Pet Dental Insurance Coverage and Costs Explained

Three Minutes
Mar 11, 2024

Dental care for cats and dogs can be an expensive — and sometimes overlooked — part of pet care. A trip to the veterinarian for a dental cleaning can cost $1,000 or more, especially if tooth extractions are needed.1 But there’s a way for you to save on these expenses for your fur babies.

Pet insurance that covers dental can be a great way to ensure your cat or dog gets the care they need without worrying about the bill. MetLife Pet offers different kinds of dental coverage through our standard policies and our Preventive Care add-on plan.2 Keep reading to understand how dental coverage works, what it covers, and why pet dental care is so important.

What Dental Care Does MetLife Pet Insurance Cover?

Pet dental insurance coverage depends on the individual policy. With MetLife Pet, you can customize your coverage so it works for your needs. Let’s take a look at some specifics around the dental coverage MetLife Pet offers based on our plans.

MetLife Pet standard insurance policy

Here are some of the dental services and procedures that are typically covered under a MetLife Pet standard insurance policy:

  • Periodontal disease diagnosis and treatment (including related cleaning)
  • Dental injuries
  • Deciduous tooth removal3
  • Endodontics
  • Orthodontics

Common exclusions include routine dental care, cosmetic procedures, and pre-existing conditions. Check your specific policy for more details on exact coverage.

MetLife Pet Preventive Care plan

Our optional Preventive Care plan includes coverage for dental services and procedures that can help keep your pet healthy.2 Some of these dental expenses can include:

  • Teeth cleaning
  • Tooth extractions related to routine care
  • Charges associated with cleaning (bloodwork, pain medicine, anesthesia, and radiographs)
  • Deciduous tooth removal

Check your policy for exact coverage details. Pet Insurance providers usually do not offer teeth cleaning coverage — which could make adding a Preventive Care plan to your MetLife Pet Insurance policy worth it for you. Want to see how our dental coverage stacks up against policies from other pet insurance companies? Check out our provider comparison page!

A MetLife Pet Policy May Help Cover Dental Care Costs

See What's Covered

Does Pet Insurance Cover Dental?

In general, standard pet insurance policies may cover dental costs if they’re medically necessary. This is true for MetLife Pet policies. Our standard pet insurance policy can typically help cover the cost of dental issues related to accidents, emergencies, illnesses, or diseases.

So what about routine dental care? Does pet insurance cover dental cleaning? Unlike dental insurance for humans, stand-alone dental insurance for pets is rare. But this is where optional preventive or wellness plans can help provide additional coverage — like MetLife Pet’s Preventive Care plan — for routine dental procedures, such as teeth cleanings.2

Let’s take a look at the different kinds of dental coverage you may come across when shopping for pet insurance.

Periodontal disease coverage

Periodontal disease is an infection and inflammation in your pet’s gums and other tissues that surround and support your pet's teeth. The most common forms of gum disease in pets are gingivitis and periodontitis.4 Treating periodontal disease typically includes plaque removal and, in more severe cases, surgery.4

It can be common for standard pet insurance policies to reimburse costs related to diagnosing and treating periodontal disease if the issue isn’t a pre-existing condition or policy exclusion.

Dental injury coverage

Fractured teeth is amongst the most common dental injuries seen in pets. Fractured teeth in dogs most often happen from external trauma and chewing on hard objects, like bones.5 Broken teeth in cats mostly occur from animal fights, car accidents, and chewing on hard objects.6 Treating dental injuries can include root canal therapy, vital pulp therapy, and extraction.5,6

Treatment for a fractured tooth — or other dental injuries — as a result of an accident may be covered by a standard pet insurance policy.

Teeth cleaning and extraction coverage

Standard pet insurance policies typically don’t cover routine teeth cleanings or extractions associated with routine dental care. And with cleaning costs in the hundreds to thousands of dollars, having dental coverage can help make it easier to keep up with recommended routine dental care.1

To help ease the expenses associated with these routine costs, pet insurance providers may offer optional wellness or preventive plans.

A pet parent holds a fingertip toothbrush up to their gray and white cat.

Why Is Dental Care Important for Your Pet?

Just like your own dental health, your pet’s dental health is essential to a long and happy life. Poor dental health can result in dental disease, which could lead to other systemic issues — like heart, liver, and kidney disease.7

Some of the common dental problems that affect dogs include gingivitis, periodontitis, unerupted teeth, and cavities.8 Meanwhile, some of the more common dental problems that affect cats include gingivitis, periodontitis, stomatitis syndrome, and tooth resorption.9

Signs of a dental problem in pets may show up as:10

  • Bad breath
  • Discolored, broken, or loose teeth
  • Chewing issues, dropping food, or reduced appetite
  • Swelling, bleeding, or redness of the gums

By the time your pet turns 3 years old, they may already be showing signs of some form of periodontal disease.10 Proper dental care for your pet is especially important if you’re considering enrolling in dog insurance or cat insurance. This is because some of the issues dental disease can lead to may be considered a pre-existing condition if you enroll in coverage after they manifest.

How Can You Keep Your Pet’s Teeth Clean?

To help prevent and detect potential issues, it’s a good idea for pets to receive a professional dental exam and cleaning — aka a comprehensive oral health assessment — approximately once every year or two.1 The frequency depends on the breed and size of your pet, so check with your vet for their recommendation. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) both recommend that all dental exams and cleanings be administered under general anesthesia by a licensed vet.10,11

In between cleanings, you can help keep your fur baby’s dental health in good condition by practicing regular brushing at home.10 Make sure to use a toothbrush and toothpaste approved by your vet.

There are a number of products — like treats, rinses, and wipes — that can also help clean your pet’s teeth. Talk with your vet for their recommendations, and check the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s list of accepted products before you buy.

Save on Your Pet’s Dental Care With MetLife Pet

A standard pet insurance policy with MetLife Pet can help you save money on care if your pet experiences an accident or illness that affects their dental health. Plus, when you add on our Preventive Care plan, you can save even more on their teeth cleanings and associated routine dental care.2 Take a look at some real-life savings from members of the MetLife Pet family.

Shelly, a mixed-breed pup from Georgia, had a tooth extracted after she fractured it playing around in the yard. This cost her parents $1,100, but with their MetLife Pet Insurance policy, they were reimbursed over $840! Then there’s Tubs, a domestic shorthair cat from Utah who fell and damaged his teeth. Diagnostics and treatment cost over $1,400, but MetLife Pet was able to reimburse Tubs’ family nearly $1,300. And finally, you have Keetah, a Labrador retriever from Illinois whose parents took her to the vet for a teeth cleaning and were reimbursed almost $700 of the nearly $860 vet bill.12

Just like these pet parents, you don’t have to choose between your budget and getting essential dental care for your pet’s health. With MetLife Pet Insurance and our optional preventive coverage, you can keep your pet’s mouth healthy without breaking the bank. Get a free quote today, and see how you can customize your policy to fit your pet’s dental insurance needs.

We Can Help Cover Vet Bills While You Focus on Your Pet’s Care


 Dr. Hunter Finn

Dr. Hunter Finn has been paid by MetLife to discuss the importance of choosing pet insurance. He is an integrative veterinary expert first, and social media star second. He  owns Pet Method in McKinney, Texas, where he cares for pets while prioritizing their emotional well-being. When he’s not at his clinic, he’s starring in viral videos on TikTok (2 million followers) and Instagram (500K followers) — where he’s been known to snuggle puppies and conquer the latest dance trends. 

**As with any insurance policy, coverage may vary. Review our coverage and exclusions.

1 “How Much Does Dog Teeth Cleaning Cost?” PetMD,

2 For IAIC policies, optional Preventive Care coverage is based on a Schedule of Benefits. For MetGen policies, optional Preventive Care coverage is included in the annual limit.

3 Covered only if related to an illness, injury, or medically necessary

4 “Periodontal Disease,” Cornell Richard P. Riney Canine Health Center

5 “Fractured Teeth in Dogs,” VCA Animal Hospitals

6 “Fractured Teeth in Cats,” VCA Animal Hospitals

7 “Dental Disease and Its Relation to Systemic Disease in Pets,” VCA Animal Hospitals

8 “Dental Disorders of Dogs,” Merck Veterinary Manual

9 “Dental Disorders of Cats,” Merck Veterinary Manual

10 “Pet dental care,” American Veterinary Medical Association

11 “Companion Animal Dental Scaling Without Anesthesia,” American Veterinary Dental College

12 All claims paid amounts are based on MetLife Pet internal claims data from October 2022. Story altered for illustrative purposes.

Coverage issued by Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, and Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85454. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations and application is subject to underwriting. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC (“MetLife Pet”) for details. MetLife Pet is the policy administrator. It may operate under an alternate or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota) and MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).

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