A CEREC machine is a technologically advanced and highly sophisticated tool for designing and creating metal-free tooth restorations in a single patient visit. There’s no denying that this form of ceramic restoration is a lot faster and more efficient than traditional methods. But is a CEREC machine really worth the cost?
These machines are expensive, yes, but in this article we’re going to talk about ways you can afford to get a CEREC machine into your dental practice so that you’re not left behind. Patients want to go to the offices of dental practitioners who look like they’re on the cutting edge of technology and who can provide the best care available.
So read on if you want to know everything there is to know about the whys and hows of financing a CEREC machine!
Why you should get a CEREC machine
A CEREC (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics) machine is a piece of hardware which allows you to make crowns, veneers, onlays, and inlays out of ceramic material in a much shorter amount of time than the process usually takes. By scanning a three dimensional model of the cavity space in need of restoration, the machine can print a new tooth (or new piece of tooth) during the space of a single patient visit either chairside or in the dental lab.
The primary benefits of such a device are obvious. Using computer-aided design and manufacturing means that the CEREC machine can produce a restoration much faster than your competition – recent models can even produce a full crown in eight minutes! And the machine does most of the work for you, allowing you to spend more time with your patients.
However, just having a CEREC machine in your office also gives you a significant competitive advantage over other restoration dentists in your area. Trust us – at Emergency Dentist USA, we’ve spent five years using our helpline to connect patients with dentists. We have half a decade of experience in this area and continue to work with patients from all over the United States, and our internal observations make it clear that patients usually decide to work with dentists who appear to be on the cutting edge of new dental procedures, even if the price for their services is a little more expensive.
Furthermore, the most recent surveys show that only 8 to 10 percent of offices offering dental surgeries have an in-house CEREC machine, so this is a great way to immediately set yourself apart from 90 percent of your competition. What’s more, roughly 1 in 10 of those offices don’t use the machine regularly because they found the learning curve too difficult to understand (according to Dentistry IQ, the most comprehensive online resource for dental professionals.)
If you can promise patients with cavities, loose crowns or fillings, or broken/chipped teeth a while-you-wait tooth restoration, the convenience of the operation combined with the chance to be seen by (what will be seen as) a tech-savvy dental practitioner will be certain to secure lots of new and loyal patients for your practice.
How to buy a CEREC machine
Per the Dental Economics digital magazine, CEREC machines usually cost approximately $100,000. Some brand new models may cost as much as $147,000. Considering what a boon this device is for your practice, and considering how much of your lab cost you’re eliminating when you purchase a CEREC machine, this price is not unreasonable.
If your practice is big enough to have that kind of money on hand, you can take care of the purchase by paying the entire CEREC machine cost in a single cash, check, or debit card payment. However, many practices will find the $100,000 price tag far too high to pay all at once. This is when you should start thinking about financing a CEREC machine.
Most of the companies that sell CEREC machines will also offer you some way to finance these devices. Usually this involves paying $2,000 a month over a period of 50 months (approximately four years.)
According to dental economics studies, most dental practices that offer oral surgery and reconstruction will on average pay about $7,000 USD a month on lab costs, paying technicians to create prosthodontics the old-fashioned way. A CEREC payment of $2,000 a month, combined with ceramic blocks and bars at $27 a unit (in most areas), and using the national average of 50 restorations per office per month, means that financing a CEREC machine will only cost about $3,080 to $4,580 a month in lab costs for most practitioners. This is a huge saving and makes the CEREC machine cost well worth it if you choose to go with the financing route.
So don’t be scared by that $2,000 a month price tag – for practitioners with a mid-to-high volume of incoming patients, this machine will start paying for itself in no time.
There are, of course, a few downsides to purchasing a CEREC machine pre-owned. There is sometimes a perception that older technology may be obsolete, and that it’s true that older CEREC machines may not have all the latest features of the newest models. But the process of computer-aided design and manufacture of restorative ceramic has remained largely the same, and the process shouldn’t matter too much. Besides, as long as your patients are getting a restoration without having to wait for very long, they won’t know or care about the exact age of your machine.
There’s a common misconception that pre-owned CEREC machines are no longer supported by the manufacturer, but that’s not true in many cases. Yes – repairing an older CEREC machine, like repairing an older pre-owned car, may be more expensive as the parts for the older machines become more rare. But many companies, like Dentsply Sirona, will continue to offer service and support for any CEREC machines originally purchased in the United States. You can even join the service club and receive software updates and other benefits as though you were the machine’s original owner. So just make sure that when you’re buying a pre-owned CEREC you speak to the device’s previous owner about support and look up the manufacturer’s policy on providing updates for pre-owned machines.
As for the cost itself, here are some general figures for what you can expect to pay for a pre-owned CEREC machine:
– Pre-owned CEREC 3 & Compact cost: $2,000-$7,500
– Pre-owned CEREC AC Bluecam & Compact cost: $12,000-$20,000
– Pre-owned CEREC AC Bluecam & MC XL cost: $32,000-$50,000
– Pre-owned CEREC AC Omnicam & MC XL cost: $75,000-$120,000
As far as options for financing the machine or buying it with a payment plan, you’ll have to speak to the previous owner or reseller. Availability will vary by region.
The future of CAD/CAM dentistry
The debate rages on in the dental community: what is the future of ceramic restorations? Will the convenience and high-tech feature set of CAD/CAM dentistry make it the new standard for these sorts of procedures? Or will the artistry of skilled technicians hand-crafting perfect prosthodontics still win the day?
Dr. Dobrina Mollova of the Centre for Advanced Professional Practices and Dr. John Burgess, the Assistant Dean for Clinical Research at the University of Alabama, both believe that technicians will continue to be a part of the restoration process. “There will always be a need for technicians,” Dr. Mollova said in an interview with Dentistry IQ, “for highly skilled professionals who are experts in the use of the machines that make the prosthodontics that modern dental practices rely on.”
It’s true that, at the moment, CEREC machines have not seen wide adoption among American dental practitioners – as we said before, the latest numbers put the adoption rate at only 8-10 percent, and many of those dentists who have purchased a CEREC machine don’t use it because they find the technology confusing.
However, there’s no denying that we live in an increasingly technological world. Modern Millennials – many of whom are just becoming old enough to start practices of their own – are much more comfortable with technology than many modern practitioners, will seek out the latest devices, and will make it a priority to learn how to use them. Moreover, as more dentists adopt the technology, the materials used to produce CAD/CAM ceramic restorations will become much cheaper – we’re already seeing that happen with the filaments used in 3D printers.
Moreover, you just can’t deny that convenience is becoming the hallmark of the modern world. In our half a decade of experience working with patients, one of the most common questions we get is “How long will this procedure take?” Patients don’t want to have to wait for what might be the most perfectly crafted set of crowns or restorations – they want to get in and out of the dentist’s office in a single trip.
Dentists who are meeting that need for convenience will continue to do much better than those who don’t, and we at Emergency Dentist USA truly believe that CAD/CAM dentistry is the future of oral surgery.
CEREC Machine Cost FAQs
How does a CEREC machine work?
First, the area of the tooth that needs restoration is photographed and stored by the machine as a three-dimensional digital model. The CEREC machine then uses internal proprietary software to make biogeneric comparisons between that model and the shape of the surrounding teeth and will attempt to come up with a restoration that can be used to make the worn down tooth look like those around it.
At this point, the dental practitioner or their lab technician can use 3D CAD (Computer Assisted Design) software to edit the proposed restoration and make sure that it’s perfect. When the model is complete, a miniaturized milling machine will carve the restoration out of a block of ceramic using diamond tipped cutting implements.
The dentist can then bond this piece of ceramic to the tooth using resin, just like any other dental restoration.
How much does a CEREC machine cost?
A CEREC machine usually costs between $100,000 and $147,000. The price is steep, but most sellers and manufacturers will offer some kind of payment plan that makes that number a lot more affordable. We describe the process of applying for CEREC machine financing in more detail in the section above.
Is a CEREC machine worth it?
In most cases, yes. Some offices don’t have a great enough need for ceramic restorations and may find that hiring a lab technician as needed is cheaper. But if you find yourself performing this surgery quite often, you will likely save money and will definitely save time by purchasing a CEREC machine.
What’s more, years of dental marketing research shows that being able to perform this complex procedure in a single dental visit is more likely to bring customers to your office instead of the office of your competition. We describe this research in some of the sections above. In many cases, the CEREC machine should pay for itself by bringing in more customers who are looking for high-tech convenience.
Who invented the CEREC machine?
The CEREC method was originally developed by W. Mörmann and M. Brandestini, who worked on the project at the University of Zurich. The technology was purchased by Sirona Dental Systems in Bensheim, Germany, which developed the machine further and released the first commercially-available CEREC machine in 1987.
We hope that this article has helped you better understand the cost of a CEREC machine and how you can afford to buy one for your dental practice. As an expert dental marketing organization with years of experience connecting dentists with patients, Emergency Dentist USA understands the ongoing struggle of attracting new patients to a practice, and we assure you that keeping up with the latest and most convenient technology and procedures is well worth the price of admission.