Dental treatment is expensive and the statutory health insurance does not pay for everything. Not only dentures and implants (crowns, bridges, and prostheses) or braces can overwhelm your own wallet. Complex treatment of periodontitis or cosmetic dental treatments is not exactly cheap.
For some time now, a loan to pay the dentist’s bill is nothing unusual. Statutory health insurance companies only pay a share of the dental treatment costs. And only if the measure is considered medically necessary.
In other words, the statutory health insurance company provides grants for basic care, if you want optimal treatment, you have to pay a lot.
The supply gap can be partially closed by private dental insurance
This is certainly recommended, especially for dentures. However, this also often does not cover all costs. Even with private supplementary insurance, own funds may not be enough to pay the dentist. Of course, dentists and dental laboratories have adapted to this situation. And the banking industry has discovered a niche in the market.
Almost all dental practices in Germany offer their patients special dental loans directly. There are also installment payment models, especially for dentures, implants or braces.
These financing models directly in the dental practice are reminiscent of dealer financing when buying a car. Here and there, the immediate conclusion of external financing can be expensive and is therefore not recommended.
In many cases, patients can save money by comparing tooth loans and installment payment offers with conventional installment loans and calmly deciding on the cheapest financing option.
Costs and health insurance benefits for expensive dental treatments
The size of the financial burden of important dental treatments is to be made clear using two examples.
We have selected dentures and implants as well as braces as examples. Almost every patient is faced with one or the other of these dental treatments at some point in their life.
Dentures and dental implants
The statutory health insurance company pays fixed subsidies for dentures and dental implants. The basis is the cost of standard care. Statutory health insurers do not participate in any other care.
The fixed grant is 50% of the cost of the standard therapy required. The subsidy increases by 20% after 5 years and by 30% after 10 years. Prerequisites are regular preventive examinations, proven by the bonus booklet.
Dentures and dental implants are very expensive, even if only the base material is used.
Depending on the scope of the required treatment, 10,000 dollars and more can quickly be incurred. For example, the fee for restoration with fixed implants for toothlessness is often over 13,000 dollars. A single tooth implant can quickly cost almost 3,000 dollars.
Dental fees for braces range from 500 dollars to over 6,000 dollars. There are grants for the treatment of crossbite for children from about 11 to 18 years.
For medically necessary measures to remedy a significant malposition (for example, a correct bite is not possible or there are breathing difficulties), 100% is taken over.
However, the parents must first pre-finance 20%. This contribution will only be reimbursed after the treatment has been successfully completed.
Adults usually have to carry out the correction of malposition themselves. Grants are only available in a few difficult cases, for example, if surgery on the jaw is necessary as a necessary medical measure.
First step: keep dental treatment costs low
The preparation of a healing and cost plan by the treating dentist should be a matter of course for implants, dentures, braces and other expensive dental treatments.
Let us explain all treatment steps and possible alternatives in detail. When it comes to measures that really cost money, getting a second opinion cannot hurt. The cost plan is free of charge for insured patients.
Tip: Do not go into the desired payment method before creating the treatment plan.
Act as a cash payer. Ask for a few days to think it over. Dentists, but above all dental laboratories behind the financing offers, often want to implement the most expensive treatment solution as part of financing concepts.
Funding options for dental bills
There are three broad ways for patients to fund expensive dental care.
You can arrange payment in installments, take out a dental loan directly at the dentist’s office or finance it with an unrestricted loan from an independent bank.
Can I pay in installments at the dentist’s?
In theory, it is, of course, possible to agree on the payment of the dental bill in installments with the dentist.
This is a convenient solution for the patient, and of course, there are risks for the dentist. Payment disruptions can never be completely ruled out.
In all likelihood, dentists will only engage in immediate installment payments if they know the patient well and for a long time.
Dentists are more likely to offer installment payments from financial service providers with whom they work.
Often these are external financing models in collaboration with dental laboratories that manufacture the dentures.
The dental laboratories subsidize the external financing so that in any case a zero percent financing comes about for a certain time. After a certain term, however, interest is then due.
An example is the installment payment model of the German Dental Computing Center, which is shown on the Dentalplus website:
The installment payment is interest and fee-free for 12 months. In addition, up to a term of 48 months, the interest rate is less than one percent. Applicants do not have to provide proof of income.
This offer is really cheap, especially if the bill can be paid within 12 months. But there are also other offers where interest accrues after 6 months and the interest rate is then very high.
Special dental loans
In addition to a combination of free installment payments and credit, dental practices provide real loans that have to be paid interest from the outset.
These loans are usually granted by financial service providers who have more or less specialized in debt financing in the healthcare sector.
In individual cases, such loans can offer certain advantages. Smaller amounts that may not be given by other banks at all or short terms, for example over just 6 months, maybe possible.
Installment payments, as well as special dental loans through mediation in the dental practice, can have another advantage in individual cases.
The credit check is often not as strict as with other consumer loans. For example, there is no need for extensive proof of income, or the credit score is subject to somewhat less stringent requirements.
General-purpose loans from banks
In addition to loans and installment payments directly through the dentist’s office, there are other ways to finance dental treatments and, above all, dentures.
Smaller amounts can perhaps be financed with a credit card or with a credit facility. Both solutions are expensive.
But they have the advantage that no further contracts have to be concluded and no further loans have to be taken out. Additional credit agreements can have a negative impact on creditworthiness.
In addition, loan financing of 500 dollars or 1,000 dollars is only possible with a few credit providers. This solution is recommended if the amounts can be returned very quickly.
A bank loan is an alternative for larger amounts. Such a loan can come from the house bank or from direct banks on the Internet.
As far as can be seen, direct banks do not offer earmarked loans for dental treatment. However, the interest rates are usually somewhat cheaper than those offered by the branch banks. To what extent the house bank offers cheap, smaller loans with special conditions to pay a dentist’s bill should be asked in individual cases. But it is rather unlikely.