Following is a reprint of an article in the Henry Schein Magazine Sidekick
Determining if this type of high technology is right for your practice requires careful analysis of the return on investment (ROI). A practice must not only consider hard costs and the potential financial return, but also the positive marketing impact to patients—current and future. In the case of chairside CAD/CAM dentistry there is also a shifting of some financial and human resources from an outside fabrication service to in-office design and fabrication (i.e., milling) processes.
Practice overhead (typically 60%–70%) makes up the majority of “costs” of any dental procedure and being able to complete a procedure in one appointment that previously took two appointments, with about the same amount of chairtime, automatically saves the practice time and money. With no second appointment, there is no expense for greeting, seating, patient preparation, operatory turnover or the possibility of second-visit cancellations.
Every ROI is unique to the individual practice but in most scenarios, if examined closely, the time-tested practice of delivering one restoration over two appointments—separated by up to three to four weeks—is a suspect income generator. Consider a situation where a dentist resists raising his/her fees for the next six years—for fear of losing patients. He/she charges $1000 for an all-ceramic indirectly fabricated restoration. If the practice is prepping and delivering a single-unit restoration over two appointments (based upon a 60%–70% overhead and a $150 fabrication fee) the procedure becomes at most a break-even situation after a certain period of time. With the introduction of Chairside CAD/CAM dentistry, the same doctor completing 20 restorations a month in single appointments versus two appointments and with no fabrication fee, lowers overhead and increases the profit/restoration for the practice dramatically—even without raising fees. This assumes material costs remain similar, five years of payment on the equipment, but does not take into account the potential upgrade of some direct restorations to indirect restorations because of a greater confidence in proximal contacts, contours, and occlusal form and function. Chairside CAD/CAM dentistry—the ability to scan, design, mill, and deliver a restoration in one appointment—may make economic sense for a practice such as this (Figure 3).
During economic slowdowns, it is more important than ever to be in control of major expense categories and analyzing areas where monthly outlays can be conserved and in-house services expanded. Unfortunately, determining if Chairside CAD/CAM dentistry is right for a practice isn’t just a matter of plugging in the number of restorations/month x laboratory fee to determine investment potential. A practice has to take into account the potential “upgrade” of large direct restorations, the impact and awareness to a potential patient base, and the general perception of the practice on being on the cutting (aka milling) edge of new technology. Your local Henry Schein CAD/CAM Specialist can assist you and your practice to determine if this type of technology is right for you economically.
Modern Dentistry for Modern Lifestyles™— that’s what successful dental healthcare professionals today must offer. Patients’ lives are busier than ever before—with carpools, business meetings and travel and just an overall more hectic schedule. Maximizing the efficiency of a dental visit, with the potential of reducing the number of visits to the office by half is an extremely attractive option for most patients.
Chairside CAD/CAM Dentistry is also a convenience for the office and team members. The office is now in complete control—of its schedule…no second appointment scheduling conflicts, of the restoration…knowing exactly where the restoration is and its status…as well as complete control of the treatment options and material selections. With this type of dentistry, digital images of the preoperative condition, the preparation, and the final design can be saved for patient records, future restorative options, or team member education and training.