Dental work can be costly, whether its something as minor as a checkup or as major as a root canal. Even with dental insurance, important procedures and cosmetic surgery often come with hefty price tags.
If dental costs have stopped you from visiting the dentist, don’t worry: there are options to finance your dental procedures upfront so you can have any necessary work done now and pay it back later. Learn more in our guide below.
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A dental loan is a type of personal loan that is used to pay for dental surgery and other dental costs. Like many other loan types, they tend to be unsecured. This means lenders rely on your credit score, income and ability to repay your loan rather than forcing you to put up collateral like your vehicle or home equity.
When you apply for a loan, you request a specific amount to cover the cost of your dental work. If you’re approved for the loan, your funds will usually be transferred directly into your bank account, unless the lender has physical locations and you pick it up in person. You can use the money right away to finance your dental work, and you’ll need to make repayments on your loan as soon as they are due. Your loan contract will determine whether you pay weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
Since dental loans are usually unsecured loans, you can use the money for a variety of legitimate purposes. If you need a lot of work done and will be in and out of the dentist for a few months, your loan funds can be spread out to accommodate your needs. If you just need a one-off visit, you can borrow a small amount and pay it back quickly to save on interest payments.
Wisdom tooth removal
Braces or retainers
How much does dental work cost?
The cost of a procedure or surgery will depend on whether or not you have insurance coverage and what your policy covers in terms of dental work. If you don’t have dental insurance, you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for the entire cost of the procedure, however some dentists will give you a percentage off if you don’t have insurance and you are a return customer. Be sure to ask your dentist before you have the procedure done.
Here’s what you can expect to pay for some dental procedures without insurance coverage:
Teeth cleaning: around $125
Cavity filling: between $100 and $300
Wisdom tooth removal: between $300 and $800
Dental crown: between $500 and $2,500 per tooth
Root canal: between $750 and $2,500 per tooth
7 ways to pay for dental work
Before applying for a loan, it’s important to know what types of financing are available to you. If you’re looking to apply for a dental loan, you can usually consider the following:
In-house payment plan. Some dentists offer interest-free payment plans, especially for dental work that involves return visits. Orthodontists often provide financing for braces. However, not all dental practices offer payment plans, and some procedures may not be eligible. Consider comparing local dentists to find one that is willing to work with your budget.
Specialist dental loan. There are some lenders that offer loans specifically designed to cover dentistry that can help you finance a range of procedures.
Personal loan. Many personal loans can be used to cover medical costs, including dental work. You can typically borrow between $1,000 and $35,000 with rates ranging from 6% to 36%.
Overdraft. An overdraft is where the bank allows you to overdraw your account up to a certain limit. You’re able to withdraw anywhere up to and including this limit and then repay it over time at a fixed interest rate.
Credit card. Depending on the limit of your card, you may be able to cover the costs of your dental visit. Just keep in mind that the rate of interest on your credit card is likely to be higher than a personal loan.
Bad credit personal loan. These loans, also called short-term or payday loans, are usually for amounts between $100 and $5,000 and are designed for people with bad or no credit history. This type of loan may be an option if you require financing for emergency dental surgery. With excruciatingly high interest rates, this type of loan should be a last resort.
Representative example: Susan loses a tooth
Susan was eating a rather tough piece of steak and upon biting into it, realized she had lost a tooth. The tooth had been rotting for some time, so this came as no surprise to Susan. But with no insurance coverage, Susan was slightly worried about footing the bill for a new tooth. She headed to her local dentist and discovered that the new tooth would cost her $2,700.00. She realized she would need to take out a loan to cover the cost, as she didn’t want to be toothless for a prolonged period of time. Heading to her local bank, Susan was offered a $2,700.00 personal loan with a competitive interest rate and a 2 year loan term.
Cost of tooth implant
Interest rate (APR)
Origination fee of 3% ($81.00)
Total loan cost
*The information in this example, including rates, fees and terms, is provided as a representative transaction. The actual cost of the product may vary depending on the retailer, the product specs and other factors.
How to compare dental loans
Before taking out a loan, it’s important to identify what you’re looking for in order to find the right loan for you. Here are some questions to ask yourself when comparing lenders and loans:
What is my credit like? Check the eligibility criteria offered by lenders and make sure your credit score is above their minimum. Some lenders will require you to have a good to excellent credit score, which is usually over 650, while others will cater to those with fair to poor credit.
What repayments can I afford? You should be able to work out a rough idea of what your repayments will be based on the loan’s interest rate and ongoing fees. See if this repayment schedule will work with your monthly budget. If you don’t think you can make the loan repayments, don’t apply for the loan.
How much do I need to borrow? Lenders sometimes set minimum and maximum restrictions on how much you can borrow with certain loans, so check to see these limits before you apply. Keep in mind you may not be approved for the full amount you want, regardless of whether it’s below their maximum amount offered, as this will depend on your income and credit history. Only borrow exactly what you need since you’ll be paying interest on the borrowed amount.
When do I need the money? Some lenders will be able to give you the funds on the same day you apply or usually by the next business day. However, other lenders may take between five to seven days to disburse your funds. If you need the money in a rush, be sure to compare lenders who offer quick turnaround times.
How to apply
If you’d like to apply for a personal loan to finance your dental bills, you should begin by comparing your loan options. Once you find a suitable lender, you will need to make sure you meet the eligibility requirements. You will usually need to meet the following requirements, however, keep in mind requirements may vary between lenders:
Be 18 years of age, or the age of majority in your province or territory
Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident with a valid Canadian address
Have a working bank account
Have a steady source of income
If you meet the requirements of the lender, you can proceed to their website to apply online for the loan. The process usually takes less than ten minutes, if you have the necessary information on hand, including your contact, employment and banking details. Alternatively, you can sometimes apply over the phone or in person if the lender has physical branch locations.
Dental work can often be expensive, but it doesn’t mean that you have to skip the dentist altogether. With financing options available to people with all types of credit, be sure to compare your loan options and choose a lender that offers you competitive interest rates and favourable loan terms. You can keep your mouth healthy and your budget on track.
Frequently asked questions
Most likely, yes. Lenders don’t usually exclude certain procedures, as long as the procedure was performed by a reputable medical professional. You can check the lender’s website before applying or call their customer service line to be sure.
Dental loans are usually meant to pay the facility or dentist that’s owed. If your bill has been sent to collections, a debt consolidation loan may be more fitting. Check with the lender you’re interested in to get more information.
Aliyyah Camp is a writer and personal finance blogger who helps readers compare personal, student, car and business loans. Aliyyah earned a BA in communication from the University of Pennsylvania and is based in New York, where she enjoys movies and running outdoors.
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