Adam McCann, Financial Writer
A dentist may offer payment plans, but not all dentists do. A payment plan spreads out the cost of a dental procedure over time, whether it’s a filling, root canal, set of dentures, etc. Payment plans are especially useful for people who don’t have dental insurance, or whose dental insurance doesn’t cover the full bill. Dental costs often can be too expensive to pay all at once, with procedures like dentures costing $1,000 to $3,000 and braces running up an average bill of $5,000 to $6,000.
The availability and terms of payment plans differ drastically from dentist to dentist. Some dentists’ plans may require weekly payments; others may have monthly payments. And some payment plans are interest-free, at least for a certain period of time, while others do charge interest. Before taking care of your dental needs, call up dentists in your area to determine which have payment plans and what terms they offer. Make sure to find out what procedures or dollar amounts qualify for payment plans, and inquire whether the dentist will pull your credit when deciding whether or not you are eligible.
One example of a dentist payment plan is from Bright Now! Dental, a chain of dentist offices. They offer three different plans. The first involves making a down payment on your procedure and then paying off the rest over time with interest-free installments. Some patients may also qualify for a no-money-down, no-interest plan. And for people who need extended financing, Bright Now! offers up to 48 months to pay off procedures at a 14.99% APR. To qualify for any financing plan, patients will need to have an active checking account and usually must make a 30% - 40% down payment on the procedure cost.
If you can get a dental payment plan with 0% interest, the option is worth taking. Just make sure it’s not deferred interest, where if you don’t pay in full by a certain date, you owe interest at a high APR from the date of purchase.
If the available payment plans do have interest, you may want to consider other options. You can get pre-qualified for some personal loans to see if a loan would give you a better APR. You could also consider using a 0% APR credit card, or borrowing some cash from a family member or friend.
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