Dentist visits are probably not your favorite activity, but hefty price tags can make dental care feel even more painful. If you can’t afford to pay the bill for essential oral care, you’re likely not alone.
Patients who lack the financial means for dental treatment upfront should consider dental financing. A bad credit score can worsen your chances of getting approval for several credit types. Even worse, you may face soaring interest rates and terms that go well beyond your budget. Luckily, there are other options you may consider. Check out the alternatives explained in more detail below.
What Is Dental Financing?
Dental financing is a type of funding for individuals that lack the money to pay for necessary dental care. You borrow funds to cover the treatment upfront and then make monthly payments to pay off your debt. The process will involve fees and interest on the loan amount.
Dental loans are very similar to medical loans, which are also personal loans intended for healthcare purposes. These cash advances are unsecured and can cover even more expensive oral procedures. Dental work includes emergencies, surgeries, and planned cosmetic work.
You can get a general personal loan to use for anything you want. Still, you may be better off with loans tailored for dental work. The reason is simple—these loans tend to entail lower APR or altered repayment periods and borrowing amounts.
Can I Get a Dental Loan With a Bad Credit Score?
Getting instant financing without good credit can be a challenging journey. Most personal loans and credit cards involve a credit check, and bad credit may urge the lender to deny your request. Alternatively, bad credit may lead to higher APR and extra fees.
Luckily, you can still borrow the money you need to get your perfect smile, even if you have fair or bad credit (below 689 FICO score). Note that you’ll probably get a rate on the high end of the lender’s APR range. Some lenders may even run credit checks with credit bureaus. In that case, consider a secured or co-signed loan to lock in a lower rate.
In most cases, dental offices offer payment plans even to clients with bad credit. Ask your dentist about the available options and the applicable interest rate. Even those who don’t qualify for affordable financing can get dental funding with bad credit loans for that much-needed smile.
Dental Financing Options
Insurance doesn’t cover all dental procedures that you might need. Hence, you can consider a flexible dental loan that may be a pricey alternative, depending on the interest rate. Explore all your options before taking out a loan to cover dental work, especially if you have a low credit score or existing debt. Below are several lenders and alternatives to fund your next dentist visit.
Unlike bank payment plans, medical loans help finance various medical bills. Borrowers can use the money for surgeries, emergencies, and common dental procedures. The approved loan amount and the loan term will vary depending on your credit history and income.
Medical loans come as secured and unsecured. With a secured advance, lenders require collateral to grant the loan. Lenders usually issue unsecured loans with reasonable rates to people with good credit scores. This is due to lenders not relying on the borrower’s assets for repayment if they default on the loan.
A secured medical loan can save the day for those with a bad credit score. If you struggle to cover past dental treatments, ensure you provide proper collateral to support your debt. Also, secured loans involve lower APR and affordable loan terms and conditions.
Medical Credit Cards
You may also apply for a medical credit card to finance regular dental procedures. Similar to a traditional credit card, this one can only cover healthcare fees. Plus, medical cards work within a specific network of dental care providers. Remember that you will make monthly payments to the credit card issuer.
Some medical credit cards involve a period of deferred interest. In short, those who service the debt within the deferred time will not pay interest. Not paying your balance off within the set period or being late is the worst scenario. In that case, you’ll probably get charged for the entire interest accrued from the onset.
Paying accumulated interest can trigger high costs and overpaying your treatment. So, ensure you can afford a medical credit card before committing. Last, note that card issuers will check your credit history with credit bureaus to determine your payment capacity.
0% APR Intro Credit Cards
Another plausible option is to cover dental expenses with a regular credit card. Consider a credit card with an introductory 0% APR for dental costs for a preset period only. Once this initial time frame is over, the issuer will impose an APR based on your credit score and other factors.
Paying off the loan amount within the set period means you can borrow interest-free. Grace periods of some cards can stretch up to 60 months. Note that if you don’t abide by the card terms, you may lose the 0% rate. Even worse, you can end up paying interest on the balance you can’t pay before the end of the set period. As with any credit card, the issuer will check your credit profile when considering you for a card.
Clients who don’t qualify for standard credit-based dental loans can apply for subprime lender financing. Unlike other lenders, subprime lenders check each patient’s credit history in detail. They also examine income, employment history, and other data to define the risk associated with lending.
The primary downside to subprime financing plans lies in the high interest rates and the origination fee. Such aggressive annual rates may put an extra financial strain on both the patient and the dental practice. Note that the loan term and monthly payments go through a third-party lender.
A personal loan can get used for various personal expenses, including oral procedures and healthcare. Average amounts borrowers take out personal loans range from $1,000 up to $100,000, which is plenty to cover minor or extensive dental procedures. Though secured options exist, most personal loans come as unsecured, which means you don’t have to put collateral to secure the loan.
As a result, the lender considers several factors, such as credit history, to determine your ability to pay off the balance. Those with a poor credit score may end up paying a higher interest rate.
Dental costs may often reach thousands of dollars. One of the viable options to get funded quickly is to consider a payday loan online. Often called cash advances, these are small, short-term financing plans. An average payday loan can range from $100 to $1,000 with a fast turnaround rate.
On average, small loans involve soft credit checks that don’t affect your credit score. Once applicants learn of the total dental bill, they can request an online cash advance and get it within hours. The application process is super-fast and convenient, and approvals are almost instant.
Most payday lenders from our network approve borrowers with poor or no credit scores who struggle to finance dental care. In the case of a single payday loan, borrowers must pay off the balance with their next paycheck. As for APR, it can go over 400%, depending on your credit score and the loan terms.
Pay-over-time lenders can also work for clients shut out from traditional lending due to a bad credit score. To that end, the dental practice must partner with a pay-over-time provider. Then, your dental office will control the approval without the need to service and administer the loan.
Bear in mind that these providers don’t pull a simple credit report only. To determine the lending risk, they check various data and then define the loan terms that include a down payment. The payment plan will have interest rates and an origination fee to mitigate the provider’s risk. Direct debit payments get executed from the patient’s account, and the dentist acts as your intermediary.
Alternatives to Dental Loans
If you don’t have insurance and face financial hardship, there are always other alternatives. Those who worry about their capacity to execute monthly payments can consider the following options.
Ask Family and Friends for Help
Those struggling to get quick financing for oral care may consider turning to close friends and family. As uncomfortable as it can be to ask for money, they may agree to lend. Always offer to pay some interest in return.
Or, if a friend or relative has good credit and is willing to help, they can co-sign on a loan agreement. This way, you can improve your chances of getting approval.
Negotiate a Lower Dental Work Bill
Sometimes, clients pay part of the bill only but need help with the remaining loan amount. In this case, consider negotiating the dental cost before committing to the treatment. Always research the local going rate for your treatment before trying to strike a deal.
If your dentist is overcharging you, ask for a lower bill by citing the average market fees. Asking for a discount is also plausible. Some offices may offer free advice to help uninsured patients afford the treatment.
Search for Better Priced Dental Treatment
If your dental procedure isn’t urgent, shop around for cheaper alternatives. Get quotes from several dentists and compare the fees of the services you need.
You can also pocket significant savings if you go to a dental school. There, dental students provide care under the supervision of experienced dentists but for a fraction of the actual bill. Those with dental coverage should ensure the provider participates in the dental insurance plan.
Patients have the option to claim a tax deduction for costly oral treatments. Under federal tax law, this deduction is on your taxable income for dental costs exceeding a set percentage of your adjusted gross income.
Bear in mind that you’ll have to qualify for the medical expense deduction to get this tax break. Ensure you include all relevant items on your federal income tax return.
Taking care of your dental health is essential, but it can sometimes be over budget even with insurance. If you need extra cash to finance an oral procedure, financing from external sources may save the day.
Before anything, confirm that you need the treatment and how much it will cost. Then, compare the available financing options for dental care and decide what fits your budget. Never commit to anything before you understand all the terms, interest, and fees associated with the loan. No financing comes for free, and oral expenses can be pretty high for those with bad credit.
Yes, even without dental insurance. Several loan options can help you earn a better smile. You can consider taking out a payday or a medical loan that usually comes with instant approvals. The monthly payment will depend on your financial circumstances. Loan applications are fast and reliable, and you can get funded in one business day.
Our network of healthcare lenders works with a credit rating of all ranges. That said, your credit score will affect the loan amount and the terms. Every lender has a different policy on what may constitute good or poor credit. We strive to assist each customer get the right dental loan from the right financing provider.
Those who need free or low-cost dental treatment shouldn’t despair. One of your options is to visit a community clinic that offers low-fee treatments. A nearby dental school can also treat your teeth for free or at a low cost. If you still need financial support to treat oral health problems, talk to your dentist about the available payment options.
CareCredit is a healthcare credit card for oral treatments and procedures. This card can provide you with dental financing and is accepted by many healthcare providers, including dentists. CareCredit credit cards cover several procedures, including preventative, restorative, and cosmetic services.