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The 6 costly items in a dentist office that often require financing.

The dental industry has evolved significantly over the years, with technology playing a crucial role in revolutionizing how dental practices operate. By investing in advanced equipment, dental professionals can offer patients the highest standard of care while increasing efficiency and productivity.

But the cost of equipment and technology in a dental office can be quite high, with some items possibly requiring a bank to secure financing due to their substantial price tags. Let’s explore the six most costly things in a dental office that typically require financing.

1. Dental chairs and delivery units.

A dental chair plays a vital role in the patient experience and overall workflow of the clinic. Modern dental chairs come with integrated delivery units, which house essential tools like air and water syringes, suction and handpiece connections. These chairs can cost up to $10,000 for a modest set up — with prices fluctuating, depending on the brand and features. Chairs will also require a compressor, a vacuum system, and filtration and collection systems that will need regulator maintenance, adding to the costs (a potential $5,000 – $10,000 expense). However, investing in a high-quality chair enhances patient comfort and can improve the efficiency of dental procedures.

2. Digital x-ray equipment.

Digital x-ray systems have transformed the way dental professionals diagnose and treat patients. These systems offer better image quality, lower radiation exposure and faster results than traditional film-based systems. Regarding 3D imaging, conventional pano machines are quickly being replaced by CBCT machines in today’s modern dentistry and are often the subject of loan requests to lenders. Years ago, CBCT machines retailed for close to $200,000, but modernizations in technology have driven costs down to between $30,000 and $50,000.

Digital x-ray sensors often cost around $5,000 – $7,000 per unit, but a practice might require a minimum or two sensors to function efficiently.

Despite these prices, the long-term benefits of improved diagnosis and treatment planning can lead to higher patient satisfaction and better clinical outcomes.

3. CAD/CAM systems.

CAD/CAM systems have become indispensable tools in modern dental practices, allowing for the efficient production of dental restorations such as crowns, bridges and implants. These systems can vary in costs, with a practical machine costing between $60,000 and $80,000. These machines offer significant benefits, including increased precision and greater control over the final result. CAD/CAM systems are also significant revenue drivers for many practices, and coupled with streamlined same-day workflows, can pay for themselves many times over. On top of the practical application of these machines, maintenance costs are relatively minor, and they often provide a decade-worth of work before needing to be replaced entirely.

4. Sterilization equipment.

Maintaining a safe and hygienic dental practice is paramount for patient safety and trust. Autoclaves tend to be the most expensive piece of sterilization equipment, with new ovens costing around $7,000 per unit for more conventional models. Like other pieces of dentistry equipment, prices fluctuate, depending on the additional bells and whistles. Autoclaves also tend to break down more frequently than other pieces of equipment, leading to more repair fees. But when properly maintained, practices can get about 7–10 years of use from one oven.

5. Computers.

Dentistry is no exception to the mounting costs of computers, software and IT services. Alongside the computers in the front office and lab, each treatment room will require at least one workstation. And each workstation will require the proper hardware and software to run efficiently. Software, ranging from medical record management systems, billing and collection systems, and dentistry treatment support systems, will also require the correct licenses — either as one-time payments or on a subscription-based service — as well as dedicated external IT resources for servicing and updates.

Prices vary wildly, depending on the size of the practice and the systems used, but expect to pay around $15,000 – $40,000 or more to outfit your practice.

6. Dentistry tools.

On the surface, small-dollar items like hand tools are cost-effective — but prices tend to really add up after a while. New dentists who may have bought a practice when entering the industry for the first time may feel inclined to replace the previous owner’s equipment all at once, causing expenses to skyrocket. Expect a practice-wide replacement of all dentistry hand tools to cost between $5,000 and $15,000.

While the cost of advanced dental equipment can be substantial, the long-term benefits to patient care and practice success make these investments worthwhile. By incorporating state-of-the-art technology, dental professionals can differentiate their practices, improve clinical outcomes and elevate the patient experience.

Dentists seeking equipment loan options should look to a bank that has a focus in supporting the dental industry.

Commerce Bank’s Dental Services team offers specialized equipment financing solutions for dentists seeking to purchase or upgrade expensive equipment. Our tailored financing options provide up to 100% loan-to-value (LTV) on new and used equipment, ensuring minimal strain on your practice's cash flow.

Our multi-advance structure offers flexibility and caters to the payment terms often required by equipment manufacturers and dealers. This approach allows dental practitioners to draw funds as needed and pay interest only on the amount drawn, potentially resulting in significant savings.

Our experienced financing team will work closely with you to create a customized plan that suits your needs. By choosing Commerce Bank, you can maintain an advanced facility while conserving working capital and lines of credit.

Enhance your patients' experience and confidently grow your practice through our flexible financing solutions. See our Dental Services Overview to learn more.
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