Dental work can be expensive, but taking care of it sooner rather than later can end up saving you money in the long run. Taking care of smaller issues early on can keep you from paying for more expensive repairs down the road, but it can be hard to come up with the money when you’re strapped for cash. Luckily, you can pay for dental work with the help of dental financing and dental loans, which will help you cover root canals, implants, dentures or a different procedure completely. Getting a loan for dental work can help pay for your oral hygiene care when you don’t have the cash on hand to swing it.
Still, dental financing may not be the best route for everyone. If you want to take out a dental loan, assess your situation, peruse other financing options and make sure that it’s the right choice for you. Dental loans can be a useful tool, but only if the debt it generates is manageable and the best choice for your situation.
What is a dental loan?
Generally, dental loans are personal loans that are designed to pay for dental work. These types of loans often have fixed amounts and rates, though they can have fluctuating interest or terms, too. These loans are applied for through lenders and the terms are often dependent on your overall credit picture. If you’re unsure about using a personal loan in such a manner, it may be work looking over a guide to medical loans to see why this path makes sense for so many people.
How to get a dental loan
Getting a dental loan can be as easy as contacting your lender and applying, but you’ll have a better chance of getting good interest rates — and have a clearer idea of what you’re getting into — if you do a little shopping around first. It’s best to compare rates and terms between different lenders any time you are going to be taking out a loan. When researching potential dental loans, it’s essential to find the best rates as part of the process.
Alternatives to a dental loan
When determining how to pay for dental work, it makes sense to see how you can lower or mitigate the cost before resorting to financing. Start by looking into:
Some dental offices may offer special rates depending on your circumstances, so inquire with your dental office as to whether they offer in-house financing for expensive procedures. These type of installment loans often come with no or low interest rates, so it can save you a ton of money if your dentist offers this service.
Medical credit cards
You may be able to qualify for a medical credit card if your health provider accepts this type of payment. Medical credit cards, are used to cover medical and dental expenses, and in many cases medical providers will even offer special financing terms, like 0% interest for a span of time. To learn more about medical credit cards, make sure to read up on information about covering medical expenses with credit cards.
Many dental schools will offer dental care to the public at a reduced rate, but it can take a while to get in, as most of these schools have high demand for their dental work. Check to see if there’s a dental school near you that offers these services.
Save for the procedure
It will take longer to get treatment, but if the dental procedure you need is elective or can be put off for a while, it may be wise to save for the treatment instead of financing it. Saving the money to pay up front will keep you from paying interest on a loan or credit card.
Not all dental offices have the same prices for the same procedures, so shop around and find a reputable dentist you trust that can do the work for a lower price. You can also try to negotiate with your dentist, though there’s no guarantee they will do your work for a reduced rate. It never hurts to ask, though.
Dental financing with bad credit
Financing can be tricky when you’re dealing with less than ideal credit, but with a little work, it may be possible to find a lender that will offer you financing. To find a lender for dental financing with bad credit, you may want to:
1. Review your credit reports
All U.S. citizens are entitled to one free credit report per year from the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and Transunion. Look through your credit report for discrepancies or incorrect past due or defaulted accounts that are lowering your credit score. If you do find errors in your credit report, you’ll want to dispute them with the credit bureaus and/or the creditors to get them off your reports.
2. Take steps to improve your credit
If the dental work isn’t pressing, you can spend some time and effort on improving your credit score before shopping for a dental loan. Try to pay down your current debt, which can in some cases vastly improve your credit score, and do whatever else you can to get your credit in shape before looking at financing. Higher credit scores will equal better financing terms, which will save you money on interest.
3. Shop around for the right lender
Trying to find a dental loan when you have bad credit can be frustrating, but there are options out there if you know where to look. Some lenders like LendingClub and Avant are willing to work with borrowers who have subpar credit, though your interest rates may be higher because of it.
Tips to save on dental work
- Preventative care: Preventative care is the number one way to save on dental work. Make sure you’re taking care of your teeth and getting regular checkups each year to catch any potential issues before they compound.
- Discount plans: Some dental offices offer dental discount plans to patients who are lower income or are in need of help, and you may qualify depending on your situation. Ask around and find out if any dentists in your area offer low cost dental care for low income families. You may get lucky and find a provider who can help for much less than expected.
- Dental insurance: You can buy dental insurance even if it’s not offered by your employer. These plans are significantly cheaper than medical plans, and they’ll cover some or all of the costs for the more routine dental procedures.
- Cash discounts: Some dental offices will offer cash discounts if you pay in cash the day of your procedure. You’ll have to inquire at your specific dentist office, but it’s worth asking.
- Dental schools: As mentioned, one of the best ways to save on dental work is to find a dental school that offers dental care to the public. These schools allow the students to perform your dental work while under the supervision of their instructors.
The bottom line
Dental work can be daunting, especially when you need a loan to pay for it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember that there are ways to finance your dental work, even if you have bad credit. With planning and determination you can find the financing that works best for you.