Dental Implants with Low Monthly Payments
Nearly one out of every four Americans is without dental insurance and has to pay for procedures and dental work out of pocket. Individuals who do have dental insurance still typically have to pay a portion of their bill because certain procedures are not covered or to meet their copay or deductibles. Given that the average American has less than $1,000 in savings, it is not surprise that the cost of seeking dental treatment, especially for expensive procedures like dental implants, is prohibitive and a source of great anxiety for many patients.
If you are missing one or multiple teeth and would like to have dental implants placed but are uncertain how you will pay for the procedure, please review the following options that may help you receive the care you need. It is important to know that treatment is often available, even if you do not believe you have the financial means needed to pay for the treatment.
For Patients with Dental Insurance
If you do have a dental insurance plan, the first thing you need to do is determine whether your plan covers the dental implant procedure, and if so, how much of the cost your plan will cover. If your treatment plan consists of multiple procedures (i.e., tooth extraction, gum or jaw restoration, etc.) it may make sense to schedule one procedure towards the end of the year and the next step in the procedure early the following year when your benefits have rolled over.
Every dental plan is different in terms of what and how much it covers, so it is important that you contact your provider and/or ask if your clinic can contact your provider to help you maximize your benefits and determine an estimate of how much you can expect to pay to receive treatment.
For Patients Who Cannot Cover Total Cost
If you are not covered under a dental insurance plan, or if you are unable to pay the required copay or deductible, there may be different financing options available through a primary lender like GreenSky or CareCredit. These financing options typically require that the patient have a good credit score, which, unfortunately precludes quite a lot of people. For patients who require dental implant treatment and have less than stellar credit scores, the following options may be available.
Sub-Prime Lender Financing
Standard lenders typically require that a persons’ credit score be at least 640 to be approved, however subprime lenders take a more extensive look at a person’s history, looking at things like employment history, income, and other factors that may help them better assess the risk of lending to the individual. While subprime lenders can be an excellent option for some patients, they do often come with origination fees and higher interest rates, which, in the long run, can put a higher financial strain on the individual.
A secured or unsecured personal loan is another option for patients who do not qualify for prime or subprime loans. With a secured loan, the patient uses collateral, such as real estate or a vehicle as a way to improve their chances of being approved for a loan, and/or increasing the amount they are approved for. If the individual is delinquent or defaults on their payment, the lender can repossess the collateral.
In an unsecured loan, any accounts that become delinquent are sent to an outside collection agency that is tasked with securing the remaining amount from the patient. Unsecured loans are harder to qualify for, as there is more risk to the lender.
Provider-Based Payment Plans
Some clinics offer in-house financing, which can be an ideal solution for patients who are unable to get approved for traditional credit-based financing. With in-house financing, the individual pays the cost of treatment in increments over an agreed upon period of time directly to the practice.
Although every dental clinic wants the best for their patients and to ensure that they receive the treatment they need to live a happy, healthy life, there are many practical reasons why clinics are unable to provide this service to their clients. One of the most obvious downsides to offering this service is that payment is received over a period of time instead of when the procedure is performed. The clinic is also taking on a higher credit risk and is responsible when patients default on their payments. There is also the time and cost involved in administrative burdens, as these clinics become lenders, and as such, need to ensure they are up to date with new compliance requirements.
Flexible Pay-Over-Time Plans
Another option that works for all patients (even those with a low credit score) is to go through a pay-over-time lender like Healthcare Finance Direct (HFD). HFD uses a data-driven process to assess patient risk and determine a personalized loan agreement, which includes a down payment and set interest rate. Using a pay-over-time provider like HFD is a popular option with many clinics because it ensures that the clinic mitigates risk, while still providing their patients with the care they need. Also, the direct debit payments are taken directly from the patient’s account, which saves the clinic time in trying to track down payments. This payment portal is not only easier for clinics, it is also more convenient for patients, who can use this portal to receive customer service support and access payment information.
Are Dental Implants Worth the Investment?
Given the costs involved and the hassles involved in trying to find a financing option that works for you, you may be wondering, “Are dental implants really worth the time and money involved?”
Instead of focusing on the cost of treatment, it may be helpful to consider the ways in which getting dental implants is actually an investment, both financially and towards your physical health and general wellbeing.
After having dental implants placed, you will enjoy the following benefits:
- Stability: Implants are much more stable than conventional dentures, which are prone to slipping or falling out when a person is talking or eating food, which can be both aggravating and embarrassing for the individual.
- Improved chewing ability: Significantly improved chewing strength compared to conventional dentures, which severely limit the types of foods a person can enjoy.
- Comfort: Dental implants are more comfortable than conventional dentures because they cause less friction against the gums.
- Look and feel natural: Dental implants are the best treatment options available to restore you back to having a smile that looks and feels natural.
- Preserves oral health: Dental implants provide the part of your jawbone above or below where a tooth has been missing with the necessary stimulation to avoid jawbone atrophy. Dentures do not provide this stimulation, which will result in the patient’s jawbone continuing to deteriorate over time. This increases the individual’s risk of developing additional
- oral health issues and will necessitate that their dentures be resized on a regular basis, which will end up costing you more money in the long run.