pet insurance providers still do not cover treatment, considering it under the umbrella of ‘dental care’.
Trupanion doesn’t believe that all dental issues should automatically be dismissed. If the issue is not considered routine or preventative, then Trupanion provides coverage. And because complications related to the development of teeth are not something that could have been anticipated by the pet owner, treatment is covered under a Trupanion policy, as long as the pet had full policy coverage before the first signs or symptoms of the condition were noted. The following are examples of covered procedures.
Teeth Overcrowding – When there are more teeth in the pet’s mouth than can actually be supported by its mouth, extraction may be necessary. This is a more common condition in small dogs.
Delayed Eruption – If there is dense tissue impeding the ability of the baby teeth to break through the gums, the tissue needs to be removed to allow the natural process to occur and ensure that no other issues result. Again, small-breed dogs are predisposed to this issue.
Base Narrow Canines – This occurs when the pet’s teeth impact the hard palate of the mouth, causing sores or other trauma. It can be quite painful for the pet and extractions can also solve the problem.
Improper Loss of Primary Teeth – If the pet does not lose its baby teeth when the adult teeth come in, the adult teeth can grow improperly and cause future problems. Those baby teeth that do not fall out on their own will require extraction.
Missing Permanent Teeth – When the adult teeth are missing, there is no process for the baby teeth to be exfoliated, or pushed out. While the baby tooth can be functional for years, eventually it will need to be removed.
Fractured Baby Teeth – Occasionally, due to either accident or resorbtion, the baby teeth become fractured. This causes pain to the pet and the fractured tooth will need to be extracted.
Dental issues like these may not be apparent right away. Pet owners may only realize there is an issue once the pet ages and loses his or her baby teeth, and the full set of permanent teeth erupt. However, it’s important to pay attention to signs of dental distress to catch any issues as early as possible. If your pet is exhibiting any of the following behaviors, it may be due to dental discomfort:
- Rubbing face on floor or with paws
- Bleeding gums
- Aversion to hard foods
- Excessive drooling
- Persistent bad breath
It’s important for your pet to see a veterinarian regularly so its teeth can be evaluated properly, however, if you notice any of the above symptoms, an additional trip to the vet may be in order. If your pet is diagnosed with a problem related to tooth eruption or exfoliation, Trupanion can help with the expense. Here are some actual claims seen by Trupanion for dental issues:
- Base Narrow Canine Extractions (May 2010): Total claim amount was $743.70.
- Extraction of Baby Teeth Causing Impacting Hard Palate (July 2010): Total claim amount was $1,043.50.
Knowledge of the natural process of tooth eruption and exfoliation can help aid in catching issues early, and therefore decrease the chance that a puppy or kitten will see long-term effects. Choosing a pet insurance company that covers these issues can help alleviate the financial stress of tooth extractions and other treatment.