By Mark Kelsey Insurance
Industry Expert & Author
In this article
Things to do before financing a dental procedure
How to finance a dental procedure
Dental procedures can be expensive — and the costs increase every year. In fact, dental procedure costs increased 23 percent (adjusted for inflation) from 1996 to 2015, according to a Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality report. Combined with the general price inflation experienced in the post-COVID pandemic, family budgets are stretched thin and there is the temptation to delay important dental care. Such delays, though, risk harm to a person’s oral health as well as the prospect of even more expensive care in the future. Dental insurance can help protect you from significant dental costs. However, in the event you’re uninsured (or under-insured with coverage that leaves the person exposed to high out-of-pocket costs), you may need to consider how to pay for treatment immediately even if you lack the resources.
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Things to Do before Financing a Dental Procedure
Before exploring financing options, you should take the following steps:
Investigate whether the dental procedure you need can be obtained for less money from a dental school or a dental charity
If a dental school or dental charity is not an option, evaluate the procedure costs from the perspective of dental insurance
If you are insured, make certain your price quote is from an in-network dentist and that you’ve received a second opinion and price quote from a second in-network dentist
Assuming you have confirmed the need for the dental treatment and the lowest available cost is beyond your ability to pay in full, it is time to consider financing options.
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How to Finance a Dental Procedure
Financing a dental procedure typically increases overall cost because it combines the original price of the treatment along with interest charges. The easiest way to finance a dental procedure is through the use of a credit card but credit card interest rates can be quite expensive. Consequently, we recommend the following steps:
Ask your dentist if he or she offers a payment plan for your dental procedure
If a dental payment plan is available, calculate the total cost of the financing under the plan by multiplying the monthly payment amount by the number of payments the payment plan requires. If there are any additional fees, that amount should be added to the total cost of the payment plan
Compare the total cost of the procedure using a payment plan to the cost of paying for your procedure by credit card. You can calculate the total cost of paying by credit card using BankRate’s Credit Card Calculator
If the dental plan provides lower interest costs than the credit card while allowing for affordable monthly payments, ask for a formal agreement documenting the terms of the dental payment plan
There are other ways to pay for an expensive dental treatment. You can visit your bank or credit union and ask for the terms of a consumer loan. If you qualify for Medicaid, you should contact the program and see if your state covers dental care for adults. Another option is to contact a community clinic to see if they can refer you to a low-cost dental provider.
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