Learn about dental financing options.
Things to know about dental credit cards.
Should you pay for dentistry with your credit card.
Understanding CareCredit as a financing option.
The Basics of Dental FinancingFind out what your options are to finance dental work, how it works in conjunction with insurance, and things to consider when shopping for financing.
More people today than ever have dental loans, and there is a reason why. There are many companies out there that realize paying the dental bill with cash only is not the cheapest thing to do. Understanding this, they offer you a way to finance your dental plan without breaking the bank. By paying on a month to month basis, insurance companies let you see the dentist and have your procedures done without spending as much money as you would by paying cash. Even if you have poor credit, they are willing to finance you for a wide variety of procedures, including professional teeth whitening, veneers or getting braces, which are all considered cosmetic dental work, and not covered by dental insurance. Health insurance companies may also restrict coverage for some pre-existing conditions like missing a tooth. These are the reasons for people to opt for a dental loan, whether or not they have dental insurance.
Even with insurance, dental work can be extremely expensive. Dental insurance makes you see the dentist twice a year for regular checkups since it’s free. Everything other than that is going to take a chunk of money out of your wallet. Dental insurance companies usually work on a 100-80-50 plan. One hundred in this formula means that 100% of the cost is covered, and that refers to these regular checkups and cleanings, which is considered preventive and diagnostic care. 80% coverage is on basic procedures such as fillings and root canals. Major procedures, such as crowns and bridges, are covered only 50%, and you shouldn’t forget about the annual limit to what cost the insurance covers. This limit is usually $1,500, and any cost above that will have to come directly out of your pocket.
The National Association of Dental Plans estimates that an individual policy from costs about $350 a year1, while coverage provided from employers costs from $168 to $366, according to DentalPlans.com2. The cost of dental insurance is not cheap, especially if it’s not provided through employee or group policies. On top of that, average out of pocket dental expenses for Americans were $544 in 2013, according to American Dental Association3. As you can see, or have even previously experienced, dental insurance doesn’t save you from towering costs of dental procedures you might need.
Dental financing offers you loans for dental procedures, such as gum surgery, root canals, tooth whitening, crowns, braces, etc. Even if you don’t have insurance, there are discount programs available for you. According to the National Association of Dental Plans4, about 130 million Americans don’t have dental insurance. Those without insurance are more likely to have not only problems with their teeth, but also other medical problems. Those people are 67% more likely to have heart disease, and 29% more likely to have diabetes5. Not having dental insurance means you are less likely to visit the dentist and get preventive care.
Whichever option you decide for, make sure that you are proactive and regularly brush your teeth, and use floss. In case of a dental emergency, call 1-800-336-8478 and our referral specialists will help you find a local dentist.
Should I get a dental credit card?Important things to know before considering a dental credit card.
Dental credit cards, like the CareCredit card, may sometimes seem like the only option, especially if the limit on your credit card is low, but we advise you against getting one and we will tell you why. They are not universally accepted, meaning not every dental office you go to will accept it. Even if they accept the credit card, it’s not sure whether they will accept it for every procedure. Another issue with a dental credit card is that applying for one may negatively impact your credit score. This is especially true if you have a small income. Since the limit assigned to the credit card will be low, paying for one expensive procedure can seriously hurt your credit score. One of the bigger issues with these credit cards is they have hidden fees and charges. Last but not least, the interest rates are very high, making your procedure cost way more than you expected.
Should I use my credit card to pay for my teeth?Summing up the pros and cons of using your credit card to pay for emergency dental work.
There is always a question if you should use a credit card or not. The problem with credit cards is that you have to pay interest on them. Before deciding whether to use one, you should ask your dentist to estimate the cost of the procedure you need. Next, you can ask if any dental work can be delayed. Cracked teeth or fillings should be done right away, because there is a risk your tooth might get much worse, and make the dental bill even higher than it was. Some procedures don’t have to be done right away, so you can think about postponing them to a later time. If you’re adamant on paying with a credit card, you can look around for new credit cards with special offers like zero interest for the first two years. It is better to use one of those cards, to postpone paying interest, than to use your own credit card. Be sure to carefully examine the contract, otherwise you might be paying very high interest after the introductory zero percent, making it even more expensive than if you’ve used your own credit card. A great number of dentists work closely together with loan companies, especially designed for dental work, and they are able to help you with the paperwork needed to get a loan. To sum it up, if you don’t want to get a dental loan, and decide to pay with a credit card, it might be better to get a new credit card especially designed to pay off your dental work.
What is CareCredit?Learn how CareCredit works, and find out whether it may be the right option for you.
CareCredit helps consumers with paying their dental bills. It is similar to a credit card in some ways, but the main difference is that there is no interest on a CareCredit card unless you don’t pay in the agreed upon time. These cards work in a way where you can pay for your treatment over a period over 6, 12, 18 or more months. Depending on your provider, there will be no interest or it will be low. The catch is that you have to pay the full amount until the end of your billing cycle. It the payment is due, and you still haven’t paid the full balance, you will be charged interest not only for the amount you haven’t paid, but from the time you have made your purchase. Not paying in full until the due date can make CareCredit more expensive than using your normal credit card with interest.
Not all dentists accept CareCredit, so you should either ask the dentist about it before you make an appointment, or if you’re calling us, tell our dental referral agents, and we will locate an emergency dentist for you that helps with financing. Another option for you is to go to CareCredit website and look up providers near you that accept the card. CareCredit is a good way to make your dental expense more manageable, but like with all credit cards, make sure you read what you’re signing well and take note of how much interest you will have to pay during the agreed upon time, and what happens if you don’t pay in full.
- National Association of Dental Plans (2017). Dental Benefits Basics. Retrieved from http://www.nadp.org/Dental_Benefits_Basics/Dental_BB_8.aspx
- DentalPlans.com (2018). Dental Insurance That Covers Everything? Retrieved from https://www.dentalplans.com/dental-information/dental-insurance/dental-insurance-that-covers-everything
- Thomas Wall, M.A., M.B.A., Albert Guay, D.M.D. (2013). The Per-Patient Cost of Dental Care, 2013: A Look Under the Hood. Retrieved from http://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Science%20and%20Research/HPI/Files/HPIBrief_0316_4.pdf
- National Association of Dental Plans (2009). Dental Benefits Improve Access to Dental Care. Retrieved from http://www.nadp.org/Libraries/HCR_Documents/nadphcr-dentalbenefitsimproveaccesstocare-3-28-09.sflb.ashx
- National Association of Dental Plans (2017). Who Has Dental Benefits Today? Retrieved from http://www.nadp.org/Dental_Benefits_Basics/Dental_BB_1.aspx