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Dental Financing: Best Loans for Dental Costs

Find lenders that offer dental loans, and compare other options to help pay for dental work.

By
Chanell Alexander
and
Dec 21, 2022

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Dental Financing: Best Loans for Dental Costs

Lender
NerdWallet Rating
Est. APR
Loan amount
Min. credit score
Learn more
Upgrade

Upgrade

8.49-35.99%

$1,000-$50,000

560

Lending Club

LendingClub

4.5
/5
Best for Dental loans for good credit

9.57-35.99%

$1,000-$40,000

600

Upstart

Upstart

4.5
/5
Best for Dental loans for thin credit

4.60-35.99%

$1,000-$50,000

None

Lightstream

LightStream

4.5
/5
Best for Large dental loans

7.99-25.49%

$5,000-$100,000

660

RocketLoans

Rocket Loans

4.0
/5
Best for Dental loans for fast funding

9.12-29.99%

$2,000-$45,000

640

Our pick for

Dental loans for good credit

Lending Club
Check Rateon NerdWallet
on NerdWallet
Lending Club

LendingClub

4.5
Est. APR

9.57-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$40,000

Min. credit score

600

Our pick for

Dental loans for bad credit

Our pick for

Dental loans for thin credit

Upstart
Upstart

Upstart

Est. APR

4.60-35.99%

Loan amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. credit score

None

Our pick for

Large dental loans

Lightstream
Lightstream

LightStream

Est. APR

7.99-25.49%

Loan amount

$5,000-$100,000

Min. credit score

660

Our pick for

Dental loans for fast funding

RocketLoans
RocketLoans

Rocket Loans

Est. APR

9.12-29.99%

Loan amount

$2,000-$45,000

Min. credit score

640

How do dental loans work?

A dental loan can be a fast and flexible way to pay for dental expenses not covered by insurance. Among the procedures a dental loan might cover are:

  • Dental implants.

  • Veneers.

  • Teeth aligners.

  • Braces.

  • Dental crowns.

  • Emergency procedures.

Online lenders, some banks and some credit unions offer personal loans that can be used for any purpose, including dental care. Each type of lender has different borrower requirements, rates and loan terms, so it’s best to pre-qualify with multiple lenders and compare your options. Personal loan rates generally range from 6% to 36%, and terms can be two to seven years.

Pre-qualify with NerdWallet to see your potential loan offers and find the loan with monthly payments that fit in your budget.

To qualify you, lenders consider your credit score, income and existing debts. If approved for a dental loan, you’ll receive the money in a lump sum in your bank account, typically within a few days. You then use the loan to pay for your dental or orthodontic care. Going forward, you’ll make fixed monthly payments to your lender until the end of the contract term.

» MORE: Personal loans for dental cosmetic surgery

How to compare personal loans for dental work

Annual percentage rate and fees. A personal loan's APR can be higher than its interest rate because it reflects the entire cost of a loan, including the interest rate and any fees. Some lenders charge origination fees that can range from 1% to 10% of the loan amount. Other possible fees include late payment and returned payment fees.

Borrower requirements. Some lenders have minimum income or credit score requirements. Or they may allow a maximum amount of debt compared to your income, expressed as a debt-to-income ratio.

Time to fund. While some lenders offer same-day funding, others can take up to a week to fund. You can speed up the application process by gathering all the required documents before applying and by promptly responding to lender questions.

Repayment term. A longer loan term can mean smaller monthly payments, but it can also result in more interest over the life of the loan.

For example, a $2,500 loan with a five-year term and 8% APR will require a $50 monthly payment and cost $541 in total interest. The same loan with a seven-year term would put the monthly payment at $39, but cost $773 in interest.

A personal loan calculator can help you decide what repayment term fits best with your budget

Dental loans for bad credit

If you have fair or bad credit (a score of 689 or below), you may still be able to get a loan for dental work; however, you’ll likely get a rate that’s on the high end of a lender’s APR range. If you have bad credit and decide to pursue a dental loan, consider a co-signed loan to potentially receive a lower rate.

Avoid loans with APRs above 36%, which is the maximum rate deemed affordable by financial experts and consumer advocates. A three-year, $3,000 loan with a 36% APR costs almost $2,000 in interest.

Alternative dental financing options

Personal loans are low on the list of inexpensive ways to finance dental work, says Eric Simonson, a Minneapolis-based financial planner and CEO of Abundo Wealth. He recommends weighing other options before going with a personal loan.

Here are some other ways to fund dental work:

Financing through your dentist. Some dentists offer an in-house payment plan that you can sign up for when faced with a big bill. Unlike regular dental insurance, you can take advantage of these plans when you learn you need expensive work done, Simonson says. They can be a good option if you don’t have insurance or would rather make monthly payments toward the procedure.

You may also be able to negotiate a lower cost with your provider. Check the prices in your area using a site like fairhealthconsumer.org, and see how your dentist's costs compare.

Dental school. Dental schools offer procedures at reduced prices so students can get experience under the supervision of skilled dentists. You can check the American Dental Association’s list of dental programs to see whether there’s a school near you.

Medical credit card. Some offices offer financing through a medical credit card, like CareCredit. The standard APR for CareCredit financing is 26.99%, but some dental providers may offer 0% interest if you pay the full balance by the end of the term. CareCredit offers terms of six, 12, 18 and 24 months. Be sure to ask your dental care provider if 0% financing is available as some locations may not participate in the promotion.

0% credit card. If you have good or excellent credit (a score of 690 or above), you might qualify for a 0% APR credit card. These cards have an introductory period — usually 15 to 18 months — when you won’t accrue interest on purchases. If you can pay off your balance within the specified time, you’ll pay for the procedure interest-free.

Dental savings plan. A dental savings plan could be an affordable option to cover dental costs, as they allow you to pay an annual fee to receive discounts from dentists in the plan’s network. You can get a dental savings plan through some insurance companies.

Last updated on December 21, 2022

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 technology companies and financial institutions. We collect over 50 data points from each lender and cross-check company websites, earnings reports and other public documents to confirm product details. We may also go through a lender’s pre-qualification flow and follow up with company representatives. NerdWallet writers and editors conduct a full fact check and update annually, but also make updates throughout the year as necessary.

Our star ratings award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks to pre-qualify, competitive interest rates and no fees, transparency of rates and terms, flexible payment options, fast funding times, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. Our ratings award fewer points to lenders with practices that may make a loan difficult to repay on time, such as charging high annual percentage rates (above 36%), underwriting that does not adequately assess consumers’ ability to repay and lack of credit-building help. We also consider regulatory actions filed by agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We weigh these factors based on our assessment of which are the most important to consumers and how meaningfully they impact consumers’ experiences.

NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read more about our ratings methodologies for personal loans and our editorial guidelines.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Dental Financing: Best Loans for Dental Costs

  • LendingClub: Best for Dental loans for good credit
  • Upgrade: Best for Dental loans for bad credit
  • Upstart: Best for Dental loans for thin credit
  • LightStream: Best for Large dental loans
  • Rocket Loans: Best for Dental loans for fast funding

Frequently asked questions

  • Each lender has its own minimum credit score requirement. Typically, good- or excellent-credit borrowers receive the best rates on personal loans. If you have fair or bad credit, look for lenders that cater to borrowers with low credit scores.

  • Both options can be expensive ways to finance dental work, but it helps to consider which one offers the lowest APR and has monthly payments that fit in your budget.

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