This article was provided by Sean Ryan at globalsurgical.com
As a dental practice owner, you’re likely confronted with new investment opportunities on a
regular basis. Dental technologies, in particular, have the potential to make major improvements in your patient care, such as the type and/or volume of procedures you can provide. Many of these technologies, such as dental cone beam/CBCT, are significant investments for your practice but frequently deliver on their promise for positive return on investment (ROI). If you’re considering making an investment in a new technology for your practice, you’ll likely want to research and think about the financial, workflow, training, and any additional factors that will influence your decision.
Today, we’re going to take a deep dive into each of these factors when it comes to buying a dental microscope. For over 25 years, microscopes have been the “big brother” to dental loupes for higher-power magnification in dentistry. The increased level of magnification and improved ergonomics have been the leading reasons dentists have upgraded their loupes to a dental microscope.
For full disclosure, Global Surgical is a dental microscope manufacturer and one of the first companies to focus on the emerging dental microscopy market more than 25 years ago and Dental TI distributes and supports Global microscopes. From the beginning, we’ve been strong advocates of the use of microscopes in dentistry. As such, we have extensive experience working with dentists around the world, educating them on the entire process of purchasing, installing and utilizing a dental microscope in their practice.
The Financials of a Dental Microscope
We’re starting with this topic because finances are usually top-of-mind for any dentist making a purchase for their practice. This is particularly true for dental equipment, which can be among the most expensive purchases in your practice, but also has the potential to deliver great value over time. To get an idea for the short-term and long-term value of a scope, you’ll need to compare the initial investment price with the forecasted revenue the scope can provide.
So, how much does a dental microscope cost? Knowing before you buy helps you get the right expectations about your investment.
To help dentists researching cost, we wrote the article: How Much Does a Dental Microscope Cost?
From our experience and what we’ve seen in the marketplace over the past few years, the cost of a dental microscope can range anywhere from $13,000 – $70,000. Like other technologies, there are entry-level scopes and higher-end models with the more premium features. However, the industry “sweet spot” for a dental microscope with a nice mix of features and value is between $19,000 – $30,000 depending on your desired options.
Next, it’s time to forecast your potential revenue. Many doctors consider a scope because the higher level of magnification helps improve their endodontic work and/or restorative work, such as composites, crowns and bridges. Or, they may consider adding a scope in order to start offering these services.
For a deeper look at the clinical applications improved by using a scope, continue reading: Top 5 Uses for a Dental Microscope.
Through the initial training and learning period, you and your staff will get more efficient with your scope, determining how and where it’s useful in your workflow. Many doctors we speak with start using their scope with nearly every procedure, from check-up through surgery.
The primary advantages doctors see as a result of using their scope are increased acceptance rates, improved quality of treatment, greater efficiency and enhanced reputation, each of which directly impacts your bottom-line revenue.
Understanding Your Investment: Calculating ROI on a Dental Microscope
The following is a framework you can use to apply your own metrics to help you calculate the short and long-term value of your scope. Let’s look at an example we often use when discussing microscope return on investment (ROI).
If you were able to offer an additional root canal that you would not be able to perform without the magnification of a dental microscope, you can add this towards your monthly revenue. Depending on the patient fee you charge for this service, and the frequency you can expect to offer this procedure, you’ll likely find you’re able to pay for a dental microscope in only a few years. In the table below, you’ll see how this trend adjusts over time using sample fees and frequencies.
Next, you can also evaluate the fees you charge for services. The enhanced treatment capability can influence your patient’s perception of their quality of care. With proper patient education on the benefits of your scope, you may find your added precision and accuracy gives you the ability to increase your rates. Below is a breakdown of sample increases you might expect when modifying your service fees.
Your Initial Investment: Equipment Financing
Another financial consideration you may have is how you’ll purchase. Typically, we see doctors choose between a cash purchase, financing, (or applying for an equipment loan as part of a new construction), or leasing.
We’ve discovered in some configurations, leasing is a viable option for practices ready to get started with using a dental microscope that they might otherwise not be able to afford outright, or when current interest rates on a loan are unfavorable. Many leasing services provide competitive monthly payments with only the first payment required in advance.
Plus, we often hear from our customers on leases, their monthly payments can be offset through scheduling and completing just one additional endodontic or restorative procedure each month.
To help doctors with their financing options, we wrote the article: How to Finance Dental Microscopes.
Health & Ergonomics
As a dental professional, you’ve likely experienced the physical strain that comes from a long day of caring for your patients. After all, you may be spending hours each day hunched over, in arched positions and/or making repetitive motions to get the perfect angle for performing your patient’s treatment. It’s a legitimate concern for your comfort now and your quality of life down the road.
If you’re considering a dental microscope, you’re not only making a financial investment, you may also be improving your health and quality of life. Rather than arching your back and neck, the dental microscope is positioned to have you looking straight ahead through binoculars in a comfortable, stress-free position. This, in turn, allows you to work longer periods without back and neck pain or fatigue.
Over the years, we’ve had numerous doctors come back and tell us how their microscope contributed to their long-term health. Many cited that the benefit of reduced stress on their joints provided by the use of a microscope extended the longevity of their careers, with others claiming they’ve also increased productivity after investing in a dental microscope. Needless to say, it’s hard to put a price on your health.
Don’t just take our word for it, hear the feedback we’ve received from some of our customers:
“I saw a dental colleague forced to retire due to neck and back problems and swore this would not happen to me. I was captivated by the ergonomic positioning when using a Global Surgical microscope, and thought ‘That’s for Me!’ It improved my ergonomic position and I could see better; therefore (theoretically) do better work.” – Dr. Wayne Remington, DDS
“Within two weeks of using the Global microscope, my neck pain was gone. I have successfully managed my pain ever since.” – Dr. Lynn A. Jones
“The thing I like best about the microscope is the improved ergonomics it allows me. I was seeing my chiropractor 2-3 times a month before I integrated the microscope into my practice. My back pain has significantly improved!” – Dr. Karen Besler, DDS
“Using a scope not only allows you to operate with ideal back and neck posture, it also lets you see the oral environment in exquisite detail. As a result, my posture and my dentistry continually improve.” – Dr. Rick Spencer, DDS
For a comprehensive look, continue reading: Ergonomic Benefits of a Dental Microscope.
Training & Workflow
So far, we’ve considered the financial and health impacts of buying a scope. But what would this look like in practice? What does it look like to get started? How do you ensure you’re maximizing the value of your scope?
The answer to these questions greatly depend on how familiar you and your staff are with using a scope and/or magnification. If you’ve never used a scope or loupes, you’ll likely want to spend the time training with the scope so you and your staff get familiar with using the tool in your exam rooms. Just like other dental equipment used in your practice, your assistants, hygienists and other staff will also likely require training around proper use, maintenance and routine cleaning/disinfection of the scope. We offer onsite training as well as continuing education courses to gain comfort and familiarity with daily operation using a microscope.