Paying for Dental Implants with Bad Credit: 3 Tactics

The average cost of a single tooth implant without insurance is $3,500. Expenses rise sharply for each additional tooth needing replacement.

If you have low credit scores, private lenders may not approve the large loans you need to pay the dentist.

What should you do if this describes your situation? Learn about three tactics to overcome the obstacles.

  1. Increase your chances of approval by improving your credit profile and ensuring more lenders see it.
  2. Reduce the loan size by getting financial help, using insurance, and paying in smaller, spread-out amounts.
  3. Use a Healthcare Flexible Spending Account if available at work.

Boosting Approval Odds

The first tactic is to boost your chances of loan approval for a given amount. Patients with poor credit can afford dental implants by enhancing their creditworthiness and getting more niche lenders to view their profiles.

Increasing Visibility

Your chances of getting a loan increase when more lenders view your profile through online networks, but in-house payment plans at dental offices may not have the same effect.

Online Network

An online network lets many niche lenders who focus on poor credit see your profile simultaneously.

  • Submit your borrowing profile once, allowing many specialty lenders to compete for your business.  
  • If you get a loan, you can choose a local prosthodontist known for excellent skills and reputation.

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Payment Plans

Dental offices with in-house payment plans often send patients to just a few outside finance firms that might not focus on bad credit lending. You’re less likely to get a loan when only a few lenders see your profile.

If these lenders reject your application, you might have to find another dental office that offers payment plans. However, this new office might also work with the same finance companies that denied you previously.

Don’t wait until you are in the dentist’s office. Minimize repeated rejections by looking for a loan beforehand through an online network of lenders.

Improving Qualifications

Patients with poor credit can improve their chances of getting a loan by enhancing their qualifications. Work on boosting your credit score and lowering the amount of debt you have relative to your income.

Credit Score

Boosting your credit score can help you get approved, but it’s not easy. Late payments stay on your credit report for seven years from the first occurrence.

Take these steps to improve your credit score while negative items gradually drop off your report:

  • Challenge any mistakes in your report.
  • Settle any overdue bills.
  • Use less of your available credit card limits.


Reducing your debt compared to your income can help you get approved more easily because it’s something you control. Lenders calculate a debt-to-income ratio by dividing your expected monthly debt payments by your monthly income.

They look at this ratio to decide if you can handle the new monthly payments. If you have poor credit, aim for a debt-to-income ratio under 35%.

Reducing the amount you need to borrow for dental implants is a great way to keep your debt-to-income ratio low. Next, we’ll look at different ways you can do this.

Lowering Amount Financed

Another strategy to consider is lowering the amount you need to borrow. If your debt payments are smaller, you’re more likely to get approved, making it easier to afford dental implants even with poor credit.

Government Grants

Government grants can sometimes help people reduce the cost of dental implants. Even people with bad credit can qualify for this support.

There are no direct government grants for dental implants since no program specifically funds oral care. Still, you can save money indirectly with different government benefits:

  • Medicare Advantage Plans may assist retired adults.
  • Medicaid may cover initial treatments like tooth removals.
  • Tax deductions could benefit families with higher incomes.

Financial Assistance

There are special programs that can help make dental implants more affordable. If you have bad credit, which usually means a lower income, you might qualify for help from non-government sources.

Some private groups offer dental implants at a lower cost for people with low incomes. Still, not many people get them because there are more people in need than free services.

Still, it’s worth investigating options such as research studies, dental school programs, contests for smile makeovers, and charities.


If eligible, joining the Blue Cross Blue Shield Federal Employee Program could significantly cut dental implant costs. Bad credit won’t prevent you from buying dental insurance.

Military veterans can save 55% on a single dental implant and 74% on full-mouth restoration with the BCBS FEP plan. The BCBS plan offers unique features not often found in other dental insurance plans.

  • No missing tooth exclusion
  • No waiting period for benefits
  • Unlimited annual benefits
  • Lowest coinsurance
  • Lower monthly premiums

Many federal workers and their families can also enroll in the BCBS FEP plan during the open period.

  • Federal and US Postal Service employees
  • Active-duty family members and survivors
  • Annuitants, survivor annuitants, and compensationers
  • Specific firefighters and emergency response personnel

Phased Billing

Phased billing can reduce the financed amount by allowing patients to get several smaller loans over time instead of a much larger one. Dental implants are done in stages, with healing time needed after each step.

For instance, osteointegration is a stage where the implant fuses with the jaw bone, which can take three to six months, sometimes even more.

People with bad credit can get approved for small loans but must repay them quickly. For example, a private lender might agree to a $1,000 loan that you pay back in six months.

A phased billing approach for a single tooth might work as follows.

Treatment StepAmount NeededHealing & Repayment Time
Tooth Extraction$5003 Months
Bone Grafting$1,0006 Months
Body Placement$1,0006 Months
Abutment Insertion$1,0003 Months
Crown Installation$1,0006 Months

Request an itemized bill from your oral surgeon and prosthodontist before each treatment step, as this is a standard part of their routine. In our example, you get five small loans and repay $4,500 over twenty-four months.

FSA Over Financing

Instead of taking out a loan, the third tactic we suggest is using a Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) if your employer offers it. An HCFSA is ideal for patients to manage dental implant costs, even with bad credit.

Like Financing

An HCFSA lets employees set aside pre-tax money for qualified medical expenses. Dental implant costs are eligible for HCFSA reimbursement.

An HCFSA is not a medical loan, but it has similar features that can help make your procedures, such as dental work, less costly.

  1. Your employer immediately transfers money to your provider when you pay for a qualifying expense using your HCFSA debit card. Employees can access their annual HCFSA funds at the beginning of the plan year.
  2. Employees make fixed contributions from their pay each period during the HCFSA plan year, regardless of when they incurred a qualifying expense.

Elect to contribute to your employer’s HCFSA during the annual open enrollment period. Schedule your dental implant treatment at the beginning of the plan year.

By contributing to your employer’s HCFSA during open enrollment and scheduling your dental implant treatment early in the plan year, you effectively create a financing option with added benefits.

Unlike Financing

An HCFSA’s unique features make it an excellent choice for funding dental implants compared to a loan. It’s a beneficial option for employees with poor credit, and those with good credit will also find it advantageous.

High Acceptance

Patients with bad credit can readily sign up for an HCFSA since employers cannot consider consumer reports or scores.

According to IRS regulations, employers must allow most employees to join the plan. Only the company’s top earners may be ineligible, but this has nothing to do with credit histories.

In other words, an HCFSA offers a no credit check dental financing alternative.

Zero Interest

Unlike a financing program, an HCFSA does not charge interest or origination fees. Better yet, most employees save money on taxes.

Employees contribute to their HCFSA over time from their pay before taxes, which lowers their taxable income. This reduction applies to federal, state, and FICA taxes.

Higher Amounts

At the start of the HCFSA plan year, employees have immediate access to funds that may exceed what they could get from financing, especially if they have bad credit.

The IRS sets yearly limits on HCFSA contributions, which they adjust for inflation annually. As of our publication date, each employee can contribute $3,200, so a married couple could combine their amounts to $6,400 for dental care each year.

Additionally, since dental implant procedures often require healing time between steps, patients may get bills spread out over more than two years. By planning carefully, a married couple could use their HCFSA contributions across three plan years, totaling up to $19,200 for their qualifying expenses.

Lower Payments

An HCFSA usually results in smaller monthly payments than a loan because the contributions span the entire year. People with bad credit often can’t get loans with longer than six months of repayment.

  • For a $6,400 loan with a six-month repayment term, the monthly payment without interest would be $1,066.
  • $6,400 in an HCFSA is divided into twelve equal parts, resulting in a monthly contribution of $533.