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Dental Loans UK: Get Your Teeth on Finance and Pay in Instalments

Amanda Napitu
Amanda Napitu
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Stephen Levy
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In the UK, 36% of people put off visiting the dentist because of the cost, with the problem worsening among younger people. Fortunately, there are a few different ways you can organise treatment for your teeth on finance.

If you’re faced with a large bill, dental loans are one way to fund dental treatment. Instalment payments are a convenient solution for dental work not covered by the NHS, such as braces, implants, and cosmetic dentistry.

In this article, we’ll go through the available choices in the UK market for getting your teeth on finance, such as:

With a better understanding of your options, we hope you'll be able to make a more informed decision about what's right for you.

Does the government offer dental financial assistance?

Although you cannot get dental loans from the UK government, NHS dental care is subsidised by the government. Unlike visiting a free doctor, you have to pay for treatment with an NHS dentist. Although this subsidised system is designed to make dental work more affordable, the fees can significantly add up if you need regular treatment.

paying for dental treatment in instalments
Essential treatments are subsidised or free with the NHS

Low-income or special benefit households may be eligible for financial help with dental costs, only for NHS-covered treatments. You can find more eligibility information here.

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find an NHS dentist in your area, and there are still certain treatments that aren't routinely covered by the NHS. For example, any kind of cosmetic work (including white fillings) must be done privately.

What about braces? The NHS does provide braces for adults, but only in cases where orthodontic work is deemed medically necessary, and only standard wire braces. It's most likely you'll have to pay privately, which can cost up to thousands of pounds.

If you want cosmetic braces such as Invisalign, pay monthly options like dental loans or credit cards will be useful to explore.

What does private treatment cost?

dental loans uk
Dental loans and dental credit cards are convenient options to pay for large dental bills

There are no fixed costs for private dental care in the UK; dentists are free to set their rates. Many factors affect the price of dental treatment, such as:

  • Type of treatment needed
  • How long the treatment will take
  • Which materials and tools are needed
  • Where in the country you are receiving your treatment
  • How experienced your dentist is

You'll need to visit for a consultation to receive a treatment plan, where you'll see the total cost of your treatment and when each part is due.

Before you explore paying for dental treatment in instalments through a dental loan or a dental credit card, shop around your area to make sure you are happy with the price.

Ways to pay for dental treatment in instalments

When you have a dental consultation, your dentist will explain your treatment options and provide a quotation. If you cannot afford to pay the full treatment cost upfront, no worries. You can consider an instalment payment plan.

There are three main options when borrowing money to pay for dental care:

teeth on finance
Ask your dentist about payment options
  1. Dental payment plans: This is a finance agreement organised through your dentist. There are a few different providers to choose from, with different interest-free periods, minimum and maximum amounts, and borrowing terms.
  2. Dental loans: Not all dentists have options for paying for dental treatment in instalments – and not all patients are eligible – so you may need to look for finance on the normal credit market. This can be an overwhelming process since there are so many choices.
  3. Dental credit cards: Although there are no cards specifically for use at the dentist, you might consider taking out a ‘dental credit card’ which you use exclusively for this purpose. With so many credit cards available, choosing the best credit card for dental work can be tough.

This article will cover all three options in detail to help make the process less confusing and overwhelming!

You may also want to look at alternative ways to reduce the cost of your dental care, such as travelling to see a dentist overseas or taking out dental insurance.

Dental payment plans

In case you would like to pay monthly for braces, cosmetic veneers, or dental implants, you might first need to ask your dentist ‘Can I pay for dental treatment in instalments?’. Many dentists partner with finance companies, which makes it smooth and easy to spread the cost of your dental work over months.

Each provider has their own terms which will affect:

  • The minimum and maximum amount that you can borrow
  • The rate of interest you pay
  • Your monthly repayments
  • The length of your agreement
pay monthly for dental work
Research deals from different providers

Paying in monthly instalments on good terms can be quite cost-effective. Currently, multiple providers offer 0% interest for short-term agreements of 6-12 months. Since all paperwork and communication with the finance company is handled by the dentist's office, payment plans are easy to arrange.

If you need longer than 12 months to pay, interest rates range from 4.9%-19.9%. In this situation, it's worth exploring other payment options, since you may get a better deal from a personal dental loan.

Have a look at our full guide to dental payment plans for more information on this payment option.

Dental loans in the UK

Despite most dentists offering payment plans, there are a few reasons why you might prefer to take out a personal dental loan instead.

These benefits make a dental loan worth the hassle:

  • You get to select your provider and product
  • You have more special offers and deals to choose from
  • Repayment terms may be more flexible
  • Your dentist might give you a discount for paying in cash

Unfortunately, convenience is not one of these benefits. You will need to find a lender, check their interest rates, and agree to a repayment schedule with your dentist before making the payment directly to them.

How does a dental loan work?

First, you need to confirm with your dentist exactly how much your treatment will cost in total. It’s worth checking what the chances are of any extra work being needed later, so you can give yourself a buffer.

Once you know how much you need to borrow, you can search online for the best dental loan deal for you or speak to your existing bank.

dental loans uk conditions
Be sure to check the dental loan conditions carefully

Make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully so you know if the loan is suitable for your treatment needs. Take special note of the total amount you'll repay (including interest and fees) – this is the true cost of your dental work. The lower the interest rate and the shorter the repayment term, the less you'll pay back overall.

After selecting a dental loan, you will need to formally apply. At this point, the loan company will do a credit check and either approve or deny your financing. Remember that applying for multiple loans consecutively will negatively impact your credit score.

Once you have the funds in your bank account, you can go ahead and pay the full amount to your dentist. Check which payment methods they accept, e.g. debit card, bank transfer or cash.

You then make repayments directly to the loan company as per your agreed schedule, usually in monthly instalments.

What's better: a monthly payment plan or a dental loan?

The best solution for you will depend largely on the terms you are offered, according to the amount you want to borrow and how quickly you can repay it. If you find a 0% interest deal with a manageable payment term, that's definitely worth considering. 

Some dentists are willing to offer a small discount to patients who pay for their treatment up-front in cash. Check with your dentist if this is the case. If so, this may tip the balance in favour of a personal loan as the discount you receive will help offset any interest.

Dental Credit Card

In the UK, there are currently no credit cards on the market specifically for dental work. Still, you might prefer to have a credit card which you use exclusively for dental work and consulations.

Are there benefits to having a ‘dental credit card’?

best credit card for dental work
Some people prefer to use a credit card

Credit cards in general have some benefits you might find useful. There are options to collect points or Air Miles; maybe you could save them up and treat your new smile to a holiday after your treatment! They could also come in handy if you want to save money on dental work abroad in the future.

Credit cards can offer some extra security, too. If your purchase doesn't work properly, or you are unhappy with the services provided, there are rules in place that make your bank liable. Check with your bank if you're considering getting a ‘dental credit card' to see how this protection might apply.

What’s the best credit card for dental work?

You are the best judge of which credit card best suits your finances and circumstances. There are lots of types of credit cards with different costs and rates. Some offer an interest-free period for a short time, some have a long-term low rate, and others have a guaranteed fixed rate. Assess your needs so you can find the best credit card for your dental work.

For example, if you need to pay one lump sum and then pay it off over several months, a card with 0% interest could be helpful. If you need ongoing treatment, then a long-term low-rate offer may be more suitable.

Important information about paying for dental work with a credit card

Before you go through the application and credit check process, check with your dentist if they accept credit cards. If they don't, be aware that your card provider might charge much higher interest rates for cash withdrawals – so don't assume this is a good alternative!

In 2006 the EU ruled that dentists could not apply extra credit card fees, but as Britain has now left the EU, dentists may start charging these fees again.

Ask a dentist: Dental Savings Plans: An Alternative to Dental Loans & Credit Cards

Paying for the dental care you need can be challenging. Unexpected dental expenses can pop up out of nowhere, even through no fault of your own. Because of this, many dental practices are beginning to offer their own in-office dental savings plans

How do these programs work?

For a monthly fee, you'll get a variety of benefits which vary from practice to practice, but often include:

  • Some level of preventive care, often cleanings, exams, and/or x-rays
  • Discount on all additional treatments

Compared to dental insurance, credit cards, and other financing options, an in-office savings plan can help you save money on your care and predict how much you'll pay every month.

Dr. Stephen Levy, Ellicott City Smile Care

Summary of your payment options

The table below shows the main differences between the methods we've discussed for paying for your teeth on finance:

Payment plans

Personal dental loans

Credit cards

Amount borrowed

Whatever your treatment costs

The amount agreed with your loan provider

Up to your agreed credit limit

Interest rates

Some 0% offers for small, short loans; otherwise up to 19.9%

Varies depending on amount borrowed and the provider

0% offers and long-term low rates available; shop around for deals

Who pays the dentist?

Finance company pays direct

You pay direct by your preferred method, e.g. cash, card

You pay direct using your credit card


Monthly payments, usually by direct debit

Monthly payments, usually by direct debit

At least the minimum repayment on your bill; more if you like


Convenient; some good deals available

You may get a discount for paying with cash

No fixed repayment schedule; interest accumulates over time

Can I get a loan for dental work with bad credit?

The answer to this depends on how bad your credit score is and how your finances are at the moment. Obtaining credit for dental work when you have bad credit can be tough.

If you've had a few late payments on bills, but nothing too serious, you may still be approved for a payment plan through your dentist. However, if your bad credit score stems from missed loan or mortgage payments, CCJs, or bankruptcy, then you will find it harder to get a dental loan or other finance.

There are credit card and loan providers that specialise in financing for people with bad credit ratings. It's usually significantly more expensive to pay for your teeth on finance this way. If it is cosmetic work you want, consider waiting until your credit score improves. It is possible to check your credit file yourself so you can see and fix any problems.

Feel free to watch the video below for some advice on how to get the credit you need for your dental work:


Government loans for dental work are unfortunately not available in the UK. However, limited dental financial assistance is provided for certain people getting NHS treatment. When facing a large treatment bill, consider paying for dental treatment in instalments with a payment plan, dental loan or credit card.

These options let you pay monthly for orthodontic work, teeth implants, veneers and other expensive dental work. There are many variables to consider, so it's important to research your options and understand what you're signing up for.

Bad credit can happen to any of us at some point in our lives, and you might be worried about your eligibility for dental financing. Companies assess whether you are eligible for dental loans in different ways, so there is no harm in exploring the criteria and terms of different providers. Do remember that multiple credit applications will affect your credit score, though.

Remember, always read the small print carefully, and make sure any time you borrow money you check the product is suitable and affordable for you.


How can I pay for dental treatment in instalments?

If you can't pay for dental work in full up-front, there are multiple options to assist you financially. The three main options you can consider include payment plans, dental loans and credit cards. Speak to your dentist or apply directly to a personal finance provider.

Can I get a dental loan with no credit check?

Most mainstream loan providers do require a credit check, so it might be hard to get no-credit-check financing in the UK. It is still worth enquiring about this with your dentist or financial provider.

How do I get a loan for dental work?

A dental loan is the same as any other personal loan. Consider how much you need to borrow, how quickly you can pay it back, and how much interest you'll have to pay.

Are dental loans for implants available?

Yes, as implants are one of the most expensive dental procedures, most implant dentists offer pay-monthly finance options. You can also take out a personal loan to fund the treatment.

Can I get a cosmetic dentistry loan?

Yes, personal loans are available for whatever you want to spend them on, even veneers or teeth whitening. Find a provider that offers terms you're happy with before applying.

Dental Loans UK: Get Your Teeth on Finance and Pay in Instalments
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Oral Health Foundation: Increasing costs provoke fall in dental visits. Consulted 13th March 2020.

NHS: Get help with dental costs. Consulted 22nd April 2019.