Financial Help for Dental Work

Dental work can be expensive if you do not have dental coverage through an employer. Payment plans, partial payments, free dental clinics and discount dental plans are options to consider when you need to have dental surgery or an expensive procedure. Regular dental checkups and cleanings can prevent high dental bills and prevent tooth decay and gum disease later in life.

Dental Office Payment Plans

Payment plans may be available through your dental office. Depending on the type of dental work needed, your dentist may agree to accept a partial payment up front and then regular monthly payments until the bill is paid in full.

If you dentist does not advertise payment plans, ask anyway as many dentists will work with you especially if the dental work you are having directly affects your health.

Patient Payment Plans

Patient payment plans offered by medical and dental financing companies are an option if you need to have major dental work, including cosmetic procedures, braces, surgery for wisdom teeth, crowns and dentures. Most medical and dental financing companies do not charge interest and have flexible payment plans usually between three and 18 months. Also, many dentists accept this type of payment.

Companies offering patient payment plans include CareCredit and Dental Fee Plan. Dental financing brokers and finance companies underwritten by banks can also help you finance your dental work.

If you have poor credit, you may need to find someone with good credit to co-sign the application.

Discount Dental Plans

Discount dental plans often require no deductible, but do have an annual fee usually between $50 and $200. With a discount dental plan, you will be able to receive a discount for dental services between 10 percent and 60 percent, depending on the procedure.

Consider your needs before agreeing to pay an annual fee. If you have few dental issues and only plan to visit your dentist once or twice a year, paying out-of-pocket or making partial payments to your dentist may save money. Cosmetic procedures such as veneers or tooth contouring may not be covered by a discount dental plan.

Contact dentists in your area and ask which discount dental plans they accept before signing up for a discount plan.

Free Dental Care

Free dental care is available in most states for low-income families. Contact the health and human services office in your area for more information.

Many dental schools offer free services, including dental screenings, cleanings, cavity fillings and complex dental surgeries such as root canals.

Contact charitable organizations in your area to learn more about dental services you can receive for free. Visit or for lists of charitable organizations in your area that provide free dental services.