Understanding Dental Implant Financing Options

Discover how to pay for dental implants using dental grants and loans. Learn how to use medical credit cards and FSA/HSA accounts for your implants.

If you are missing a tooth, there are several different procedures you can use to fill the empty space in your mouth. One of the best options is to get dental implants. Dental implants are much higher quality than other artificial teeth. The implants are designed to mimic your natural teeth in both function and appearance. Dental implants are installed into a titanium base, which attaches to your jaw. The strong base keeps your implants from slipping or unwanted movement, letting you keep them in permanently. It also provides common issues with other artificial teeth. Dental implants have a realistic appearance and do not require as much maintenance as other options.

While there are many reasons to use dental implants, many patients struggle with the cost. Unfortunately, dental implants are typically classified as a cosmetic procedure, which limits insurance options. On average, it costs between $3,000 and $4,500 to install implants, and without insurance, you are paying the costs out of pocket. If you want dental implants but are worried about the price, there are several ways you can find affordable dental implants.

Cosmetic Dentistry Grants (CDG) Program

The CDG program is one of the largest providers of financial assistance for cosmetic dental procedures. In addition to dental implants, the program provides funding for dental veneers and bonding, teeth whitening procedures, installing crowns and inlays and onlays. Not only does the CDG program provide extensive dental coverage, but it has minimal eligibility requirements compared to other grants. The program can reward partial grants to applicants who do not meet all the requirements, but still need financial assistance for their implants.

If you want to get a CDG, you must submit an online application. If this application is accepted, the next step is to meet with an approved dentist for a free consultation. This determines your overall dental health and whether you are a good candidate for a grant.

In order to get dental implants, you are already required to go through a consultation, so this is another way the grant helps you save money. During the consultation, your dentist determines if your jaw is strong enough to support the titanium base. Many patients must improve their dental health before being eligible for implants. If you need additional treatment, you can use the funds from the CDG to cover these costs.

If the consultation goes well, your dentist submits the grant application on your behalf. It typically takes between one to three months to get a response. When your application is requested, you and your dentist must sign the grant before the funds are released. You do not have to use the same dentist to install your implants that you used for your consultation.

The grant payment is released directly to your dentist. This is a security measure to ensure the funds are only used for dental treatment and not other purchases. If you previously paid any money to get dental implants, the office will refund your expense. Once you are approved for a CDG, you must start your implant plan within three months. You may only apply once for a CDG.

Smile Grant Program

There are several different grants available from the Smile Grant Program. Full funding is only available if you are getting consultation work or X-rays. However, there are generous discounts available for cosmetic procedures, including dental implants. You are eligible for up to 20 to 50 percent off of the procedure. Your discount is determined by several factors, including whether you have insurance, total income and the cost of the procedure. The program uses a basic application process. When you apply, you provide basic financial information and explain why you need the dental implants.

Dental Lifeline Network

The Dental Lifeline Network is much stricter with their eligibility requirements. In order to qualify for full coverage, you must be over the age of 65 or have a permanent disability. You can still apply for assistance if you are medically compromised and do not have enough money to afford dental implants. If you receive a grant from the Dental Lifeline Network, you are required to exhaust all of your insurance options before using the grant.

Financing Dental Implants

If you are unable to apply for a dental grant, you can apply for a dental loan. A dental loan is similar to a personal loan, but the funds must be used to pay your dentist. Unlike a grant, you are required to payback your dental loan, with interest. When you apply for a dental loan, your lender performs a credit check to determine how much you are eligible for, interest rates and repayment options.

There are several companies that specialize in dental loans. CareCredit is a top contender because they provide applicants with fixed terms and have some of the lowest interest rates. If you have a poor credit score, you can apply for assistance through LendingClub. If you require a larger loan for your implants, LendingTree provides generous dental loans. LendingTree loans offer up to $50,000, with repayment terms starting at 24 months and going all the way to 144 months.

Discount Dental Plans

A discount dental plan functions as a limited insurance plan. With a dental plan, you pay a yearly fee for coverage. Whenever you go to the dentist, you receive a substantial discount on the costs. Because it takes multiple appointments to install implants, and there are several follow up appointments, paying for a year of coverage leads to substantial savings. Discount dental plans are less expensive than typical insurance plans, and there is no pressure to extend your coverage at the end of the year.

Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)

Both HSAs and FSAs provide discounts on medical procedures, including dental implants. HSAs are only available if you have a high-deductible health plan. Each year, there is a maximum amount you can contribute to your account. The amount you contribute is deducted from your taxes. An FSA is only available from your employer. Each month, your employer takes a percentage of your paycheck to fund your FSA account. Both of these accounts can be applied to the cost of dental implants.

Medical Credit Card

Medical credit cards are specialized credit cards you can only use for medical expenses. Medical credit cards are not universally accepted, so before you apply for one, make sure it is useable with your dentist. You do not accumulate interest during your introductory period. Unlike a traditional credit card, your medical card does not appear on your credit report. If you miss too many payments and the company has to send a debt collector, your credit score is impacted