In 2011, Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) policyholders spent more than $8.5 million on dental conditions, the 11th most common type of claim submitted to the company.
Treating the condition instead of preventing it can take a bite out of clients' wallets. Last year, the average claim amount for a pet’s teeth cleaning was $164. In contrast, the average claim amount for treating tooth-related disease was $238. Periodontal disease accounted for the most dental claims received by VPI—nearly 20,000. Tooth infections, inclusive of cavities and abscesses, accounted for the second most common tooth-related claims, totaling nearly 4,800.
According to the AVMA, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by 3 years of age. Between regular check-ups, encourage pet owners to look for the warning signs of gum disease such as bad breath, red and swollen gums, yellow-brown crusts of tartar along the gum lines, and bleeding or pain when the gums or mouth are touched.
Here are some dental health facts you can share with clients:
- Puppies have 28 temporary teeth that begin to show at about 3 to 4 weeks of age.
- They have 42 permanent teeth that generally grow in between 5 to 7 months of age.
- Periodontal disease is the most common dental issue among dogs.
- Kittens have 26 temporary teeth that begin to show at about 2 to 3 weeks of age.
- They have 30 permanent teeth that generally grow in by 5 to 6 months of age.
- Resorptive lesions are the most common tooth disease among cats.