Evolve or Become Extinct: Smart Equipment Investments Can Improve Your Practice

Keith W. Gruebele
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On the heels of the Yankee Dental Congress and right around the corner from the Chicago Dental Society Midwinter Meeting, there’s a lot of great equipment being exhibited on tradeshow floors to help dental professionals do their jobs better and faster.

Additionally, conference attendees are learning new techniques and procedures through continuing education courses to better serve patients and make practices more profitable than ever before.   

Keeping up with the latest technologies and trends can be overwhelming, and knowing when to make an investment can seem like a tough question to answer. While it’s neither necessary nor prudent to jump on every new piece of technology earning recognition in the field, it is important to stay up to date on what tools can help you bring your practice to the next level.

If you’re not willing to improve what you currently have, then you risk losing patients and income. At this point in the ever-changing marketplace, it boils down to evolving or becoming extinct. 

Regularly assessing the condition and age of your equipment is critical. If you fail to plan for your business, you’re planning to fail. Ask yourself these four questions to determine if the time is right for you to make a dental equipment upgrade or investment. 

How Much Will It Cost Me?

Remember, the baseline price of a new piece of equipment is not the total cost. You must factor in interest rate, training fees, installation expenses, and any other peripheral costs that may exist. Make sure to get an accurate estimate and consider what additional costs will incur from your lender or credit card, as well as what type of support you may need once it’s installed. That way, you can ensure that you have the funds you need without putting your office in the red.

How Will It Improve ROI?

It’s important to carefully consider the return on investment (ROI) of any large purchase for your practice. Compare the overall cost of the equipment with the potential for increased efficiency, additional patient load, and ability to perform new procedures and/or diagnostics in-house. Although most equipment won’t be profitable on day one, you may find that what seems like a huge initial investment will pay off sooner than you expect. Carefully consider the terms of your dental equipment financing and find a loan that works for your practice.

How Can It Help Me to Expand My Practice?

There are several ways new equipment could expand your practice. If investing in new technology allows you to perform new procedures, you have the potential to generate additional income. Having the latest technology may also help you to attract new talent to your practice. If you’re looking to add another dentist to your practice or are seeking a new partner, the opportunity to work with new equipment could be the draw you need.

What’s the Cost Difference Between Maintaining Old Equipment and Buying New Equipment?

The most obvious sign that it’s time to upgrade your dental equipment is frequent breakdowns and failures. Equipment maintenance can be costly. If you’re regularly shelling out money for repair service, you might be better off investing that cash in new equipment. Don’t forget to factor in money lost while essential equipment is down. Any appointments that need to be rescheduled are money out of your pocket. Take a look back at the past several years and see how much you’ve invested in repairs and upkeep, and then compare it to what it would cost you to replace it with a newer model. 

What’s In It for You

If you’ve answered all of these questions but are still on the fence, consider these additional potential benefits that newer equipment could bring to your dental practice.

  • Improved efficiency: Older medical equipment is often not as efficient as newer models. As advances are made in technology, equipment is able to work faster and smarter. Newer equipment is usually more user-friendly and more easily integrateable with modern data storage and electronic patient filing systems. 
  • Greater volume of procedures: The right dental equipment can allow your practice to perform more procedures and run more tests in-house. Whether you’re upgrading from film X-rays to digital intraoral radiography or buying a machine to make crowns on-site, new dental equipment can help you bring in more revenue.
  • New patient attraction: State-of-the-art medical equipment can help you attract new patients. As an early adopter of new technology, you may gain new patients who are in need of the specific tests and procedures that you are able to offer before anyone else in the area.
  • Better care: At the end of the day, it’s all about providing the best patient care possible. With the latest technology at your disposal, you can be sure that you’re giving your patients access to the best treatment options.

There is a lot of exciting technology available to dental professionals today, some of which can deliver maximum return on investment. Doing your homework can help you make the right decisions, set up your practice for success, and avoid extinction.

Mr. Gruebele is senior vice president at Bankers Healthcare Group, the leading provider of financial solutions for healthcare professionals. Contact him directly at kgruebele@bhg-inc.com or visit the BHG website at bankershealthcaregroup.com.

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