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Personal Loans

Dental Loans: Financing for Cosmetic and Medical Work

Dental costs are on the rise. In 2021, Americans’ out-of-pocket dental expenses increased by 13%. It’s important to have a financial plan whether you anticipate needs are on the horizon or you find yourself in an emergency situation. 

Paying the full cost for major dental procedures is out of reach for many Americans who may need loans for dental work to afford treatment. But taking out the wrong loan can cause more harm than good, so you should know what you’re getting into before considering dental work loans. 

The best personal loans for dental work

Many lenders have begun offering specific dental and medical loans. But personal loans are a terrific option because they have few restrictions on how you can use the funds.

Even if a personal loan lender doesn’t offer a  specific dental treatment loan, most will allow you to use the funds from your loan however you’d like—including for dental expenses.

Applying for a personal loan is simple. Most personal loans are unsecured, so the lender evaluates you based on your credit history and income. We’ve evaluated some of the top lenders for personal loans and organized them by credit scores they specialize in. 

Find out what category you fall into based on your FICO credit score. 

Credit scoreRating category
800 – 850Exceptional
740 – 799Very good
670 – 739Good
580 – 669Fair
300 – 579Poor


Check your credit score with your bank or credit card company. If you don’t have free access there, get an educational credit score from a reputable site such as Credit Karma.

Here are five top-rated lenders to consider for dental work financing. Click the lender’s name in the table to read more about its dental loans.

LenderBest forLendEDU rating (out of 5)Funding time
CredibleBest marketplace5Varies by lender
SoFiBest for good credit5As soon as same day
Upgrade Bet for fair credit4.9Within 1 business day
UpstartBest for thin (little to no) credit4.8Within 1 business day
LightStreamBest for excellent credit4.8As soon as same day

Credible – Best marketplace

Free online marketplace

  • Compare 16 lenders with one application
  • Check rates without a hard credit pull
  • 5.0 out of 5 editorial rating

Credible is a marketplace that works with multiple lenders to help you quickly compare financing options. You can submit one application and compare offers from multiple lenders. By comparing rates and terms in one location, you can ensure you choose the best offer without submitting a new application for each lender.

You won’t pay any additional fees to use Credible’s platform, and it caters to a diverse range of credit profiles. This makes it a solid option for those with bad to excellent credit. 

  • Soft credit pull to check rates? Yes 
  • Deposit time: Varies by lender
  • Origination fee: Varies by lender
  • Interest rates (APR): 6.40%35.99% 
  • Repayment terms: 1 – 10 years

SoFi – Best for good credit

Excellent member benefits

  • 5.0 out of 5 editorial rating
  • Payment modification if you lost your job
  • Fast financing times

SoFi is best for borrowers with good credit. However, the minimum loan amount is $5,000, which may be more than you need for dental care loans. Root canal costs, for instance, are under $2,000. 

Depending on your needs, you may not need a loan as large as SoFi offers. But if you need a higher-cost procedure, SoFi stands out for offering unemployment protection and financial planning services to borrowers. 

  • Soft credit pull to check rates? Yes 
  • Deposit time: As soon as same day
  • Origination fee: None
  • Interest rates (APR): 8.99% – 25.81%
  • Repayment terms: 24 – 84 months

Upgrade – Best for fair credit

Borrow as little as $1,000

  • 4.9 out of 5 editorial rating
  • More flexible credit requirements
  • Origination fee lowers the funds you receive

Upgrade is a solid option for borrowers with bad or fair credit and those needing smaller personal loans for dental work. If the quote from your dentist is at least $1,000, you can customize your loan amount so you don’t borrow more than you need. 

Once you accept the loan offer, you could get loan proceeds as soon as the next day. That’s excellent if you need emergency dental work. All Upgrade personal loans include an origination fee that’s a percentage of your loan amount deducted from the funds you receive. 

  • Soft credit pull to check rates? Yes 
  • Deposit time: As soon as same day
  • Origination fee: 1.85% – 9.99%
  • Interest rates (APR): 8.49%35.99%
  • Repayment terms: 24 – 84 months

Upstart – Best for thin credit

Uses an artificial intelligence-powered alternative lending model to determine eligibility

  • 4.8 out of 5 editorial rating
  • No prepayment penalty
  • Get a loan offer in under 5 minutes

Upstart is an online lending platform that partners with banks to provide personal loans you can use for almost anything, including dental procedures. It accepts borrowers with credit scores of 300—the lowest possible

Upstart’s lending model considers education, employment, and other variables when determining eligibility. This model leads to 27% more approvals and 16% lower rates than traditional models so you can take care of your dental needs.

  • Soft credit pull to check rates? Yes 
  • Deposit time: As fast as one business day after signing
  • Origination fee: 0% – 12%
  • Interest rates (APR): 6.40% – 35.99%
  • Repayment terms: 36 or 60 months

LightStream – Best for excellent credit

Will beat competitors’ rates for qualified borrowers

  • 4.8 out of 5 editorial rating
  • 0.50% interest rate reduction for enrolling in autopay
  • Borrow between $5,000 and $100,000

LightStream provides low rates, no fees, and a program where it will beat any rate a competitor offers by 0.10 percentage points. 

LightStream’s medical loan for dental work might be a good choice if you need at least $5,000 and have good to excellent credit. But you can’t check your eligibility with a soft credit pull, so we think this lender is best for borrowers who are confident they’ll be approved.

  • Soft credit pull to check rates? No 
  • Deposit time: As soon as the same day
  • Origination fee: None
  • Interest rates (APR): 8.99%25.49%
  • Repayment terms: 24 – 144 months

Pros and cons of a personal loan for dental procedures 

Before making any financial decision, it’s wise to consider the pros and cons. Here’s what to keep in mind before taking out a personal loan for your dental work.


  • Low rates

    Many personal loans have lower rates than credit cards, so you may save money in interest

  • Flexible terms

    You may be able to secure better terms than you would financing through your dentist

  • Borrow as little or as much as you need

    Wide range of loan amounts

  • Quick funding times

    Most lenders offer fast access to cash, sometimes in as little as 1 business day

  • Fixed payments

    Fixed rates and consistent monthly payments make budgeting easy


  • Lenders may charge high rates

    If you don’t have a good credit score, you may end up with a high APR

  • Fees may apply

    Some lenders may charge an origination fee that increases the total cost of your loan

  • Increased debt-to-income ratio

    The additional loan will mean you have more debt compared to your income, a measure most lenders consider when you apply for credit

  • Lowered credit score

    Applying for a new loan often means a hard credit check, which can lower your credit score by a few points for around six months

  • Reduced cash flow

    The additional monthly debt payment will reduce excess cash flow you could otherwise use for saving or spending.

It may be possible to find alternative financing forms, so consider all your options before you commit to dental implant loans or other personal loans.

How to choose the right loan for dental work 

Dental procedures can be expensive, even with dental insurance. Multiple dental financing options are available to help you afford the cost of care. But it’s important to shop around to find the best rate available. 

Most lenders allow you to submit a prequalification form without a hard credit pull to see how much you can borrow, what rate you qualify for, and potential monthly payments. 

If you have excellent credit and can qualify for a low interest rate, a dental loan might be the right choice. You can qualify for financing if your credit score is lower, but the higher interest rate is likely to be higher. Check with your dentist to see whether they offer installment plans or other forms of financing.

Any time you take out a loan, you want the best personal loan rates and terms. Compare rates and fees to consider the entire cost of the loan. Also see how fast you can get your funds, especially if you’re in pain with an emergency dental situation. 

How to apply for a dental care loan 

Applying for a dental care loan online is fast and easy. Here’s what to expect.

  1. Submit a prequalification form: You can get loan quotes without hurting your credit score with most lenders. They’ll do a soft pull and give you an idea of how much you can borrow and what rates you’ll get. 
  2. Compare your loan terms: After filling out several prequalification forms, compare your options based on monthly costs and total costs. Then pick the loan you want to move forward with. 
  3. Complete a full application: Next, fill out the rest of the application. Be prepared to submit documentation, such as recent pay stubs, tax returns, or bank statements. You must also provide the lender with your income and employer information. 
  4. Review loan agreement: Approvals for online loans often happen within a day. If you’re approved, read through your loan agreement. Check for changes, and only sign if you feel comfortable with all the loan terms. 
  5. Get funds: Once you sign your loan agreement, the lender knows to deposit the funds into your account. This could take anywhere from a day to a week, depending on the lender.

Alternatives to personal loans for dental treatment 

If a dental loan doesn’t feel like a suitable fit, here are a few alternative dental financing options to consider.

Line of credit 

A line of credit is similar to a personal loan, but instead of a lump sum, you only withdraw (and pay interest on) what you borrow. For example, you might be approved for a $10,000 line of credit but withdraw just $600 to cover your dental work.

A personal line of credit often has lower interest rates than a credit card and allows you to access cash as you need it.

Be sure you understand the terms and conditions of a line of credit. Depending on your lender, the fees can be high. Some lines of credit come with variable interest rates, which could increase the overall costs of repaying the loan over time.

Healthcare credit cards

Many dental providers offer credit cards with special payment plans. These are designed for the dental industry, and you can use them for any procedure.

Some dental offices offer these cards at a limited 0% interest rate, so if you can pay off the loan in the stated time (e.g., 12 months), you won’t pay any interest.

Only consider this option if you can repay the loan within the specified time frame. If not, you’ll owe the full interest on the original balance.

In-house financing 

Some dental offices offer in-house financing through third-party lenders. You’ll fill out a credit application and get matched with a dental financing company.

This may be suitable for patients with less-than-stellar credit histories. However, be prepared to pay more interest; APRs on in-house financing can be high.

Installment payments

Many dental offices offer interest-free installment plans for ongoing procedures such as braces, dentures, or bridges. You’ll pay an initial deposit fee—often one-third or half of the total amount—then you’ll pay the rest in monthly installments.

This isn’t a loan, so you won’t need to fill out an application or undergo a credit check.

Our expert recommends

Erin Kinkade


If the procedure can wait, I first recommend waiting and saving funds for the procedure. In addition, if your employer offers a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA), I recommend enrolling into this at the next open enrollment period. There are limitations to the amount you can contribute, but it could be advantageous to use this account to fund a portion or all of your medical expenses. If you need the procedure as soon as possible, I recommend talking with the medical provider to set up a payment plan. They may require a larger initial payment upfront, but you can often set up the remaining payments in a manner that fits your budget. If the provider doesn’t offer payment plans, I suggest shopping for introductory rate credit cards and making a repayment plan that’s in line with when the introductory rate ends. 

Dental loan FAQ 

How long will it take to get approved for a dental loan?

The time it takes to get approved for a dental loan depends on the lender. Once you sign the loan agreement, expect to receive funds between one day and a week. It could take longer if you choose a traditional bank or credit union for your dental loan. 

Are there any restrictions for using a dental loan? Can it be used for cosmetic dental work or implants?

There typically aren’t restrictions when you use a personal loan for your dental needs. 

Is it possible to get dental loans for bad credit?

Yes, it is possible to get dental loans for bad credit. Choose a lender that has flexible credit requirements. But be prepared to pay higher interest rates and potentially other fees.