How To Pay For Dental Work With Bad Credit

How To Pay For Dental Work With Bad Credit

how to pay for dental work with bad credit. Paying for necessary but costly dental care is difficult for many people, but even more so if you have bad credit. Bad credit makes it harder to get approved for certain loans and credit card options that you’d typically turn to if you lack the funds to afford dental care. Luckily, it’s still possible to pay for dental work with bad credit. Common options include:

Read on to learn more about how to pay for dental work with bad credit.

What is dental financing?

Dental financing usually involves borrowing money needed to pay for treatment and paying it off over a set period of time. If you can’t afford a costly dental procedure or even basic routine care, you might be wondering what dental financing options are available to cover the costs. There are a few avenues to consider, including medical loans, personal loans, a standard credit card or a payment plan through your dental provider.

Medical and dental loans

A medical loan is a type of personal loan that’s used to pay for medical care. You can get a generic personal loan to fund just about any medical procedure, but many lenders also offer dental loans specifically meant for dental work. 

A dental loan is unsecured, meaning you aren’t required to provide collateral (such as your home or car) to secure funding. While this makes for a safer option if you end up defaulting, it usually requires a higher credit score in order to qualify. That said, there are still lenders who provide personal and dental loans specifically for those with poor credit—but prepare for higher origination fees and interest rates if your credit score isn’t the best.

To learn more about securing a loan with bad credit, this article can walk you through what you should know.

Dental credit card

Dental credit cards are another option for financing dental procedures. They’re a type of medical credit card that can only be used to pay for certain healthcare expenses, including dental care. These cards only work within a specific network of medical providers, so it’s important to confirm your dentist is in-network with any dental credit card you’re considering.

While dental credit cards are often favored for their swift application and approval process, most come with deferred interest—meaning you can make interest-free loan payments for a set period of time. This can work in your favor if you’re confident you can pay the entire balance in full and on time. But if you fail to pay the full balance in time or miss even a single payment along the way, a high interest rate kicks in and is applied to your entire original balance, including past payments.

Regular credit cards

It’s possible to finance dental care with a regular credit card, and many offer an introductory zero percent annual percentage rate (APR). This allows you to pay down your balance without interest during a specified time frame. The advantage of a regular credit card over a medical credit card is it doesn’t include deferred interest. However, these cards typically require good to excellent credit. 

That said, there are plenty of lenders who offer credit cards specifically for poor credit carriers. Just be sure to shop around and compare the rates of different lenders to ensure you get the best deal possible. Keep in mind that introductory APR offerings, loan terms and interest rates will vary depending on your credit score, and that it may be easier to get a secured credit card rather than an unsecured card if you have bad credit.

Dental payment plans

Some dentists offer payment plans or in-house financing through third-party lenders. If you find a dentist that provides payment plans and you can afford the monthly payments, this is a great option since you can avoid loans and financing charges altogether. 

Other dentists may work with certain lenders to provide in-house financing, and these rates and terms will vary depending on the lender. Some lenders may offer loans without a required down payment, or a lower-cost down payment than a personal loan. Some may not even require a credit check to give approval, but be sure to do your research and watch out for high interest rates if there are any. It’s best to speak with your dental provider for full details.

Can I get a dental loan with bad credit?

The answer to this depends on your personal credit score and financial situation. In general, bad credit usually makes it more challenging to secure any type of financing. If your poor credit score is due to a few late bill payments, you may have a higher chance of securing financing than if your credit score has dropped because of something like a missed mortgage payment or bankruptcy. 

That said, there are credit card and loan providers who offer financing specifically for those with bad credit. Keep in mind that most personal loans and credit cards require a credit check before you can be approved, and some lenders might deny your application or charge steep interest rates and fees if they are willing to lend to you.

Alternatives to dental loans

If you find that you’re unable to qualify for affordable financing, don’t assume it’s impossible to get the dental care you need. There are a handful of other options you can explore:

Shop around for affordable care

If the dental treatment you need isn’t an emergency, you have the advantage of time on your side—time you can spend researching more affordable alternatives. Do some research on different dentists and compare costs for the services you need, and you might be able to find a provider that fits your budget.

Another option is to search around for dental schools in your area. Some offer treatment performed by dental students under the supervision of an established dentist, and it often comes with a significantly lower price tag than what you’d find at your typical dentist’s office.

Negotiate with your dental provider

While this avenue isn’t guaranteed, you can always try negotiating payment with your dental provider. For example, if you can afford to pay part of the cost of treatment, you can see if your provider is open to negotiating the total cost. 

You can also do some research to determine the going rate of the treatment you’re after. If you find your dentist is charging more than the standard average cost of your treatment, you can attempt to negotiate a lower bill. The FAIR Health Consumer Database provides neutral information on different healthcare costs, and you can use it to search for the average cost of the procedure you need.

Ask a friend or family member to cosign a loan

While you might feel hesitant to enlist the help of family or friends when it comes to your financial situation, it can still be worth considering if you’re struggling to afford much-needed dental care. This doesn’t have to mean asking them to lend you money—an alternative approach could be asking them to cosign on a personal loan or credit card.

If you’re having trouble finding affordable financing, adding a cosigner with a strong credit score to a loan or credit card can help you secure funding you wouldn’t otherwise qualify for. This can increase your chances of being approved for loans with more favorable rates.

Maintaining your dental health is important for your overall well-being, but the steep costs are a barrier for many. If you need to finance dental treatment in order to afford required care, the financing options above can help you get the funding you need—even with a bad credit score. 

Remember to spend time weighing the pros and cons of each financing option as it applies to your financial situation, and carefully consider the different interest rates, loan terms and fees associated with each before making any commitments.

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Author J Lipsky

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