Chasing a Panoramic
-A Digital Pano on the Cheap-
Brand New Digital Panoramics can run in the ballpark of $30,000-$50,000.
Not ideal for a lean start-up — or anyone business conscious really. I began to explore the world of used digital panoramics. Right now is an ideal time, with many docs upgrading to 3D/Conebeam/CBCT machines, they are looking to unload their digital panos. Let me repeat that again, many docs are upgrading to CBCT machines and are looking to UNLOAD their digital panos. I will leave it up to you to decide if a CBCT is necessary for your office. It wasn’t, isn’t, and probably never will be for mine.
A 3-D pano is fairly essential for a bread and butter dental office. It allows you evaluation of 3rd molars, should you extract any of those, and evaluation of the IAN location, sinuses, and can reveal lurking pathology growing within your patient. From a business perspective, a 30-second pano x-ray can be billed out for around $150 bucks per scan. I like the Pano because it shows me the big picture and in many cases (not all), can negate the necessity of taking a full-mouth series of x-rays. For many patients (not all), a Pano, 4BW, and select PAs as indicated provides all of the necessary information.
From an efficiency standpoint, I love that we cut down the 15+ minutes of taking an FMX down to just 30 seconds. It allows us to get so much more done.
But back to the $30,000-$50,000 price tag, yeah, doesn’t work for me.
The first place I began looking for used Pano’s was Ebay. I wasn’t comfortable with the anonymous nature of an Ebay sale for such a high priced item. Used Pano’s on Ebay were still mostly falling in the $10,000+ cost range. I then checked out reputable used dental equipment vendors like http://www.AtlasResell.com . They have a great selection and based on my conversations with them, they had great customer service. From Atlas, I was able to see Pano prices in the Sub-$10,000 range, and I knew I was on the right track.
I was turned off from Atlas, and similar vendors for 3 reasons:
- Very High Shipping freight costs (ranging in the $1,000s)
- Limited warranty 90-days is the norm
- No one to install it or set it up
Not having anyone to install or integrate the pano with my software was a major shake point for me. What if I bought it and couldn’t get it to work? I was nervous, but about ready to pull the trigger, before I decided to reach out to my awesome IT provider. I asked him if he knew any docs upgrading to 3D. He said yes and put me into contact with a great local dental office with a Kodak 8000 3-D, fully functional just sitting around. All I had to do know was set an asking price and close the deal.
But how much to ask for? I decided to leverage local used vendor ‘Sneaky Pete.’ Out of general respect for other people, I am never going to use Sneaky Pete’s real name on this blog, but he is a local equipment vendor I view as highly unethical and un-transparent about his true prices. Sneaky Pete always has dental stuff listed on CraigsList. Sure enough, he had a Kodak 8000 for sale on Craig’s List — $2,000 bucks. That’s his Craig’sList Ad posted at the top of this blog post. Same brand I ended up buying. I sent the Craig’s List ad to the Doc selling the Pano. Sure enough, the Doc called Sneaky Pete about the $2,000 Pano and Sneaky Pete told him the $2,000 was just for the ad, the real cost was $12,000….but this got the negotiation going.
Selling Doc and I eventually came to a deal of $5,000 for the Pano. He wanted it OUT and he had a deadline to get it OUT before the new CBCT came in, and I wanted to get a Pano in my office ASAP. It was a time sensitive deal for both of us. It all worked out. We drafted and signed a purchase agreement to have some official documentation of the transaction (something you should always do when you are doing local deals – I can show you how to write up a basic one if there is any interest). A local delivery company brought the machine to my office for about $300. My supply company and IT guy worked together to get the machine up and running.
Smooth sailing ever since.