Here are the eight most important questions to ask yourself before investing in new dental equipment.
Q1. Is it too good to be true?
There are some unscrupulous sellers out there that hoodwink dental practices who are buying equipment in good faith, either with counterfeit goods, or promises they can never live up to.
The reality is, whether unwittingly or knowingly, using counterfeit goods could seriously impact on the health of your patients and your team. Unregulated, untested and unsafe dental knock-offs are unfortunately all too common so it’s important to understand that if something looks too good to be true it probably is.
But it’s easy to protect yourself from counterfeits by buying from a reputable supplier, which takes us to our next question…
Q2. Is the manufacturer reputable and reliable?
If you don’t recognise the manufacturer or equipment brand you’re interested in do your research. Our advice is to only buy products made by a manufacturer that has a strong trading history and one that also offers UK assistance. The latter is less important at the point of purchase, but invaluable when you need support if something goes wrong.
Check customer ratings online, read up on the latest news and look through the website.
Q3. Is the seller reputable and reliable?
The same advice applies to the seller. Don’t be tempted by equipment sold on sites such as eBay – not only could you be buying a counterfeit product, but it will come without warrantee or support.
Choose a seller that has a pedigree in selling dental equipment and one that can guide you through the process, from making the decision, through to installation and service and maintenance.
Q4. What do your peers say?
Dentists are great at coming forward with reviews and recommendations. So before investing it’s absolutely essential to talk to colleagues and friends involved in dentistry to see if they can offer any advice based on their experiences.
Q5. How easy and cost efficient is it going to be to maintain it?
Every piece of equipment needs to be serviced and maintained to keep it in good health. There is nothing more disastrous, or costly, than having to close a practice due to equipment failure. It’s therefore worth looking into service contracts and factoring the cost into your buying decision. It’s also important to understand how easy it is to buy new manufacturer parts – in an emergency it could be costly to wait five days, or more, for an urgent part to travel from overseas.
Q6. What does the warrantee cover?
Check it. Make sure it offers good coverage to protect your investment and see if there are any options to extend it further.
Five years is a good period of coverage – although this varies by manufacturer.
For items such as dental chairs, compressors and suction pumps it is becoming commonplace to be offered a manufacturer’s extended warrantee to cover parts for up to five years, with options for upgrades.
It’s especially important to check what your warrantee covers when buying digital technologies as they are typically higher cost and more complex to repair if they do need attention.
Q7. Are you buying for tomorrow as well as today?
It’s important to seek advice on the equipment you need to be able to achieve your goals today and tomorrow. Some dental equipment has been designed to enable practices to upgrade as and when they need it – especially within digital technology. Manufacturers’ are also offering ‘trade ins’ to allow for upgrades. This makes it cost effective for dentists to plan for the now and the future.
Q8. Lastly, are you sure?
We speak to practices on a daily basis at Dental Directory. Not only do they turn to us for support when considering making a purchase, but they also ask us for help when they’re struggling with a piece of kit they’ve bought in haste.
Before you buy anything make sure you’ve done your research, talked it through, costed it up from the point of purchase and throughout its potential lifecycle. Just one purchase can make or break the success of your practice running smoothly, and profitably. If in doubt, ask the experts – we’re always at the end of the phone.
Digital dentistry is a hot topic. It’s the future of the sector and therefore, the future of any practice looking at long term survival.