top of page

Emergency dental treatment when you have bad credit

If you’re facing a dental crisis but have a low credit score and are finding it hard to obtain credit, you may be wondering what options you have. Thankfully, many people in the UK have been able to overcome issues with their teeth and gums even when they haven’t been in the best financial situation. In this article, we’ll talk you through your options around accessing financial help when you’re in the middle of a dental emergency.

dentist showing patient her x-rays in the dental chair

Getting a loan for dental treatment

One option that might be available to you if you are in a dental emergency is to take out a loan designed for people with bad credit. Although you might be met with higher interest rates than someone with a better credit score, this can be a highly effective way of overcoming your problem quickly. If you are able to take out a loan, you may be able to pay it back over a period of time that suits you. Some people pay their dental loans back over several months, but you may have the option of repaying over a number of years.

Spreading the cost of dental treatment might be an option, although you can expect to pay more interest if you do need to pay your loan back over years rather than months. You could also consider asking friends or relatives if they can assist you if you’re struggling to meet the cost of emergency dental treatment. If you’re taking out a loan, the funds will normally come from a bank or other finance company rather than your dentist. You could also consider using savings if you have any available to avoid getting into debt.

Dental finance

Some dentists offer finance options that mean you don’t need to pay your entire bill upfront. Interest-free finance is sometimes available. This means you don’t need to pay any interest on your borrowing as long as you stick to the payment terms. Make sure you read the small print on the contract very carefully whether you’re taking out a loan to pay for your dental treatment or entering into a payment plan with your dentist.

Should I take out a loan or choose a dental finance plan?

It’s a good idea to understand the pros and cons of loans and finance plans to work out which one is right for you. If you take out a loan, you’re not tied to a specific kind of treatment or dentist. You could use some of the funds for something else if you need to.

A good reason for choosing dental finance is the cost can be lower as long as you stick to the repayments. On the downside, you might be offered less credit. Getting the credit straight from the dental clinic can streamline everything and make it simpler though. If you do decide to opt for dental finance, make sure the clinic actually offers it first.

How easy is it to get credit when I need emergency dental treatment?

Some of the factors that can determine whether you’ll be able to get the credit or finance that you need include your credit score, your income and your employment status. Before you apply for any kind of credit and finance, find out what the lender’s criteria it is. Even if your application fails, this can still affect your credit score.

Can I get any help from the government or NHS if I need emergency dental work?

Some people have been able to get government grants for dental work. You are more likely to receive help if you are on a low income or have a certain medical condition.

Could I get dental treatment for free?

It might be possible to get NHS dental treatment for free if you meet certain criteria. Free treatment is normally available to people under 18 or under 19 if they are in full-time education. You might also be able to get help if you’re pregnant or have had a baby in the last year. Some people on income-based benefits can also get free NHS dental treatment. Some dental schools offer treatments for free. These treatments are carried out by students as part of their dental training. They are supervised by experienced professionals during these treatments. The NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS) might help you with some of your dental care costs if you’re on a low income but don’t qualify for free dental care.

How much does NHS dental treatment cost?

NHS dental treatments come under bands. Band 1 is the cheapest and includes an examination, diagnosis and advice. Band 2 costs more and includes all of this plus treatments such as extractions, root canal work and fillings. Band 3 costs significantly more but ensures you’re covered for everything in Bands 1 and 2 plus things like dentures, bridges and crowns. If you go private, you can expect to pay much more than this, though you may receive your treatment quicker.


Make sure you have thought about all your options carefully when you need help with emergency dental treatment and have bad credit. If you do decide to get a loan, choose a reputable lender and opt for the best terms available to you whether you want to pay across several years or would rather keep the interest as low as possible.

Your dental practice may also be able to help you if you want to keep things simple and pay zero or low interest. It’s always worth finding out if you quality for free or discounted NHS dental treatment too. This can be much less expensive than private treatment.

Getting a loan or finance when you have bad credit can be difficult but it’s not impossible. Some lenders specialize in providing loans to people with poor credit. Just remember that you’re more likely to find yourself paying more interest than someone with a better credit score if your rating isn’t fantastic. Make sure you’ll be able to stick to the repayment plan no matter which solution you opt for.



David Chen 200 x 200.jpg

About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

Association Memberships:

Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

bottom of page