If a recent trip to the dentist left pains in your mouth and your wallet, you may want to consider dental financing options to help cover the costs of your visit. As dental care costs continue to rise, loans for dentists are increasingly common, and many lenders are paving the way for no-hassle loans for dental work.
To help you compare options for some of the best dental loans, we used the SimpleScore to provide apples-to-apples dental loans reviews of our top picks by comparing interest rates, loan amounts, customer satisfaction, support and fees for major dental loan providers.
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The 6 best dental loans of 2020
- Best for Joint Applicants: Prosper
- Best for Rate Guarantee: LightStream
- Best for Emergencies: OneMain
- Best for Fast Funding: Avant
- Best for No Fees: SoFi
- Best Mobile Account Management: Discover
Best dental loans at a glance
|Prosper||7.95%–35.99%||$2,000–$40,000||3 or 5 years||3.2/5|
*Rates accurate as of August, 2020
Best for joint applicants – Prosper
Get tailored loan features to meet your financial and dental needs.
Our Two Cents — If you're unlucky enough to need more than two teeth pulled, Prosper can help, even if you're lucky enough to have another borrower on your side.
Best for rate guarantee – LightStream
You’ll be satisfied with your loan from LightStream — the lender guarantees it.
Our Two Cents — If guarantees make you feel warm and fuzzy, LightStream offers one of the best guarantees in the personal loan space.
Best for emergencies – OneMain
A great alternative for borrowers with credit challenges, but take note of the higher APRs.
Our Two Cents — That emergency root canal just can't wait, and OneMain won't make you wait for your emergency dental loan, either.
Best for fast funding – Avant
Avant offers a clear and simple funding option delivered straight to your bank account.
Our Two Cents — Avant might be an avant-garde dental loan provider, but don't mistake its fashionable lending as over-the-top or unnecessary.
Best for no fees – SoFi
Join the SoFi club when you take out a dental loan with this online lender.
Our Two Cents — Dental financing can be so easy with SoFi. Unlike missing your next teeth cleaning, there's no penalties for missing a payment.
Best mobile account management – Discover
No origination fees and a convenient mobile app make Discover a top dental lender.
Our Two Cents — Although it doesn’t offer the highest loan amounts or lowest APR, Discover’s reputation for customer service and convenient mobile options make this lender a solid choice for dental financing.
What is a dental loan?
Dental work can be expensive, especially if you need more than just the occasional filling. Even if you have insurance, most dental insurers cap the coverage amount at 50% of the procedure costs. This can leave you strapped with high dental bills and out-of-pocket expenses.
A dental loan can help cover these costs without having to choose between your dental care and your regular monthly bills. A dental loan is an unsecured personal loan that can help you finance dental procedures that aren’t entirely covered by your dental insurance. These loans do tend to have higher interest rates than other loans, such as mortgage or auto loans, but they can be less expensive than floating the bill on your credit cards.
How dental loans work
Dental loans work much like any other personal loan; you apply with a lender and if you are approved for a loan, the lender will issue you a check or direct deposit the funds in your account. Once you have the funds, you can pay your dentist for any work needed.
Since dental loans can be quite costly, it’s worth the time to shop around with different lenders and compare your loan options. Not every lender will grant a personal loan for the purpose of dental work, but most will. Be sure to disclose the reason and amount of your need for the most efficient loan processing. Before you apply, compare the loan terms and rates to determine which loan option will be the most cost-effective in the long run.
[Related: How to Get a Loan With Bad Credit]
Although you probably won’t need $100,000 worth of dental credit, it’s nice to know that a lender is flexible. With dental loans, the minimum loan amount is also a consideration as you might end up having to borrow more than you actually need for a smaller amount of dental work, especially if your insurance covers part of the cost.
Since the repayment terms partially determine your monthly repayment amount, look for a lender that offers flexible terms. This includes both the length of time offered for repayment and the ability to repay the loan early without accruing additional fees. Most lenders offer repayment terms of 3 to 5 years, so lenders that allow longer terms can be the key to arranging an affordable monthly payment amount.
Paying back the loan
After taking out a dental loan, you’ll immediately begin making monthly payments unless the lender offers a promotional grace period. Different lenders will also accept different payment methods, including autopay, online payments or even in-person at a retail location. Be sure you know the payment options available so you can avoid any unpleasant surprises and late payment penalties.
How to choose the best dental loan for you
Choosing the best dental loan for your unique situation begins with a detailed understanding of your needs and ability to repay any amount borrowed. To narrow down the list of available lenders, complete the following steps:
- Determine your need. If your chosen lender doesn’t offer loans in the amount you need, it may be time to look elsewhere.
- Create a lender comparison. Before completing your first application, you should know which lenders offer the best rates and terms. For any lender you are considering, visit each website and gather details on the average loan rates, amounts and term lengths to see which lenders offer the most cost-effective financing.
- Complete the application process. Submit all required documentation, references and personal information according to your top lender’s requirements. Many lenders offer easy online applications that take only a few minutes if your documents are prepared.
- Once approved, review the terms and conditions. You won’t know your exact loan amount, interest rate, repayment terms and monthly payment amount until you have been successfully approved with a lender. Even if you are approved, you are not obligated to accept the loan — review the terms and conditions carefully to make sure there are no red flags or unpleasant surprises before you sign the agreement.
- Sign the final paperwork on your top choice. If you apply and are approved for multiple loans, compare the rates and terms to find the loan that best fits your needs. Sign and return the final paperwork for your top choice in a timely manner; most loan approvals have a limited window of time before they expire.
Dental loan FAQs
What are the alternatives to dental loans?
If you’d like to avoid the higher interest rates of a dental loan, try asking your dentist for an in-house payment plan. The repayment terms might not be as long, but dentists’ offices are often willing to create a no-interest payment plan to help customers afford necessary treatments.
When should I use a dental loan?
Customers with decent credit may find it is less expensive to finance dental work with a dental loan than with credit cards. Dental loans often have lower interest rates than those on traditional credit cards, so borrowers who can get approved at the lower interest rates should use a loan for dental work to finance any out-of-pocket costs and save money on interest.
Are there any dental loans available for people with bad credit?
There are many bad credit personal loan options available, including some that don’t require collateral. In addition, some dental offices offer in-house financing options that don’t require good credit, such as credit cards restricted to healthcare use or short-term payment plans.
Too long, didn’t read?
Different dental financing companies will offer varying APRs, loan terms and amounts. By outlining your needs and preferences in working with a lender, you can get a loan for financing dental work that covers your out-of-pocket costs without getting stuck with the higher rates charged by most credit card companies.
The SimpleScore is our proprietary scoring metric to compare products and services at The Simple Dollar in a transparent, evidence-based way. Our editorial team identifies five quantifiable aspects to compare for every brand, determines the rating criteria for each aspect score, then averages the five aspect scores to produce a single SimpleScore. For dental loans, we compared interest rates, loan amounts, customer satisfaction, support and fees for every major lender. Our ratings are meant to be a directional tool to help you in the process of choosing a dental loan provider. Be sure to continue your research and shop around for the best dental loan that fits your specific needs.
We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the dental loans we recommend. Contact us at email@example.com with comments or questions.