06 Feb

CAD/CAM technology has been around for years, and more recently, the digital imaging component has become even more popular. With a scanner, you can scan and send cases to the office without the inconvenience of traditional impressions. By adding a milling unit, one can fabricate cases chairside in a single visit. Regardless of which digital components a provider uses, there is no doubt, CAD/CAM is a benefit to both patients and practitioners.

Perhaps this is the year that you finally look to adding that CEREC system to your office. I’ve been singing the praises of CEREC for over 15 years, well before it was cool to be a part of the CEREC revolution.

Overcoming objections

Your sales reps may have been trying to show you CEREC technology for years, but maybe you wanted to wait until the machine could do multiple restorations. Or until bridges could be milled chairside. Or until implant restorations could be performed with ease. Or when zirconia could be predictably fabricated in a single visit.

I’ve heard the excuses many times. Guess what: all the above and more can be easily performed with CEREC. In fact, CEREC Primescan is not an application looking for a home, it is your complete solution, whether you want to take digital scans and send them off to your favorite lab (any lab), or you want to go more advanced and do single-visit chairside dentistry. Primescan and CEREC can do it all.

It’s a great technology. We both know it but there is the elephant in the room of whether the economics of purchasing the system makes sense. Where is the ROI on this piece of technology? Does it really make sense for a dentist to buy a scanner and milling unit? I can tell you after having trained probably more CEREC users in the world than anyone else, unequivocally yes!

The ROI of a complete CEREC workflow

Next let’s look at some common procedures that you are likely doing in the office and let’s see if we can generate a tangible ROI for the technology by doing chairside dentistry.

The typical lab fee for a 3-unit bridge is on average about $150/unit. Certainly, this varies depending on the lab that you use, but consider for the sake of this example that a doctor is paying approximately $400 for a bridge with the lab, whereas a bridge block milled with the CEREC, depending on the material, is roughly $60, or about $20/unit. Imagine a practice that does one bridge a week – on just those procedures, the savings is upwards of $1,000/month.

The average implant restoration from a laboratory is in the neighborhood of about $500 once you figure in the cost of the abutment and the crown. That same restoration is about $150 with CEREC. Again, one implant restoration a week done chairside with CEREC has the potential to save the office another $1,000/month.

That’s just two procedures. We haven’t even discussed crowns, surgical guides, digital scanning and the elimination of impression material to look at the complete ROI of the system.

Closing thoughts

I don’t paint this as a scenario where you simply buy the technology and suddenly, your office becomes an ATM machine saving hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly. Integrating any piece of technology requires commitment, requires patience and certainly requires your team to be as committed as you are.

Clinically, there are very few restorations that today with the breadth of materials available that I cannot do chairside with my CEREC. Perhaps this is the year, after years of considering it, that you finally pull the trigger. Take the plunge and enjoy the ride with CEREC.

By: Sameer Puri, DDS

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