Preparing a TCO Analysis for Dental Equipment Investments – A Strategy to Define and Retain Value

Sponsored Content

Whatever season of your practice – de novo, emerging to an acquisition, or well-established, you need to complete an analysis process before investing in capital equipment for the practice. A straightforward strategy plan will keep you moving forward and save you from decision paralysis and hindsight regrets as you review the balance sheet.

Establish the basics

A series of discovery questions with your clinical team will ascertain the basics. Writing most business cases drives for an increase to the bottom line, but dentistry is different. Patient care always comes first.

Diagnostic imaging equipment should incorporate the latest in patient-centric engineering for the ultimate standard of care. Choose equipment beyond conventional measures to be ready for more advanced care. Planmeca CBCT imaging features technologies that positively impact patient wellness, including Planmeca Ultra Low Dose™ for precise and predictable image capture at the lowest acceptable patient dose. The choice of impactful advancements in dentistry prioritizes the health and safety of your patients.

The need for an efficient and effective workflow ultimately results in increased treatments and more complex procedure care. Learn where the gaps are in your workflow – procedures that make the office operate inefficiently, resulting in patients initially not accepting treatment or adding inconvenience with repeat visits for standard therapies.

Advancing to the next level of capabilities with same-day dentistry is an opportunity to increase patient retention and develop an internal revenue stream. The flexibility of inclusive systems such as the Planmeca FIT® solution opens the door to efficient chairside scanning and centralized milling at the most suitable office location. Implementing turnkey solutions allow for a measurable return on investment.

Uncover the snares along the journey – the undisclosed costs of ownership.  Awareness of hidden fees reveals the beasts that eat into the profit margins. Does the staff have the training and education to operate the equipment to its full diagnostic capability, and does this come at additional costs? How often have treatments been delayed due to equipment failure?

TCO – the equation for cost

A total cost of ownership assessment identifies the difference between the purchase price and the total lifecycle cost. Total costs can include use fees and costs to maintain and upgrade the equipment over the product life. There can be an impact before the first finance payment is due. Some industries refer to these as soft costs. Are there hidden fees and incremental costs such as data, storage, or pay-per-click fees? Are upgrades required to your practice management system or IT infrastructure?

Determine the equipment lifespan. Diagnostic equipment has a seven-to-ten-year usable life, while some intraoral products max out at two years. Technology in dentistry is at exponential growth. Product updates will be available that will benefit levels of treatment. Is the equipment built in an upgradable platform for modular expansion to improved levels of procedural care? Know that your investment in equipment is for the long term. Planmeca’s global mission for “Better Care through Innovation” begins with an investment into research and development to produce the highest clinical care innovation. By choosing Planmeca equipment, a consistent stream of upgrades ensures operations are at the highest clinical care standards. Flexibility and ease of upgrade extend equipment lifespan.

Is there potential for lost revenue during an installation process? Is the clinical time now needed for required training? Get complete visibility into the installation and training process before it impacts the current schedule. Planmeca begins with a pre-installation assessment. This approach creates a customizable timeline for all site locations. A flexible and scalable installation process arranged in partnership with the group and installing dealer eliminates downtime and ramps-up onboarding.

Equipment is only producing when the staff knows how to operate it correctly for effective diagnosis. To support investments in technology, Planmeca regards education as a foundation for the entire dental team. Planmeca offers a continuous stream of training to help realize organizational goals from essential in-office to advanced image interpretation courses at Planmeca Digital Academy. Planmeca assures the correct fit for group practice’s needs by assigning a dedicated training team and flexible options to meet learning styles and fit within the group’s learning management system for on-demand education.

This total cost of ownership view uncovers the importance of value over price. At Planmeca, we have earned our reputation for product quality from professions that testify to the continuity of use and ease the transition into upgrades for clinical advancements.

Invariably there will be equipment failure. Know in advance the responsiveness and level of collaboration between the dental equipment dealer and the manufacturer. A reactive team mitigates downtime and revenue loss. Planmeca has advanced field outreach to include dedicated phone support and group wiki pages with access to respond in real-time. Responsive field support is valuable for ease of mind and continuous operations.

Consider timing – budgeting, planning, and opportunities

The group’s long-term goals, along with incremental financial markers, determine the flexibility and tolerance for and investments. Is your current caseload significant enough to provide the margin for capital expenditures? Can you build through to your future by choosing financing models that will get you to where you want to be? Budgeting for the delivery of more care can increase the bottom line as treatment ramps up.

Team input

Don’t overlook input from these critical contributors both corporately and at practice locations to ensure sound decision-making.

  • Clinical users – When you are ready to determine between the top contenders include the practice’s daily application users, including both practitioners of the equipment and the design software. The inclusion of top performers can positively impact acceptance of new technology and champion it throughout the group.
  • IT – Equipment throughout the practice can operate as disparate silos of data or an integrated system. Assurance that new equipment works within an open system compatible with current practice use and secure data management will improve IT’s approval.
  • Finance – Specific tax advantages may drive the timing of the purchase. Be aware of planned upgrades and technology improvements. The timing of capital equipment purchases can assure that you are on the cutting edge of the latest advances and are keeping future upgrades in consideration.

The sphere of influence

  • Respected peers who are current users often very open to sharing their experience. Input on the ease of use and reaction to new processes in practice provide a real-world experience. Ultimately, users have experienced the overall impact of the investment and can share with outcome-based on increased procedures. Study clubs, alumni organizations, and trade publications are excellent sources of peer-to-peer reviews and testimonials.
  • The manufacturer/dealer relationship – don’t underestimate this fundamental element. A trustworthy relationship with your dental equipment dealer will go a long way to confidence in the final decision. Dealer representatives should consider the best interests of the practice of the group and foster an ongoing relationship. The best partnerships offer the best promotional and pricing advantages and creative financing options.

A measurement guide is a bond between the dealer and manufacturer. Do they serve your group in a partnership or as a transactional relationship? Working with a dealer and manufacturer in collaboration means a team delivers to the group’s interests, a component not available in a direct purchase model. A community is the foundation of Planmeca’s solution for group practices. With solid relationships beyond the sales process, Planmeca values our dealer partners and keeps product and technology training current. The result is a robust and integrated field team to serve groups.

The plan is in place, and you have drafted the RFP. By weighing the total cost and scaling the added values, you can benefit from equipment investments with fewer regrets and measurable results for the group.

To learn more, visit


Written by: Rudy Wolf, Jr.
Director of Sales, Strategic Accounts



Looking for a Job? Looking to Fill a Job? can help:Subscribe for free to the most-read and respected
resource for DSO analysis, news & events:Read what our subscribers & advertisers think of us: