Dental Implants And Your Credit

For many of the millions of Americans who desperately need dental implants, money gets in the way. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), the total cost to replace just one tooth can range from $3,000 to $4,500. That’s a considerable amount of money. It adds up fast if you need to take care of more than one tooth, let alone your entire mouth. But here’s the deal -- you run the risk of creating more damage and increasing the cost of care if you don’t find a way to pay for dental implants.

As with so many things in life, handling the cost of dental implants requires creativity alongside a little bit of research. Solutions exist. You just have to find them. On this page, we provide information on ways to finance dental implants, even if you have bad credit. In fact, you might be able to improve your credit simply by taking on and responsibly handling the cost of implants. From this page, you can link to resources that will help put you on the path to paying for dental implants.

Find a Dentist Who Accepts Monthly Payments

It’s almost a given that your dental insurance will not cover the cost of implants. But that doesn’t mean you can’t simply visit a dentist, get the work done, and pay your bill over time. As you will likely discover from this page, many dentists in your area offer payment plans so you can stretch the cost of implants out over time. Sounds great, but be sure to consider the following.

First, make sure any dentist, particularly one offering some type of cost-related break, is legit. You can search the AAID website to find credentialed implant dentistry experts where you live. If they’re not highly proficient in dental implants, don’t let yourself cut corners merely on price. It’s not worth it.

If the price a dentist advertises appears too good to be true, there’s a decent chance it is. You can’t finance a high-end Mercedes for the monthly payment of an economy-class car. Consider dental implants -- given the advanced materials and technical precision involved -- the Mercedes of dentistry. So expect to pay somewhere around $200 a month if a dentist offers the option of making payments over time.

Second, ask questions about the deals dentists offer. Do they run a credit check before approving monthly payments? Do they charge interest? What if you run into trouble and can’t make a payment? Will they discount the total cost of your implants if you pay your bill early? Do they report your timely payments to credit bureaus?

That last point leads nicely into another way to finance dental implants that can improve your life beyond a nice, new smile.

Take Out a Loan, Improve Your Credit

If you can’t find a dentist who offers interest-free financing or one who reports your payments to credit bureaus, you might want to consider taking out a loan to cover the cost of dental implants. If you have bad credit or your credit score could simply use a boost, a personal loan can kill two birds with one stone.

If you take this route, be sure to acknowledge and thoughtfully consider the potential pitfalls.

First of all, there’s no way around it -- a personal loan adds to your debt load. If you’re already deep in debt, taking on even more might not be the best route. Second, some personal loans, particularly if you have bad credit, can carry high interest rates and other unfriendly repayment terms. Do your research. Ask questions.

That said, you can improve your credit and overall financial situation at the same time as paying for dental implants with a personal loan. According to Experian, a personal loan can help diversify your credit mix, potentially improving your credit score. For instance, if you have several credit cards (revolving credit) and throw a personal loan (known as an installment loan) into the pile, your credit score can increase.

At the same time, you could always use a personal loan to pay off high-interest credit card debt, which can also help your credit score. From here, you could put the cost of dental implants on your credit card (one with some type of rewards program would be great). If you go down this path, be sure to act responsibly. Make timely payments on your credit card to pay down that debt because you’re not doing yourself -- or your credit score -- any favors by replacing debt with debt.

A Need, Not A Want

Despite the way insurance companies classify dental implants, they’re quite often medically necessary. In fact, you can make the argument that they always are. If you need a tooth replaced and fail to do it, more serious dental issues can arise and persist. Beyond the physical implications, having healthy teeth and a smile you’re proud of can improve your mental health.

All of this said, if you’re in the market for dental implants, you’re most likely not splurging for an irresponsible extravagance. Rather, you’re taking steps to maintain and improve your physical and mental health. There might not be anything more important. So it’s imperative you take the steps to make the process as financially painless as possible.