When it comes to paying for dental work, dental loans and dental credit cards are some of the most common dental finance options to explore. These methods can be handy solutions for work that's not covered by your insurance; you may be able to get dental loans for implants, low-cost braces, and cosmetic dentistry.
Here we’ll go through choices in the US market such as dental loans, dental credit cards, how to pay for dental work when you are low on money, and how to get loans for dental work with poor credit.
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.
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Healthcare is expensive. So much so that 41% of adults have unpaid medical and dental bills. So it's essential to find a way to finance your dental work.
You may find that a personal dental loan is the best option for you when it comes to financing dental work not covered by your insurance. For example, cosmetic dentistry is not covered under most plans — read more about cosmetic dentistry loans.
A personal loan is an unsecured term loan that you pay back over a set period of time. It has a fixed interest rate based on both your credit score and the amount borrowed.
With a dental loan, you can pay upfront for expensive treatments, and then pay the loan for dental work back in manageable amounts over time.
If you're interested in a loan, you can get help finding the best one for you by using SuperMoney's loan search engine, which shows you available loans from a wide range of providers.
How do dental loans work?
Online lenders want to loan you money as part of their business. It doesn't matter what you want the money for, but it does usually matter if you have good credit or not. If you decide you want to take out a personal loan for dental work, you will need to compare competing lenders based on interest rates, the amount offered for the loan, eligibility requirements, and customer service.
Taking out a loan involves:
- You need to confirm with your dentist exactly how much your treatment will cost. 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 loan deal for you or speak to your existing bank.
- Make sure you read the terms and conditions so you know if the loan is suitable for you. In particular, understand the total amount you'll repay (including interest and an origination fee) – 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 loan for your dental work you will need to formally apply. The loan company will do a credit check and either approve or deny your finance. Applying for several dental implant loans in a short period will have a negative impact on 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 installments.
Can you get a loan for dental work with bad credit?
If you have bad credit, you may have fewer lenders to choose from if you want to take out a dental loan, but you will most likely still have some options available to you.
SuperMoney's loan engine lets you compare personal loans for dental work from various providers, some of whom offer personal dental loans for bad credit or dental loans with no credit, and some of which offer personal dental loans with no credit check.
Compare dental loan offers now!
Below you can view the different dental loan offers available in your state, according to your credit score and the amount you want to borrow:
Dental Credit Card
A dental credit card is another option available to those looking for help funding dental procedures. Many dental credit cards offer a promotional period in which you owe no interest.
It's essential that you know how long it will take you to make your payments because if you don't finish making your payments before the promotional period is over, the interest rate may rise to the point that it is a more expensive option than a personal loan.
What’s the best credit card for dental work?
You are the best judge of which dental card best suits your finances and circumstances. There are lots of types of dental credit cards with different costs. 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 dental card for your dental work.
For example, if you need a credit card to pay one lump sum upfront, which you will then pay back in installments, a card with 0% interest could be helpful.
However, if you need ongoing treatment, for example, if you want to pay monthly for cheap braces with regular adjustments, then a long-term low rate offer may be more suitable. Just be aware that an interest-free period does not mean interest-free dental loans.
One possible option in the US is the CareCredit dental card. Dentists can sign up to offer it in their offices. CareCredit requires a credit check. If you pas the credit approval, you can then use it to cover dental procedures.
During your search for a dental credit card, you'll find a lot of options, and it might be a little overwhelming. That's why SuperMoney has created a credit card comparison tool, making it easy to compare the pros and cons of different cards, side by side.
At a glance, you can see the most important card factors, like the annual fee, credit score range, and customer reviews.
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 that they definitely do 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!
Dental loans vs. credit cards: Which is better?
Let's have a quick look at the benefits of loans and of credit cards so you can choose the best option for you.
The benefits of dental loans
- Personal unsecured dental loans often have lower rates than dental credit cards, and payment terms can be more flexible.
- Since with a personal loan you have equal monthly payments, this can help with long-term budgeting practices.
- If you aren't able to pay off a credit card within the promotion period, you will end up having to pay double-digit back interest dated back to the beginning of your credit agreement.
The benefits of credit cards
- Cards often approve you even if you have low credit.
- Rules in place which mean your bank is liable when things you buy don’t work properly or services are not what you expected.
- You can collect points or Air Miles, which could be used for future dental tourism.
- If you can't pay your loan off within the promotional period, you will have to pay much higher interest rates.
Can I get a dental loan with bad credit?
Whether or not you can get a dental loan with bad credit depends on how bad your credit score is and how your finances are at the moment — these are the things that lenders will consider. Obtaining credit for dental work when you have bad credit can be tough, and it's harder to get dental finance with no credit check in the US.
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. But if your bad credit score stems from missed loan or mortgage payments or bankruptcy, then you will find it harder to get a loan or other finance.
There are credit card and loan providers that specialize in financing dental loans for people with bad credit ratings, but 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. Learn how to check your credit file yourself so you can see and fix any problems.
This video has some other advice which may help you get the credit you need:
What does private treatment cost?
There are no fixed costs for private dental care in the US; dentists are free to set their own rates. Many things affect the price of dental treatment, such as:
- What treatment you need
- How long the treatment will take
- Which materials are needed
- Where in the country you are receiving your treatment
- How experienced your dentist is
Your dental clinic might publish fixed rates on their website, but you'll need to visit for a consultation in order to receive a treatment plan. This will show you the full cost of your treatment and when you'll have to pay for each part of it.
Before you explore paying for dental treatment through a dental loan or a dental credit card, shop around your area to make sure you are happy with the price. Additionally, you may be able to qualify for dental loans and funding for low-income families.
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
Dentalinsurance.com makes it easy to search for dental savings plans within a vast network of dentists all over the country. This online marketplace offers both insurance and savings plans so that everyone can get access to dental care. To search savings plans, click the link below.
There are options available to you if you need help funding your dental work. For anyone facing a big bill, one solution is to ask your dentist about paying for dental treatment with a payment plan.
But the most popular options are dental loans and dental credit cards.
These options let you pay monthly for braces (including Invisalign), dental loans or insurance for 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.
Whatever you decide to do, read the fine print carefully, and make sure any time you borrow money you make sure that the product is suitable and affordable for you.
Is a dental loan the best way to finance dental work?
Savings or discount plans are the most secure method, since you pay a membership fee for discounted care. Loans are probably the next secure option, but you have to pay off your loan in time. Read more about finding a cheap dentist without insurance, if you'd like to learn more about ways to pay for dental work.
Can I take a loan out to fix my teeth?
Yes, but if you have a bad credit score your options will be more limited. You have pay it back in time, otherwise your interest rates will increase exponentially.
What credit score is needed for a dental loan?
It depends on the lender. Many loan companies require a score of 640 at the least to take out a loan for dental work, but some companies require a credit score that is at least 700. They want to be sure that if they give you money, you'll be able to pay it back in time. And if you don't pay it back in time, you'll have high interest rates to pay.
MouthHealthy: Finding Affordable Dental Care. Consulted 21 May 2019
USA.gov: Credit Reports. Consulted 21 May 2019
Kff.org: Health Care Debt in the U.S.: The Broad Consequences of Medical and Dental Bills. Consulted 11th July 2022.