Your Guide to Dental Loans & Financing

Dental care can be expensive, with some procedures running thousands of dollars, and oftentimes insurance does not cover much of the cost. While cosmetic dental work can be optional, pricey surgeries such as root canals and other procedures are necessary to eliminate aching pain and deal with unhealthy teeth and gums.

Patients can manage the cost of dental procedures several ways. Dental insurance can be helpful in some cases, but for patients left with unmanageable bills from dental work, dental loans can be a lifesaver. A crown, for example, can cost upwards of $1,000, and wisdom tooth removal can be several thousand dollars. Often, insurance will only cover a maximum of $1,500 a year for all dental work, and there are a significant number of people who don't even have dental insurance. Dental financing allow patients to make regular, manageable payments for the dental care that they receive instead of paying in one lump sum.

What is a Dental Loan?

A dental loan is a personal loan intended to pay for dental work or care. As demand for dental work has grown, more lenders are offering loans specifically for dental procedures, many of which aren't covered by insurance. Some of the work dental loans have been used to pay for include braces, wisdom teeth removal, root canals, and cosmetic gum surgery.

Dental loans often are easy to apply for and lenders can match patients with finance plans that fit their needs. Often, these loans are available to applicants with less-than-stellar credit, and they can come with low monthly payments and high approval rates. These loans are unsecured, which means they don't require collateral, but applicants will need a decent credit history.

Interest rates on dental loans are determined by the applicants' credit history and salary, and the interest rates tend to be higher because the loans are unsecured. Applicants also should expect to pay loan fees, such as processing fees and secure fees, if applying online.

Be sure to comparison shop for dental loans if you choose that route. Rates, fees, and terms of the loan will vary by lender, and you want to make sure that you get the best loan and repayment plan for your financial situation.

Dental Loans vs. Credit Cards

Credit cards are another option for paying for dental work, but they have more financial downsides than paying with a dental loan. If your limit is too low on your personal credit card, a dentist's office may offer you a supplemental card to cover the balance. Many of these cards defer interest if you pay it off within a certain number of months, but if you don't, you could be hit with high rates and back interest payments.

Next Steps If You Don't Qualify for Dental Financing

The best step to avoid high dental bills is to take care of your teeth and get regular preventative care. Regular teeth cleaning, flossing, and brushing can ward off cavities and gum issues that can later require expensive surgeries and reconstructive work.

If it's too late for preventative care, there are other options. First, ask your dentist for a reduced price. Dentists also may be willing to work with you on an in-office payment plan. You also can shop around for dentists who charge less. While this may mean not working with your regular dentist, the cost reduction could save your finances in the long run.

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