Truly successful decision-making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.
Happy New Year from CAD/CAM HERO! The start of a new journey around the sun is a great time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the one ahead. If one of your goals this year is to add CEREC dentistry to your practice, then you've come to the right place. This blog post aims to provide up-to-date market information to help readers with making a CEREC purchase in 2017.
Let's start with scanning systems. Sirona currently sells two versions of their CEREC Acquisition Centers: Bluecam and Omnicam. You can view a comparison of the Bluecam and Omnicam below:
What's the functional difference between a new Bluecam AC and a used Bluecam AC?
At best, the computer hardware offers superior performance, but it's definitely not a given. Sirona stopped making new hardware configurations for the Bluecam ACs in 2012. So any new Bluecams sold today are really no better than those sold five years ago. Considering there are many used Bluecam options available for under $10,000, purchasing a new Bluecam is akin to donating an assistant's annual salary to a $13.3 billion dollar company. Needless to say, that would be an inexplicable waste of money.
What's the functional difference between a new Omnicam AC and a used Omnicam AC?
Not much. As is the case with Bluecams, the only difference in technology between the Omnicams over the years are minor computer hardware updates (processor and/or graphics cards). These updates produce minimal performance enhancements that most likely go unnoticed by the casual user. However, unlike with Bluecams, there is a major shortage of used Omnicams available in the secondary marketplace. This is because 99% of used Omnicam ACs are being sold in combination with a milling unit and oven. Any solo Omnicam AC that hits the market is usually snatched up within a matter of days. Unless a new scanner is released by Dentsply Sirona in 2017, I do not anticipate this market condition to change anytime soon. If you do happen to find an Omnicam for sale outside of a package deal, expect to pay an asking price in the $40s.
How old is too old when it comes to CEREC ACs?
This question mainly applies to Bluecams, because no Omnicams are "too old". I want to start off by saying that ALL CEREC ACs (even older Bluecams) can run the latest CEREC software without issue. This is because the Bluecam camera is less taxing on the computer system than the Omnicam camera, thus it can make do with older components. However, if you feel the need for speed you can soup up any Bluecam with a few easily installed upgrades at a cost of around $500. I recommend you add an MSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti graphics card, a solid state drive, and additional RAM.
Which CEREC software versions or licenses should I look for?
The last chargeable update that required a new license to use is version 4.4- released in September 2015. The latest service pack update is 4.4.4, which was released in October 2016. The service packs can be downloaded from Sirona for free. If you are considering an AC that needs to be updated to 4.4, the only pre-requisite license required is 4.0. In other words, as long as you have the 4.0 base license you can skip 4.2 and 4.3 on your way to 4.4. It's not necessary to have all four licenses to upgrade.
Other licenses you should be aware of include:
Connect 4.0: allows you to use Sirona's Connect 4.x software versions so you can send cases to approved labs for fabrication. You can download this software for free here.
inLab Stack 4.0: follow the jump for a full description here.
Ortho SW 1.0: allows you to create digital models in CEREC Ortho software for Invisalign treatment. This software only works with Omnicams.
Open GALILEOS Implant: allows you to use Sirona's implant planning software in conjunction with a Sirona 3D x-ray to make CEREC or SICAT surgical guides.
CEREC 4.3 SW: released July 2014. Prerequisite for CEREC Guide 2. Full software description available here.
CEREC 4.2 SW: released June 2013. Expands design options to include: customized implant abutments, smile design (use a patient photo to virtually place a restoration to see how the patient looks), and a virtual articulator to simulate the patient's jaw movements so the user can find the static and dynamic contact points.
CEREC 4.0 SW: released August 2011. Prerequisite for CEREC Guide 1. Modern era software that introduced an intuitive user interface, self-explanatory icons, and photorealistic images.
CEREC 3.8 SW: released August 2010. This is older gen software mainly geared towards CEREC 3 users. If you are considering a CEREC AC with 3.8 SW, factor in the cost to upgrade immediately using 4.x software/licenses sold on eBay.
What other factors should I consider when purchasing a used AC?
- The prismatic lens sleeve is a consumable part that can be expensive to replace. Check for a clear lens that does not interfere with acquisition quality.
- Be sure to ask if the seller has the camera calibration kit to include with the sale.
- Hardware upgrades are nice, but if the upgrade was not performed by a Patterson technician then any remaining factory warranty is void.
Sirona currently offers a range of milling options in an effort to cater to different needs and price points:
CEREC MC- offers indications similar to the old classic milling units. This mill is designed for practices who focus on single-tooth inlays, onlays, crowns, and veneers. It is capable of working with blocks up to 20 mm in size.
CEREC MC X- this mill occupies the role held by the MC XL milling unit up until 2013. It offers a full range of chairside indications and builds upon the MC's capabilities by also fabricating bridges, abutments, surgical guides and blocks up to 40 mm.
CEREC MC XL Practice Lab- formerly known as the MC XL Premium Package. This mill is easily identifiable by its 4-motor milling chamber and is made for the dental practice with an onsite lab. In addition to the indications of the MC X, it can fabricate bridge frameworks, customized implant abutments, surgical guides, telescopes, bars, attachments and blocks up to 85 mm.
What's the functional difference between a used milling unit and a new milling unit?
Sirona has made both branding and functional changes to their milling unit portfolio over the past few years.. This has created a lot of confusion among prospective CEREC owners as they attempt to compare used mills with the latest offerings. For example, the MC XL is now called the MC X, and the MC XL Premium is now known as the MC XL Practice Lab. Marketing strategies aside, the bottom line is that used milling units have 90% of the functionality that new milling units have. The one specific capability that sets the new milling units apart is the ability to dry mill. In March 2016, Sirona equipped their latest line of mills with new precision tools and a device to vacuum up mill shavings. The resulting achievement was a dry carbide milling option in addition to the traditional wet grinding functionality. This dry mill capability along with Sirona's new SpeedFire sintering furnace are the backbone of Sirona's Chairside Zirconia workflow.
Can you wet mill zirconia blocks with older milling units?
Yes. Beginning in 2013, Sirona milling units came standard with carbide bur compatible motors and offered to upgrade older mills for existing users as well. Any milling unit with a serial number higher than the following will have a carbide bur compatible motor:
129001 (MC XL)
302001 (MC XL Practice Lab)
231001 (MC X)
In addition to the motor you will need a manual block chuck, carbide and zirconia burs (Shaper 25rz, Shaper 25, Finisher 10), and a sintering oven to finish the restoration.
How does Patterson handle the transfer of ownership among CEREC users?
Your Patterson rep might give you the silent treatment for a little while until they get over the loss of their commission, but most of our customers report seamless ownership transfers. There is a one page form called the Notice of Change in Practice Ownership (the title is kind of misleading) that is completed by both the buyer and the seller. The form is then submitted by the seller to their local Patterson branch for processing. There is no fee to transfer ownership of a CEREC.
Will I be able to get service and support from Patterson/Sirona if I buy used versus new?
Yes. Sirona has a contract with its distributors that stipulates they must service and support all systems originally sold within their distribution territories. If the CEREC was originally sold by Patterson in the USA, then they are required to support that system whether you were the original purchaser or not. This is not to say that all CERECs you'll find in the secondary market are eligible for service and support. Some US users will import CERECs from Europe because they cost much less there than in the states. In that case, you would probably get virtual support from Sirona Germany directly, but likely very little help from Patterson. It is important to get the serial numbers of the units you are considering before making a purchase and running them by the CEREC specialists at the Patterson Technology Center. If you come across any unit that does not have a serial number, then you'd be on your own if that machine ever went down.
How long does Sirona warranty a CEREC system and is it transferable to a new owner?
Sirona provides a 7-year warranty from the original date of installation if the machines are enrolled in the service club. You can enroll in the service club at any time and enjoy the remainder of the warranty, even if the original owner was not a service club member.
How much does the service club cost to join?
Doctor to doctor transfers are free of charge. That means if you purchase a used CEREC that was not active on the service club, and decide to sign up, you can do so without paying a penalty. There is a "joiners fee" (up to $2,000) for original owners who forego the service club and decide to join at a later date (like when their machine goes down or they want a free software upgrade). The monthly service club fee is $299 + tax.
Thank you for reading. What questions do you have? Please e-mail them to email@example.com so we can build upon this post!
If you would like expert and effective help with purchasing or selling a used CEREC system, call the used CEREC experts at (844) 385-4376 or visit www.cadcamhero.com.