Millennials thinking


Dental Financing for Millennials

Written By : Generations of Smiles Writers

Reviewed By : Charles Rodgers, DDS

Published: Sep 18, 2023

Updated: Sep 18, 2023

In This Article

Dental health has an enormous impact on the health of the rest of your body. The condition of your teeth and gums can affect your nutrition, your self-esteem, your physical appearance, and even the health of your heart. While taking care of your oral health is important, paying for needed dental work can still be a struggle. With college loans going into repayment and a kid or two to provide for, millennials are currently in their busiest time of their lives while juggling several different financial pressures. 

But putting your oral health on the back burner will only create higher dental costs in the future if you neglect your teeth. Tooth decay or gum disease that is not stopped at an early stage will need more complicated procedures that end up costing more than routine preventative care. 

The Challenges of Dental Care

If you find yourself in a situation where you have outgrown your parents’ medical and dental insurance but do not have an employer who provides dental benefits, you are in the same boat as millions of other millennials. 

In addition to high insurance costs, other challenges that millennials face with getting the affordable dental care they need are:
  • Full time jobs
  • Busy schedules
  • Raising children
  • Purchasing a home
  • Daycare costs
  • Medical expenses
  • Dental expenses for the entire family
  • Cost of student loan repayment
Many millennials are at a time of their lives where family and job responsibilities are constantly increasing while they are also starting to think ahead of what their retirement years may look like. 

The Importance of the Mouth-Body-Connection

Oral health care costs can add up, especially if you have a family that all needs yearly dental checkups. But the cost of unaddressed dental issues is far worse. Tooth pain, loss of teeth from tooth decay or gum disease, or expensive dental procedures can not only cause the dental bill to increase, but they can also affect your quality of life. 

According to the CDC, 80% of people will have at least one cavity by the age of 34. Poor oral health is also linked to heart disease and diabetes. Untreated gum disease can allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream that can ultimately cause inflammation that begins to trap plaque along the artery wall, leading to heart complications. 

Not only do regular dental visits help catch gum disease and tooth decay earlier, your dentist will also use the appointment to screen for oral cancers and other health risks. 

To maintain a clean mouth daily, brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day is crucial. Seeing your dentist once a year will make sure your oral hygiene routine is on point and that no other issues are developing in your mouth. 

Understanding Dental Financing Options

Understanding your dental financing options will help make sure your mouth gets the care it needs. The different options for dental financing each come with pros and cons that can help you decide which path is right for you. 

Health Savings Account (HSA)

Health Savings Account is a personal account that pulls a set amount from your paycheck each month to put aside for medical and dental costs. 

The pros of setting up a HSA are that the money goes into the account before federal taxes are taken out and the money does not expire at the end of the year. You can use it to pay for dental insurance deductibles and other dental care expenses after insurance. 
The cons of using a HSA are that you must also be enrolled in a high deductible health plan, which could be expensive if you are often needing extensive dental procedures. 

Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

A Flexible Spending Account is a personal account attached to an employer's health plan. 
The pros of having a FSA are that the funds can be used for dental care as well as other expenses. A FSA has more flexibility than an HSA and can be used for expenses such as child care. 
The cons of using a FSA are that the funds do not roll over to the next year, and if you leave your employer, you also leave whatever money was in your FSA. 

Credit Cards

Another way to save you from out-of-pocket costs for dental care is to use a medical or dental credit card, like the Smile Generation Financial Credit Card. It works just like a normal credit card, you can use this card for dental expenses at any Smile Generation-trusted locations, which can make paying for dental care stress free.

The pros of using a health care credit card are that you will be able to pay for a dental treatment immediately.
The cons of dental credit cards are that they can accrue high interest if not paid off monthly or within the promotional period.

Dental Discount Plan

dental discount plan, also known as a dental membership plan, provides you with a number of services at a discounted rate with no deductibles or annual maximums.

The pros are that you pay a yearly fee to gain access to discounts on most dental services. Unlike insurance, there are no deductibles, copays or annual maximums. If you have dental insurance, you can also leverage your benefits from your employer with added discounts to further cut down on what you have to pay at the dental office. 
The con of a dental discount plan is that it is often provided by an individual dental office or network of dental practices. If you have a dental emergency and are out of town or have recently moved, you may not have a dentist near you that is apart of the membership plan.

However, it's worth noting that while most dental discount plans might have limitations on the number of participating offices, the Smile Generation Dental Plan stands out with a vast network of over 900 dental offices nationwide. This extensive coverage ensures that wherever you are, you're likely to find a nearby dentist to provide you with the care you need, even in unexpected situations or when you're away from home.


An in-house payment plan is an arrangement you make with a dental practice to make monthly payments for dental services. If you need dental work that would be difficult to pay in one lump sum, a dental office will allow you to break up that total into more affordable monthly payments.
The pros of in-house payment plan are that you do not have to pay a large dental bill all at one time. You also do not have to put your dental care on hold while you save up to pay for dental costs.
The con of in-house payment plan is that your monthly payments include accrued interest on the total of your bill. 

The Benefits of Planning Ahead

Planning ahead for dental expenses can take the stress out of a dental emergency or expensive procedures. You can put money aside yourself in case you need it. A few budget-friendly tips to save money for oral health care are:
  • Choose one weekend a month to stay home to save on gas money.
  • Skip buying a cup of coffee one day a week.
  • Make a list before going to the grocery store.
  • Make a budget starting with essentials like food, rent, bills, and savings, then decide how much you have for nonessential costs like going out to eat, fun purchases, and impulse buys. 
Spending time thinking about your budget and where you can save money for dental expenses will help you to realize these savings goals. 

Navigating Dental Insurance

Paying for dental insurance is an avenue you can take to make dental care more affordable. To maximize your benefits, you can use your insurance alongside any discount plan or credit card. 

All dental insurance plans can be different and knowing the specific details outlined in your plan will help you get the most out of your dental insurance. 
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the coverage in a particular plan. You want to have all the details before you sign up for dental insurance. Ask the provider to clarify anything you do not understand so you can be confident that you are making the right decision. You want to know:
  • How much is the annual coverage maximum?
  • How much is your deductible?
  • Who are the in-network dentists?
  • What are your monthly payments?
Looking at two different plans, you can see which one gives you the most benefits for the least amount of money out of your pocket. Be sure to add up your monthly payments plus what it will cost you to go in for an appointment. You will want to know how much you can expect to spend in a year on dental care.  

Exploring Flexible Payment Plans

Flexible payment plans can also be very beneficial to patients because they can spread out the cost of a dental procedure over several months. Flexible payment plans can make needed dental care accessible to patients, who without it, would not normally be able to pay for the dental treatment. 

By using a provider who has an excellent reputation for helping people find a payment plan that they can afford, such as ScratchPay, you can choose to break your dental bill up into 6, 12, 18, or 24 month terms. Always read your plan details carefully and be aware of any late fees or interest you can accrue. 

Making the Most of Healthcare Credit Cards

With a credit approval, you can swipe a health care credit card to pay for what is left of your dental bill after insurance or to pay for the entire bill if you are uninsured.  Some credit cards come with special promotions and discounts available throughout the year. 
Make sure you pay close attention the fine print before using a dental credit card and be aware of the interest rates that will accrue if you are unable to make your credit card payment each month. Only use these credit cards responsibly for the dental care you know you can pay off quickly to avoid accruing interest. 

Choosing the Right Dental Provider

As you are searching for the right dental provider, make sure to ask every question you have so you know exactly what you are getting with each dental financing option. You want to know what repayment will look like, what kind of interest could be attached, what benefits come with it, and where you can double up options so you get the very best price for your dental care bills. 

To find dental clinics in your area with up front pricing and several different financing options, Smile Generation can provide you with a list of qualified dentists and providers who can make sure you get the oral health care you need. 


Find your trusted, local dentist today!



  • "Oral Health Conditions." CDC. 28 Aug. 2023,
  • Dhadse, Prasad, Deepti Gattani, and Rohit Mishra, "The Link Between Periodontal Disease and Cardiovascular Disease: How Far We Have Come in Last Two Decades?" NIH, July-Sept 2010,

Smile Generation blog articles are reviewed by a licensed dental professional before publishing. However, we present this information for educational purposes only with the intent to promote readers’ understanding of oral health and oral healthcare treatment options and technology. We do not intend for our blog content to substitute for professional dental care and clinical advice, diagnosis, or treatment planning provided by a licensed dental professional. Smile Generation always recommends seeking the advice of a dentist, physician, or other licensed healthcare professional for a dental or medical condition or treatment. 

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