Dental implant financing: options for good and bad credit scores

Implants are one of the most expensive dental procedures. Everyone deserves a beautiful and functional set of teeth, but not everyone can simply afford it. It’s worth knowing what options you have to organize a budget for this procedure.

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Not all methods are available to everyone. Some have specific conditions, for example: a good credit score or cooperation from your dentist’s office. Below you’ll find the most important, verified information on dental implant financing.

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Find the right dentist for your budget

Dental implant surgery is complicated. The person doing the job has to be knowledgeable but also manually skilled. There are over 200,000 dentists available in the U.S. How can you decide who to trust when getting dental implants? Especially with the multitude of ways to finance the procedure.

Check our new service to find a dentist in your area who accepts your preferred form of payment. Your insurance plan will also be taken into account to optimize costs.

Medical credit cards

Many medical providers are enrolled in a credit card program designated to healthcare specifically. Patients can apply for a medical credit card at the dentist’s office or online. If you choose to do the latter, make sure your doctor will accept this form of payment beforehand.

You will receive a special dental credit card that is only to be used for such needs. Medical credit cards are paid off as if they were regular ones.

Most providers require a good or even very good credit score. Some credit cards are only issued to those over 18, especially if you are applying online.

Pros

  • Often offer 0% APR during an initial, promotional period
  • Interest-free credit or preferable terms
  • Manageable repayment schedules

Cons

  • Deferred interest promotions can get very expensive if you miss the pay-by date
  • You will likely need a very good credit score
  • Your dentist’s office needs to accept this form of payment
  • Some providers have been accused of predatory lending so you must read the fine print carefully

If you find an offer with 0% APR on a medical credit card, it is a good option to go with. Remember, however, that meeting the repayment deadline is critical here.

Dr. Richard Hattaway

We often tell patients to plan on paying the amount off 1 month prior to the actual due date to avoid any possibility of additional interest charges.

After a promotional period, medical credit card interest rates are likely to be very steep, higher than with regular credit cards. If you don’t manage to pay that off in time, you will take a big hit to your credit score.

Otherwise, just use a regular credit card. The interest rates are fixed and it will be accepted in every office.

Dental loans

Medical loans come in the form of unsecured personal loans They are most often orchestrated by a third party and dedicated to healthcare.

This type of loans can be found online and at local lending institutions. The payoff period is usually 3 years or longer. It is likely that only a soft inquiry will be done, which means your credit score won’t be affected at this stage.

There are no strict guidelines as to who can apply. But if you have bad credit you may need someone to co-sign it with you.

Pros

  • Bad credit is not a deal breaker
  • Soft inquiries don’t affect your credit score
  • You can often receive the money the day you’re approved

Cons

  • High interest rates
  • Rates can rise steeply after an initial period
  • Analyzing fine print is essential
  • You may have to find someone to co-sign the loan

Medical loans are unsecured personal loans. Unsecured means you don’t put up collateral such as valuable items or real estate, as opposed to secured ones.

Home Equity Loans and Lines of Credit (HELOC)

A home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC) puts up your property as collateral. This is a second mortgage.

HELOC means you can borrow the maximum amount of what your property is worth, minus what you owe on your mortgage. The interest rates are typically a lot better than with other types of loans, around 4%-5%.

The problem is that if your home’s value changes due to the housing market, the rates can change.

To apply for HELOC you must be a homeowner with a relatively good credit score. You can set up a meeting with a representative of a lending institution to learn how to pay for dental implants this way.

Pros

  • Better rates than personal loans
  • Often tax-deductible

Cons

  • Unstable housing market can depreciate the value of your property
  • You are putting up your house as collateral
  • Credit score should be at least good

In-house payment plans

Many dental practices offer their patients payment plans, known also as in-house financing of dental implants.

These plans allow you to spread the cost of dental implants over a period of time, typically a few months. You go in, have your procedure, and pay it off over time.

The plan can be catered to the kind of work you’re having done, especially if the process, like with dental implants, takes a long time. Since this form of financing is in-house, you can expect beneficial terms. The financing may even be interest-free.

Eligibility for this option is determined by dental practices. There’s a good chance you can find information on their website. Otherwise, your dentist might inform you about forms of payment while setting up a treatment plan.

The practice might conduct a soft inquiry into your credit score.

Pros

  • Flexibility
  • Low or even 0% interest rates
  • Soft inquiries don’t affect your credit score

Cons

  • You might have to have all work done in one office

Flexible Spending Account

A Flexible Spending Account is a benefit that comes in a company’s insurance package. You can sign up through your employer. The employee decides how much is to be deducted from the pay and transferred into that account. It is generally dedicated to healthcare costs.

You can write a check or use a debit card that your insurance provider sends you. The amount that is transferred from your pay is before taxes. This means that you end up keeping more money.

Every policy is different. The best way to learn how you can use FSA funds is to contact your insurance. You will typically have a period of time during which funds can be used. If that time elapses, you lose the money for that period.

Money from your FSA has to be spent on things that are medically necessary. If the reason for getting implants is purely cosmetic, this option might not work out.

To apply, patients must be insured and have a Flexible Spending Account through their employment.

Pros

  • Money dedicated to healthcare is tax-free
  • Tax-deductibles

Cons

  • $2,700 per year limit
  • Dental work must be finished by the end of the year use-it-or lose-it date

Health Saving Account

The biggest differences between FSA and HSA is that the latter allows rollover and transfer between employers. Rollover means that the funds are still available to use after the new year. Money from your Health Saving Account can also go with you if you change your place of employment.

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Both accounts are great options to finance dental implants with bad credit. They can only be used for qualified products and services, however. Check with your HR department is it possible for you to finance dental implants this way.

Contributions to your HSA account are both pre-tax and tax-deductible, so you can save twice. It is managed through a financial institution that can provide you with a debit card. Use it to pay for qualified expenses directly at your dentist’s office.

Not everyone is eligible for an HSA. The requirement is a high deductible health plan, meaning $1,350 or more. Anyone, however, both the employee and employer, can set up such an account.

Pros

  • Tax-free
  • Tax-deductible

Cons

  • $3,500 per year limit

Retirement savings

Several 401(k) and 403(b) plans offer patients “hardship withdrawals” or loans. These are to be used on medical bills. No credit score check is required, as you are essentially borrowing from yourself.

Typical plans allow you to borrow up to 50% of what is in your savings. This, however, cannot exceed $50,000. Repayment can take as long as 5 years.

To avoid double taxation and an additional 10% tax, the unreimbursed medical expenses have to be higher than 10% of your adjusted income.

Candidates must have a retirement plan through their employer.

Pros

  • No credit check
  • Low origination fees
  • Low interest
  • Interest is accumulated in your own retirement account

Cons

  • You are using your retirement fund
  • If your employment is terminated, you must pay the loan off in 60 days
  • Repayment is taxed which means you pay double the tax for the money you borrow
  • You may not be able to contribute to your retirement savings until you repay the loan

Family loan

Dental implants finance options also include private solutions.

Family and friends can be great sources of loans. There are many benefits to this solution, for example the flexibility. But you have to be ready for your relationship with the lender to change. Some people are not comfortable borrowing money from even the most trusted friends or relatives.

You can privately draw up a contract or simply negotiate verbally. It all depends on how close you are with the person who is willing to give you money.

Pros

  • Often no interest
  • Very flexible terms
  • No credit check necessary

Cons

  • Can complicate relationships

Fundraising

Online fundraising is now simpler than ever. Popular sites include GoFundMe and FundLy. You can also ask your friends and family to contribute to your implant budget instead of giving you birthday or holiday presents.

In order to set up an online registry you can use one of the links above or research other platforms that provide such services. Most likely, you won’t need to provide more than your name, email address, and a PayPal or bank account number. Some sites allow you to sign up with Facebook.

There are no special requirements to try with fundraising.

Pros

  • No credit check
  • You don’t need to return the money
  • No interest

Cons

  • Some might find online fundraising embarrassing or kitschy

FAQ

What is the best way to finance dental implants?

The best solution might differ from one person to another. In an ideal world, every patient would simply have the cash. If you don’t have it on hand, however, there are other options.

If your credit score is good and you are sure you can make payments on time, you might want to go with a lending institution. They offer solutions like loans and credit cards. You can also take out a second mortgage on your house or borrow from your savings.

If your credit score is bad, look into fundraising or borrowing money from friends and family.

What credit score is needed for dental implants?

Requirements as to your credit score are usually determined individually. The rule of thumb is that it should be at least 600. Of course, the higher, the better.

Can I get dental implants with bad credit?

If you have bad credit you are unlikely to get a loan or qualify for a credit card. But simply checking will do no harm, as most lending institutions do no more than soft inquires and those won't make your score worse. Luckily, this is not the only option.

Solutions such as borrowing from your retirement savings as well as from your HSA or FSA don’t require a credit score check. They may be a better option for you. Otherwise try fundraising or borrowing money from family and friends.

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