Dental financing: What are my options?

Man smiling at the dentist before his clearningImage: Man smiling at the dentist before his clearning

In a Nutshell

Dental procedures are rarely cheap. But some lenders who offer dental financing can make them more affordable.
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While going to the dentist is essential, just one visit or procedure can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars — especially if you don’t have dental insurance. The good news is that there are options for dental financing that might help you get the dental work you need to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

We’ve rounded up our top picks for dental financing by what makes them stand out.

What is dental financing?

In many cases, loans for dental financing are simply personal loans that may or may not be advertised specifically as dental or medical loans. You’ll repay the loan over a set number of months, with interest charged on the amount you borrow. You may have the option of paying the loan off early without penalty.

Most lenders will look at your credit scores to determine whether to approve you for a loan and what rates to offer. While it’ll be easier to get approved (and get better rates and terms) for your dental financing if you have good credit, some lenders look beyond your scores in making their decisions.

Best for expensive dental procedures: SoFi

Why SoFi stands out: SoFi offers loans of up to $100,000 that you can use for medical and dental expenses. This lender is worth considering if you have a particularly costly dental procedure to pay for, like a full-mouth dental reconstruction.

Here are some more details on SoFi loans.

  • No fees — SoFi advertises no fees. You won’t have to pay origination fees, prepayment penalties or other fees if you take out a SoFi loan.
  • Members-only perks — If you’re approved for a dental loan and already have a financial relationship with SoFi, you’ll get access to several perks. These include a 0.125% interest rate discount on certain loans, career coaching and access to events like happy hours and dinners with other members.
  • Unemployment protection — SoFi unemployment protection can be a real help if you’re laid off through no fault of your own. If eligible, you can pause payments and even get some help with your job hunt.

Read more about SoFi loans.

Best for small dental procedures: Upgrade

 Why Upgrade stands out: Upgrade’s personal loans can be used for dental expenses and start at $1,000. If you have a minor dental expense, like a dental filling, for example, you might want to put Upgrade on your radar.

Here’s a closer look at Upgrade.

  • Flexible repayment terms — With an Upgrade dental loan, you can choose from a repayment term between 24 to 84 months. Plus, you won’t be on the hook for a prepayment penalty if you pay off your loan early.
  • Fees — Upgrade’s personal loans come with significant origination fees. You’ll also pay a fee if you’re late making your loan payment.
  • Fast funding — You won’t have to wait long for your funds. Once you accept your loan and clear any verifications, Upgrade says you should get your money within a day.

Read more about Upgrade loans.

Best for those with less-than-perfect credit: OneMain Financial

Why OneMain Financial stands out: If you don’t have the best credit but need to borrow money for a dental procedure, OneMain Financial loan might be an option. This lender says it looks at more than just your credit scores when reviewing your application.

Here are a few more details on OneMain Financial loans.

  • High-interest rates — OneMain Financial might offer you a loan even if your credit is rough, but then it might come with a higher interest rate than you’d like. OneMain’s starting rates are higher than many you’ll find elsewhere.
  • Branches for in-person service — There are about 1,400 OneMain branches across the country. That’s a huge plus if you prefer to take care of your dental loan in person.
  • Cancelation policy — If you take out a OneMain Financial personal loan for your dental expenses and decide it’s not right for you, you’ll have seven calendar days to cancel and return your funds without penalty.

Read more about OneMain Financial.

Best for emergency dental procedures: LightStream

Why LightStream stands out: Sometimes, you can’t wait long for funding and must pay for a dental procedure immediately. In this case, a LightStream personal loan might come in handy, because in some situations, same-day funding is available.

  • Large minimum loan amounts — LightStream’s loans start at $5,000. You might want to explore a different lender if you only have a small dental bill that costs a few hundred or thousand dollars.
  • Rate beat program — The Rate Beat program promises to beat rates from other lenders by 0.1 percentage points if you meet specific criteria. It’s a great perk if you’d like to land a lower rate on your dental loan.

Read more about LightStream loans.

Can you pay your dentist in installments?

If you don’t have hundreds or thousands of dollars to cover a dental procedure upfront, you might be able to break up your bill into installments rather than taking out a loan. Some dentists offer payment plans with low interest or even interest-free payments.

Others accept medical credit cards, like CareCredit, where you can make minimum monthly payments and pay off your dental work over time.

How we picked these loans

To select the best dental loans, we investigated a number of different lenders. We evaluated each lender based on factors like APRs, repayment terms, fees and perks.


About the author: Anna Baluch is a freelance personal finance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. You can find her work on sites like The Balance, Freedom Debt Relief, LendingTree and RateGenius. Anna has an MBA in marketing from Roosevelt Un… Read more.