Paying for Dental Work with Bad Credit History | 8 Options

Patients with bad credit history have eight viable options and one phantom avenue to pay for expensive dental work.

Finance companies are often very reluctant to approve applicants with a history of delinquency, judgments, or bankruptcy appearing on their consumer reports. However, some lenders will okay loans by looking at alternative files of financial data when the person has sufficient income and verifiable employment.

Plus, there are many creative ways to foot the bill for oral care without having to borrow money, such as financial assistance, insurance, discount programs, and time-phased payment plans for implants and orthodontic braces. 

Financing Dental Work Bad Credit

Out-of-the-box financing programs can help patients with bad credit history pay for expensive dental work – without borrowing money. Face it, a record of delinquency on your consumer report is likely to lead to declined applications.

Therefore, you may need to cobble together multiple creative approaches to fix your teeth and help you smile confidently again. No option provides a complete answer.

Payment Assistance

Financial assistance programs can help you pay for pricey dental treatment when you have bad credit. However, there are limits, and many patients will find it hard to find free care or grants. Charitable services are scarce. 

Having the financial capacity to cover the cost of your oral care is the key that unlocks the door to pro bono services and grant opportunities. Providers and clinics will agree to treat you at a reduced cost if you can show the capability to bankroll other treatments.

  • Cash from loans (see above) to address immediate services
  • Insurance plans that cover later treatment after waiting periods


Dental insurance without waiting periods is another alternative for people with bad credit. Your history of derogatory items on your consumer report does not prevent you from purchasing individual coverage.

However, these plans are not a panacea. They may not help you pay for the treatment of an already missing tooth and other pre-existing conditions. Plus, they utilize graded benefits during the early years of the policy.


Year 1




Year 2




Year 3




Payment Plans

Individuals with bad credit can utilize payment plans for dental treatments that occur in phases – without ever having to borrow money, or risk having a finance company reject their application.


Dental implant payment plans take advantage of the extended healing time in between each step in the process. People with low ratings can spread reimbursement out over two years by funding the cost of each treatment phase as separate entities.

Implants are not an overnight procedure, and you must bake in time for your jaw and gums to heal before moving on to the next phase.

StepMonths to Heal



Tooth Extractions


Bone Grafting

4 to 12

Body Placement

4 to 6

Abutment Insertion

1 to 2

Installing Dentures



Orthodontic braces also have built-in payment plans due to the extended time needed to straighten your teeth. Individuals with a record of delinquency can simply ask the orthodontist to bill them after each service or office visit.

Many parents pick up the tab for their teenagers’ braces in installments over three years.

  1. Down payment
  2. Hardware installation
  3. Monthly adjustments and repairs
  4. Hardware removal
  5. Retainer

Discount Programs

Discount programs can help consumers with inadequate credit fund dental services right away. Yet again, your low FICO and Vantage scores have no bearing on your ability to participate in one of these offerings.

Discount plans are not insurance. However, they do provide immediate savings to members who utilize participating providers. The practices agree to charge lower prices to card-carrying members in exchange for higher patient volume. Dentists hate empty chairs and unfilled appointments in their schedules.

Dental Loans No Credit Check

Patients with poor credit history have three viable options to pay for expensive dental work though loans without a credit check from Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion.

Can you guess the phantom option, which is just a finance company in disguise?


Income-based personal loans can provide the money needed to fund dental care without a traditional credit check. An excellent salary can make up for a poor rating. Of course, you will need to have enough regular earnings to support the projected monthly payments and be able to verify employment.

“No credit check” lenders do not pull a report from one of the big three bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Likewise, they do not consider the well-known scores such as FICO or Vantage.

Instead, they look at files from other bureaus who provide non-traditional data such as rental history, utility bills, and additional information. The idea is to find positive tradelines to help them approve consumers that mainstream lenders typically reject: those with derogatory records on revolving accounts, car loans, mortgages, etc.


Dentists offering in-house financing without a credit check are not what they seem at first glance. Most likely, a third-party lender is operating behind the scenes as in The Wizard of Oz movie.

Oral care professionals do not have the experience or training to deal with individuals with weak borrowing credentials. Think about it. The practice would have to provide treatment upfront and then send monthly invoices to people likely to default once their teeth are fixed.

Taking out a loan is similar to using a patient finance company. The primary difference is that having money in your bank account allows you the freedom to choose any dentist. Why limit yourself to “in-house” operations that refer your case to another organization? 

Credit Cards

Consumers looking for dental credit cards without a credit check will find it difficult to qualify. People with poor FICO and Vantage scores will find that the issuing banks use more rigorous underwriting for revolving accounts.

Expect credit card approval rates to be much lower compared to a personal loan because of the higher risk of default to the issuing bank.

  • Revolving contracts (credit cards) feature flexible payments, and the ability to add charges to the account any time the balance is less than the limit – debts can last decades.
  • Installment agreements (personal loans) have fixed monthly payments and defined end dates – debts continue one to three years maximum.

Flexible Spending

A Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (FSA) can act as a dental loan without a credit check for patients with delinquencies, judgments, or bankruptcy appearing on their consumer report. Per IRS regulations, employers must allow all employees to participate – if they offer the benefit.

Elect to make pre-tax payroll contributions into your FSA during your employers’ annual open enrollment. Then, schedule your costliest dental care at the beginning of the FSA plan year (most often in January). Your employer must reimburse qualifying expenses immediately – even though you just began making contributions.

You could have up to fifty-two weeks to repay your employer. Congratulations, you just gave yourself an interest-free loan that also saves money! Your payroll contributions could reduce three types of tax obligations.

  • Federal income tax
  • State income tax
  • FICA taxes (up to 7.65%)