A payment plan that’s dentist recommended is the option you can choose to make dental bills much easier to handle.
It’s no secret that dental treatment can be incredibly expensive, especially if you need orthodontic work, veneers, or dental implants. If you don’t have insurance – or even if you do – you can be left with a huge bill. Dental payment plans help spread the cost of your treatment to make it more affordable.
But did you know there are different types of payment plan and different ways to arrange payment with your dentist? Here we explain how dental payment plans work and what to be aware of before you sign up for one.
Armed with this information, you can confidently search for a dentist that takes payment plans near you without worrying about paying over the odds. A payment plan that’s dentist recommended is the option you can choose to make dental bills much easier to handle.
Let’s first look at the different ways you can pay for your dental care.
If you have dental insurance or a dental discount plan, either privately or through your employer, first check to see if there are any restrictions on which dentist(s) you may visit. Even if you have a plan that lets you visit any dentist you choose, you will probably receive preferential rates from approved dentists within your insurance provider’s network.
While services like checkups and cleanings are often included for free, for any other treatment you’ll probably receive a percentage discount or pay a reduced fee. The discount can be anywhere from 10% to 80% of the total treatment cost, depending on the level of insurance you have.
With private treatment plans, any discounts are usually subject to an annual limit, and there is often a separate lifetime limit in place for orthodontics. This means you may still have significant out-of-pocket costs for treatments like:
Root canal work
Wisdom teeth extractions
A payment plan that’s dentist suggested is an option you want to consider to make dental bills much easier to handle.
In this case, you may still want to arrange dental finance for the portion not covered by your insurance.
Also, keep in mind that insurance usually won’t cover any purely cosmetic work like veneers. Some US insurers do offer an allowance for teeth whitening, though.
If you’re worried that you can’t afford the dental treatment you need because you don’t have insurance, did you know that many dental plans offer immediate cover for preventive, diagnostic, and basic restorative services? You might have to wait 6-12 months for more complex work such as root canals and wisdom teeth extractions to be covered, but it’s worth checking your options.
We have a full article on dental insurance plans in the US if you want to know more about this topic.
Your dentist may well offer you a discount if you can pay in full up-front for your treatment. This might be around 5-10% – you’ll be in a better position to negotiate if you have a good history with your dentist.
Your dentist office will explain the different options available
Why would your dentist offer this discount?
Firstly, they save money on admin and they get the full amount straight away. Secondly, as we explain in more detail below, they can actually lose money if you opt for a third-party payment plan.
Paying in cash may get you a better discount since the dentist won’t have any processing fees from your card provider.
Even if you can’t afford to pay in full, your dentist may be willing to arrange an in-house payment plan. You might, for example, pay one-third of the treatment cost up-front with the balance spread over the next six months. Again, this is more likely to be an option if you’re a long-term patient with a good history.