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What You Need to Know Before Buying New Dental Equipment & Technology

This is a picture of dental equipment.

As a dental practice owner, deciding to incorporate new technology and equipment is a step toward improving efficiency and quality of care for your patients. 

Before you take that step to invest in new technology, here are four things to consider so you can be prepared and knowledgeable about your purchase.  

Take a deeper look at how the equipment will benefit your practice

New equipment can benefit your dental practice drastically. Before making your purchase, consider how the equipment will help your practice in the following ways:  

How will your purchase differentiate your practice?  

Having the latest equipment can help your practice stay ahead in a competitive market. Consider if this technology/equipment is something you can market to your target patients in order to increase the appeal of your practice.  

Additionally, acquiring new equipment may allow you to offer new services. New services means additional income and less referring out to other dental specialists.  

How will it appeal to patients?  

Patients are used to modern technology, and this can also be leveraged to appeal to your patient base from a marketing perspective. Personal devices like phones and laptops are constantly evolving, and patients typically keep up with the latest and greatest. How can you cater to their needs? Are there softwares and equipment that will help you keep up with the changing times?  

Creating more efficiency for your practice is great, but being more patient friendly with their time and improving their personal experience could be even more beneficial. Making a trip to the dentist more seamless or more educational can improve case acceptance, patient satisfaction, and ultimately lead to more future business with referrals or marketable reviews. 

What’s my ROI?

You may experience sticker shock when first shopping for equipment, but looking at a potential purchase holistically can give you a better idea of how it will benefit your dental practice. A new piece of equipment may allow you to see more patients, streamline front office processes, or offer more services to your community.  

These improvements may increase profits, but it should be worth the expense. If you decide the technology is something your practice could use, it should ultimately pay for itself with the increased production or efficiency. That is why a thorough review is so important — to ensure it will do just that.  

Will updating to reliable equipment save you time?  

As your equipment ages, maintenance requires time, effort and money to ensure you are able to serve your patients well. With outdated equipment, you may lose money when necessary equipment is unusable. Updating to newer, more reliable equipment can maximize your money and time instead of experiencing frequent maintenance needs.  

How will it attract or help retain great employees?  

Equipment quality and services offered can be a deciding factor for some potential employees. Newer and more modern equipment that allows staff to work efficiently and effectively can help you stay competitive when hiring.  

It could also show your existing and future employees that you’re committed to investing in the practice that they are also investing their future in. New equipment can signify that you’re looking to the future to make sure your patients get that higher quality of care.  

Speak with your CPA to understand tax implications  

You probably already know this if you’re a practice owner, but if you are not a practice owner, you should know that depreciation is one of the biggest tax benefits of running a practice, as it reduces your tax liability each year. For example, Section 179 can result in a tax deduction on qualifying equipment and software for up to $1,080,000, which could help lower your taxable income and increase cash flow.  

An industry-specific CPA is an invaluable tool throughout your career and can be especially helpful as you equip your practice. Always consult your CPA to determine how these tax breaks could benefit you and any caveats you should know. If you are in need of an experienced, trusted CPA, our Build Your Team program can get you connected to one for free!  

Making the decision on what to buy and how to find it 

Now that you have prepared for your purchase, it is time to find the equipment for you. Not sure where to start? Here are some ways to find the right equipment for your needs:  

Ask for recommendations  

There is no greater resource than your peers. Speak with your study groups, dental Facebook groups, and other dentists you know and trust to see what equipment and brands they recommend and what they stay away from.  

Work with an equipment specialist at a trusted supplier/distributor  

Equipment purchases are large investments, and there can be price differences between brands, makes and models. Leveraging a trusted specialist to walk you through the pros, cons, features and abilities of each option will help you save valuable time and self-research. 

See the dental equipment or technology in action 

Buying something in the higher price ranges without seeing it in person can be worrisome. A visit to a trade show, getting a demo, visiting a practice that is already using the technology, or visiting a showroom is a great opportunity to view the equipment and ensure that it will fill your needs and work for your practice.  

Consider used or refurbished equipment  

Used equipment has its pros and cons, and it can be difficult to know where to start. If you are looking for certain equipment at a discounted price, a trusted equipment specialist can guide you through the search for secondhand items. Dental equipment suppliers may have refurbished equipment that fulfills your needs, too.  

Peers, social media networking groups, study clubs, etc may also be good avenues for used equipment, but just like with buying a used car from an untrusted source, there are risks involved. Please use an equipment professional to help assess the item before you buy.  

Know how you will finance your dental equipment purchase  

The best financing option for any practice owner looking to purchase equipment is paying cash, but that’s not always possible. If cash isn’t an option for you, then there may be several other financing options.

Many suppliers have preferred financing options that offer better terms than third-party options. Supplier-preferred financing could offer six to 12 months of 0% interest and may offer a period of no payments. Just like 0% auto financing from the Chevys and Fords of the world, the manufacturers want to move equipment and use extremely low financing options to motivate doctors to buy their products.  

These are great terms, but they are likely only beneficial if you can pay the balance during that promotional period. If you cannot, the interest could skyrocket once that time of no interest is over. Be sure you understand what you can afford and how quickly you can pay it off before you decide how you will finance your equipment purchase.  

Equipment-specific loans from a third party could be a great option. Panacea Financial has an equipment loan with up to $250,000 in financing — and more if needed! — and approval in as little as 1 hour! Learn more here. Whatever financing option you choose, we are here to help!  

Before making your purchase, we recommend consulting with your team. CPAs and equipment specialists from a trusted distributor or manufacturer can help you make well-educated decisions. If you are in need of industry-specific experts to advise you throughout the purchase process and beyond, our Build Your Team program can get you connected for free!  

Panacea Financial, a division of Primis. Member FDIC.

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