Going to the dentist office causes anxiety for a lot of people as it is, and it’s even worse if you leave with a hefty bill due to necessary dental care. If you need to finance dental work, there are several options available to consider and compare, such as personal loans, medical credit cards, personal lines of credit, and others. What’s best for you will likely depend on your credit score and how much funding you need, as well as how fast you need it.
We found 7 options for your requirement
4.49% - 20.49%Est. APR Range
$5,000 - $100,000Loan Amount
2-20 yearsLoan Term
Good For: Offers longest loan term, no fees
6.99% - 22.28%Est. APR Range
$5,000 - $100,000Loan Amount
2-7 yearsLoan Term
Good For: High loan amounts available, no fees
5.94% - 35.97%Est. APR Range
$1,000 - $50,000Loan Amount
2-7 yearsLoan Term
Good For: Low loan amount
5.99% - 35.99%Est. APR Range
$2,000 - $50,000Loan Amount
3-5 yearsLoan Term
Good For: Low min. APR for bad credit score
9.95% - 35.99%Est. APR Range
$2,000 - $35,000Loan Amount
2-5 yearsLoan Term
9.99% - 35.99%Est. APR Range
$2,000 - $36,500Loan Amount
2-5 yearsLoan Term
18% - 35.99%Est. APR Range
$1,500 - $20,000Loan Amount
2, 3, 4, 5 yearsLoan Term
What is dental financing?
Dental financing can be an option if you can’t afford to pay for necessary, but expensive, dental care. This financing comes in a variety of forms, such as loans, credit cards, lines of credit, or payment plans from your dentist.
How do dental loans work?
Dental loans work like any other type of personal loan. Once you decide you need dental financing and choose a dental loan as your best option, you’ll do your research on different dental loan lenders and find your best option. Then, you’ll apply for the loan and if approved, receive funding.
Use the dental loan funds to pay for your dental procedure and expenses. Then, you’ll start making monthly payments on the dental loan, plus interest, until it’s completely paid off.
Types of dental financing
If you need help paying for dental procedures, the good news is you have a number of options such as:
1. Personal line of credit
A personal line of credit gives you quick access to cash, but instead of receiving it as a lump sum as you would with a loan, you’ll make withdrawals from a revolving line of credit as needed. This is like having a credit card, but the line of credit is only available for a certain period, known as your draw period. You’d then pay interest on the amount you withdraw.
2. Personal loan
Personal loans can be used for just about anything, including medical and dental bills. Typically, these loans are unsecured, meaning there’s no collateral necessary to back the loan. When you apply for a personal loan, the lender will look at your credit score, history, income, and other factors to determine your interest rate, loan term, and monthly payment.
Read More: Find and Compare Personal Loans Fast
3. Dental loan
Dental loans, a special type of personal loan, are an option designed specifically to pay for dental bills. While personal loans can be used for just about anything, including medical costs, some lenders offer loans specifically made for dental work. These loans typically have lower interest rates or term lengths, and differing borrowing amounts, so they may be a better option than regular personal loans.
Dental loans are also unsecured, meaning they don’t have to be backed by any collateral. While this means they may be more expensive, dental loans still may be cheaper than other types of unsecured personal loans.
It’s important to know that some dental loans are designed for specific procedures, such as cosmetic dentistry, so be sure to know what your procedure is and how it’s classified before shopping.
4. Medical credit cards
Medical credit cards are credit cards designed specifically for paying for medical treatments, including dental procedures. While like a regular credit card, these cards can only be used to pay for healthcare and medical bills. They can also only be used within a specific network of providers that accept the card, so you’ll want to do research to understand if your dentist is in the card’s network before applying.
If approved for the card, you’ll use it to pay the provider for your dental care. Then, just like a regular credit card, you’ll owe the credit card company and make monthly payments to pay off the balance.
5. Intro 0% APR credit card
In some cases, you may want to use a regular credit card instead of a medical credit card, such as if your dentist isn’t in the medical card’s provider network. In this case, look specifically for a credit card that offers a 0% APR introductory period for purchases and balance transfers.
During this intro period, your card’s balance won’t accrue any interest. Typically, this time is within 12 to 21 months, and you’d be able to finance your dental care interest-free during this time. However, be sure to pay off the full balance before the introductory period ends. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying interest on the remaining balance, and the regular interest rates can be high.
Read More: Credit Cards With Low Interest Rates
How to qualify for a dental loan
A great to excellent credit score (670+) is required in order to get the best interest rates. You’ll likely also need to prove a steady income and have a solid credit history. To qualify, follow these steps:
for the best lender
Fill out an application
How do I compare dental loan lenders?
To decide which lender is best for you, compare factors such as:
Interest rates: Borrowers with lower credit scores may be charged higher interest rates, but it varies from lender to lender.
Repayment Terms: One of the benefits of choosing a signature loan is that you can choose a loan term. It usually ranges between one and seven years.
Loan amounts: Many lenders don’t do smaller loans under $600, so you may need a different option. We’ll cover that in our “alternatives” section.
Fees: Check the origination fees and any monthly charges you’ll incur during the life of the loan. Use those as a comparison point between lenders.
If you can, get prequalified for the loan. This doesn’t affect your credit score but gives you a more unique estimate of the loan amount, term, APR, and monthly payment you’d qualify for, making comparing lenders more personalized.
How to get a dental loan
The steps to get a dental loan include:
- Check your credit score. Review your credit score and credit report, and be sure the information is accurate and complete and your score is high enough to qualify you for lower interest rates and better loan terms.
- Compare your options. Do research on the lenders available, including your own dentist’s financing options or lenders your dentist may be partnered with. Find ones that offer loan terms and amounts you’re looking for and that you qualify for with your credit score. Also compare interest rates and customer service reviews.
- Get prequalified. Where possible, get prequalified. This won’t affect your credit score, but will give you a more personalized estimate of the loan amount, monthly payments, and interest rate you’d qualify for, helping you compare options easier.
- Submit an application. Once you find the lender that’s right for you, submit a loan application. You’ll be asked to provide personal information and documentation proving things like income, but online applications typically only take a few minutes.
- Sign loan agreement and receive funds. After your application is approved, you’ll have to review and sign the loan agreement. Read the terms and conditions carefully before accepting. When the loan agreement is signed, the lender will deposit the funds into your bank account, typically within one to two business days.
- Repay the loan. You must start repaying your loan right away. Late or missed payments could result in fees or penalties and damage to your credit score, so if you can, get automatic payments set up to ensure you never miss one.
Is dental financing a good idea?
Dental financing is a good idea only if you’ve explored other options first, your credit score is high enough, and you have a steady income to repay the loan on time. Otherwise, you may have to pay fees or penalties and risk defaulting on the loan.
Can I get a dental loan with bad credit?
While not impossible, it will be challenging to get dental financing if you have a bad credit score. Typically, a poor credit score is considered 580 or lower. While there are lenders out there that will work with borrowers with bad credit, the interest rates are typically much higher and you’ll end up owing a lot more than you originally borrowed.
If you have poor credit, your best option may be to talk to your dental provider and ask about financing options. They may be able to help you set up a financing or payment plan that would have better rates than if you worked with an outside lender, like a bank. HOwever, the terms may not be as favorable.
What to know before applying for a dental loan
Dental work is expensive, especially if it’s not covered by dental insurance. But even with dental insurance, procedures may cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. To care for your dental health, you may need to explore financing options.
Before applying for a loan, make sure the procedure is necessary. For example, you may want to get a second opinion.
You’ll also want to compare lenders carefully and understand the terms, conditions, interest, fees, and other loan factors before applying or committing to financing. If you have time, take steps to improve your credit score (if necessary) to try to get better interest rates and loan terms.
Pros and cons of dental loans
|Unsecured (no collateral)||High interest rates with bad credit|
|Lower interest rates with excellent credit||Can lower credit score|
|Loans specifically made for dental/medical needs||Smaller loan amounts|
|Can help build credit|
|Can work directly with your dentist|
Alternatives to dental financing
Whether you don’t qualify for financing due to your credit score or you’re simply wanting other alternatives to dental financing, there are other ways to pay for the care that you want or need.
1. Use your dental insurance
If you have dental insurance, it may cover some of your procedures as long as you see an in-network dental provider. If you need a procedure done, start by looking at your dental coverage to understand what is and isn’t covered and at what percentage. Then, find a dentist that’s in the provider network, meaning they will be covered at a higher rate. You can do this online or by contacting your insurance company.
While most insurance companies won’t cover dental procedures 100%, using your insurance and an in-network dentist can help make your bill smaller.
2. Shop for less expensive care
Regardless if you have dental insurance or not, ask your dental provider how much your procedure would cost out-of-pocket. If the procedure is not an emergency, you may be able to shop around different providers for cheaper alternatives. Ask the dentists for a quote for the procedure(s) you need to find the lowest cost.
As with other types of medical bills, you may be able to negotiate the total cost of your bill with your dentist prior to receiving treatment. If you know you can only pay a part of the bill, start by doing research to find out the local going rate for the treatment you need, and negotiate a lower bill if your dentist is charging more.
You can also ask for discounts, such as a discount for paying cash up front, or ask about monthly payment plans.
4. Borrow from friends or family
If you feel comfortable, you can ask to borrow the funds from friends or family members. However, be sure you are able to repay the borrowed funds within a reasonable period of time. Otherwise, you may risk damaging the relationship. Get all terms, such as any payment plan or how long you have to repay them, in writing.
You could also ask someone to cosign a personal loan with you, which can help increase your chances of getting approved and getting a lower interest rate.
How do I use a dental loan?
Dental loans can be used for just about any type of dental work, including emergent or cosmetic procedures. For example, dental loan funds can be used for:
- Cleaning, X-rays, or a dental exam
- Resin composite fillings
- Root canal
- Teeth whitening
- Braces or Invisalign
Where to get dental loans
Dental loans can typically be found at the same places you’d get a regular personal loan, but also check with your dentist to learn about any financing options they offer directly.
Who are dental loans best for?
Dental loans are best for people who need to have a dental procedure done and don’t have the savings or emergency fund to cover the expenses. Dental loans are a type of debt, so it’s important to only consider a dental loan or dental financing if you don’t have any other option.
These loans can be used for either necessary or cosmetic procedures, so regardless of your dental needs, dental loan funds are available. However, it’s important to have great to excellent credit, a good credit history, and a steady income to ensure you get the best interest rate, loan amount, adn loan term possible, and you’re able to repay the loan on time and avoid any fees or penalties.
When should I get a dental loan?
You should get a dental loan if:
- You need financing to cover a necessary or cosmetic dental procedure(s).
- You have an excellent credit score and can qualify for low interest rates.
- You have a steady income that will cover your monthly payments.
- You’ve considered all of your financing options.
- You’ve compared lenders to find one that’s best for you.
Pros and cons of dental loans for bad credit
|No collateral required||More difficult to get approved|
|Can help build credit||High interest rates|
|Dental provider may have better options||Terms not as favorable|
What to consider when choosing a dental loan lender?
To decide which lender is best for you, compare factors such as:
Borrowers with lower credit scores may be charged higher interest rates, but it varies from lender to lender.
One of the benefits of choosing a personal loan is that you can pay dental bills is that you can choose the loan term. It usually ranges between one and seven years.
Many lenders don’t do smaller loans under $600, so you may need a different option. Which is covered in our “alternatives” section.
Check the origination fees and any monthly charges you’ll incur during the life of the loan. Use those as a comparison point between lenders.
Remember, longer terms mean smaller monthly payments, but it also means you’ll accrue more in interest and end up paying more over time. Shorter terms have higher monthly payments but you’ll owe less over time. Also be sure to compare the loan’s minimum requirements, like minimum credit score or income.
How do I apply for a dental loan?
Once you’ve chosen the lender and calculated the loan amount you need, fill out the loan application (either online or in person). You will need the following documentation in physical or digital format:
Valid State Driver’s
License or State ID
Proof of current
Valid checking account
for direct debits
W2 or 1099
The lender will then run a credit check. This will result in a “hard inquiry” on your credit report that might drop your credit score by a few points for a short period of time. Taking out the loan could also have this effect, but your score will increase as long as you make all your monthly payments on time.
Yes, some dentists offer to finance directly. Or they may partner with a lender to offer dental loans. Ask your dentist about the financing options they may have available.
Dental loans can be used for any necessary or cosmetic dental procedures you may want or need, such as X-rays, exams, cleanings, braces, fillings, root canals, veneers, dentures, and more.
Not all dental plans are the same, so you’ll want to check yours to understand what is and isn’t covered. However, generally, some elective treatments aren’t covered such as cosmetic dentistry (like teeth whitening) or other procedures such as orthodontics or dentures.
A dental loan is a good idea only if you’ve explored other options first, your credit score is high enough, and you have a steady income to repay the loan on time. Otherwise, you may have to pay fees or penalties and risk defaulting on the loan. It’s also only a good idea if it covers the dental procedure you need, though most can be used for any dental work you may need.