Dental work can be costly. Whether you’re going for a check-up or more extensive reconstructive or cosmetic surgery, the bill may be outside your budget.
However, if the dental work is necessary or elective, you should know there are finance options available. Take a look at your alternatives for a dental loan, what each involves and whether it might work for you.
⚠️ Warning: be cautious with short-term loans
If you're experiencing financial hardship and would like to speak to someone for free financial counselling, you can call the MoneyTalks helpline operated by FinCap on 0800 345 123. It is open from 8:00am to 5pm, Monday to Friday and 10am to 2pm Saturday. When comparing short term loans, ensure you take into consideration any fees, charges and rates you may be charged.
Alternatives to short-term loans
Consider these alternatives before applying for a payday loan:
- Use online Government resources. The Commerce Commission New Zealand website explains how loans works and what to be aware of when borrowing from a lender.
- Payment plans. Talk to your electricity, gas, phone or water provider to see if you can work out a payment plan or receive an extension on your due date if you’re behind on payments.
- Contact your creditors. Speak with creditors about extending the due date of your payment, or working out a new payment plan that works for both of you.
Seek personal loans elsewhere. Consider a small personal loan from a bank or a credit union. You may qualify for a loan with much lower interest rates than those offered by payday loan companies.
- Pay with credit card. Consider paying with your credit card to cover your emergency bills or payments. This is not a long term solution, as you’ll need to pay off the balance as soon as possible, but it’s an alternative to a short term loan with high – and immediate – interest rates.
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A dental loan is a type of personal loan used to pay for dental surgery and other dental costs. Like many medical loans, they tend to be unsecured. This means lenders rely on your credit score and ability to repay rather than requiring you to supply collateral.
A bank or lender allows you to borrow money to cover the costs of dental surgery or other dental costs. Depending on the type of loan you choose, you may be able to borrow as little as $100 or as much as $50,000.
Usually, the higher the loan amount, the longer you have to pay it back. Loan terms vary from between 2 days to seven years, or if you opt to use a credit card, you can take as long as you like.
How much does dental work cost?
Most people know dental work can be expensive, but how much does a visit to the dentist cost? For preventative treatment, i.e. when you visit the dentist for a check-up, the cost is approximately $85 to $120 (with a scale and polish). For fillings, you will pay anything from $110 to $185 depending on the material used; for extractions, you’re looking at $170 to $220, and for full surgical and restorative work, the bill could be anywhere from $3,000. Braces can cost anywhere between $7,000 and $12,000 and if you have three kids needing them, well – you do the maths!
Before applying for a dental loan, it’s vital to know the choices available to you. There are a few options to consider:
- Secured loan. A secured personal loan is usually used to finance a car purchase, but some lenders will let you use the money for other purchases. You need to attach an asset, that is of equal or higher value than the loan amount, and if you default the lender will repossess the asset. Secured loans often come with lower rates because the lender is taking less of a risk.
- Unsecured loan. This type of loan does not require you to use an asset as a guarantee; therefore it may come with higher rates as the lender is taking on a more significant risk. With unsecured loans, you can usually borrow between $1,000 and $70,000 and use the loan amount for any purpose.
- Short-term loan. These loans, also called payday loans, are usually for amounts between $100 and $2,000 and may be an option if you need finance for emergency dental surgery. Payday lenders typically offer quick turnaround times, with some sending you the money within 60 minutes. Please bear in mind that the repayment period is relatively short, usually between 2 days and one year.
- A line of credit or overdraft. A line of credit or overdraft is where the bank allows you to overdraw your account up to a specific limit. You can redraw anywhere up to this limit, then repay it over time at a fixed rate of interest.
- Credit card. You also have the option of using your credit card to pay for dental work. Depending on your card’s limit, you may be able to cover the cost of surgery or other visits and check-ups. However, the rate of interest on your credit card is likely to be higher than the rate on offer from personal loans. Also, with no set repayment period, you may fall into debt if you do not keep on top of the payments.
- Specialist dental loan. Some lenders tailor loans specifically for the dental industry and can help finance a range of procedures. Specialist loans may include payment plans through your dentist, and third-party providers.
Here are some questions that can help you come to a decision:
- What repayments can I afford? Depending on whether the rate on offer is fixed or variable, you can work out a rough idea of what your payments will be, based on the loan’s interest rate and ongoing fees. See if this amount will work with your budget.
- How much do I need to borrow? With specific loan products, lenders place restrictions on how much you can borrow, so check the provider’s minimum and maximum amounts before you apply. Remember, you may not receive approval for the full sum of money, regardless of whether it’s below the provider’s maximum, as it depends on your income and credit history.
- When do I need the money? Different lenders’ turnaround times vary, so it may be worth talking to them to find out when you can expect approval. If you need the money rapidly, you might want to consider a payday loan or check to see if your bank offers same-day loans for existing customers.
- What is the status of my credit history? If you have any negative marks on your credit file, it will restrict the kind of finance you can access. Check the eligibility criteria of each lender, or you may want to consider a payday provider.
The application process differs according to the lender you choose, as will the rules for eligibility. If you find a loan you wish to apply for, click “Go to Site” in the table above to start the application process and discover the lender’s criteria and the documents you need.