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The real cost of an analog impression (compared to a digital one)

Dr. Naren Rajan

DMD, FAGD

Dentistry of Mendham

Digital dentistry is a major cost. And a sound investment is dependent on realistic return on investment (ROI) planning. What sort of offset costs can be achieved? And can you match ROI with patient care?

Thousands of doctors have already put IOS equipment through its paces – day in, day out. So, we asked one of them to reflect on the following question:

Was it worth spending the money when you bought into digital impression technology?

This is the second part of our two-part blog series with Dr. Naren Rajan – a doctor based in New Jersey, USA. Part 1 was about getting more patient referrals.

The financial impact of digital impressions on my business

"I think that from a financial standpoint, for restorative dentistry, the biggest advantage was the efficiency of utilizing our team members in the office. A lot of obligated duties for managing the physical impressions were essentially gone overnight!

Whereas before we were taking impressions all day long and there was a team member whose responsibility was to disinfect the impressions and manage the prescription slips, manage the shipping, the return date, pouring the opposing models, if we needed to pour models, and whatnot.

"A lot of obligated duties for managing the physical impressions were essentially gone overnight!"

And simply not having to do that directly equates to a significant savings because we can now manage that team member's time more efficiently. We can say, "Go right to the next patient, the case has been sent.”

There's no extra lab work that needs to be done before the end of the day, or maybe racing to the UPS or the FedEx box. We noticed that right away, and that is one of the prime advantages to moving to internal scanning for a dentist who is not currently doing so."

The bulk of savings is in lab turnaround time

"The second thing is the improvement in turnaround time with the labs. Before we would routinely be waiting two full weeks for a restoration to come back to our office. Many times (we're on the East Coast of the United States), we use labs on the West Coast.

I'm scanning on, say, a Monday morning and the restoration is back on Wednesday morning for that model. For our routine procedure that is between one to three units, we're producing all of them without any physical models.

So, taking advantage of the digital workflow in that way really helps the efficiency of our practice and our business. I shared that feedback a couple of years ago when 3Shape was working on the ROI Calculator and I said, “That's the bulk of the financial savings that I can attribute to the TRIOS.” And those can be felt by any dentist, within the first couple of months."

What growth to expect after starting with intraoral scanning?

"I know that our clinic has grown every year since we have introduced this technology. And I know that there's a component with the incorporation of this technology that’s part of that growth. I share that information with dentists in my area. I could figure out percentages for my own clinic, but I can tell you that when we look at the patient visits that we're seeing, I think we are more productive actually.

Well, I'm working more days now, coming out of the pandemic. But prior to the pandemic, I was working less clinical days but producing more revenue than I did in the previous years.

"When we look at patient visits, I think we are more productive actually."

My most enjoyable year in practice was 2019, prior to the current world difficulties, where we really were firing on all cylinders by incorporating this technology. We were doing at least one to two reconstructive cases digitally per month, and it was a very enjoyable way to practice – it was profitable.

But using the technology goes far beyond just an impression replacement when you look at the ROI Calculator. But if you only focused on using the TRIOS as an impression replacement, you could still make this very simple statement: "If you use this, then you're no longer buying XYZ, and you're saving money."


Calculate your ROI

My experience with offsetting costs when purchasing my dental 3D scanner

"My personal figures in a one-doctor clinic were, I think, my spending maybe $500 or $600 a month on polyvinyl impression material, prior to getting a scanner. And when I bought the first scanner, the TRIOS 2, I think the payment on the scanner was $700 or $800 a month. So, there was already a cost offset from not having to buy the polyvinyl."

"But I think a new doctor that's coming in now has to figure out what is the technology going to cost per month, because most doctors are going to finance it through their reseller. And then you need to add the subscription cost on top of that.

“Having the experience that I’ve had, I know that it has saved me money, and I know that it's grown my practice.”

In some cases, the doctor may actually be spending a few dollars more on their TRIOS investment, initially at least. What they're not seeing is the cost savings of the time benefits that I was first talking about, about utilizing your team in a way that they're not doing now.

You're not spending your payroll time with a team member pouring models and making UPS labels and things like this. And so, there's greater efficiency there. When you first introduce it, it's almost a one-to-one transfer, and I don't think it will cost you any extra to move to this technology.

But then as you really start utilizing it and leveraging the other tools that are included, then that's when you really start to see a lot of the advancements and the savings… the true return on your investment."

The time you spend as a dentist is a key cost factor

"If I was looking at this fresh, it would be hard to imagine that buying this piece of technology is going to save me $100,000, $200,000, $300,000. Whereas, having the experience that I’ve had, I know that it has saved me money, and I know that it's helped grow my practice and my reputation in the dental community.”

How my team adjusted to the new impression technology

"My dental assistant is over 60. And she's been in dental assisting for 40 years. She was able to pick up this technology within the first couple of months. She manages the calibration and the Dental Desktop, she handles the management of case orders on a daily basis, and she can copy and edit orders and things like this. She was able to really learn it and she was a more experienced person with a vast analog background.

It’s very easy to use and share data. When patients come in, we'll take the Smile Design photos, I'll bring it into Smile Design and I'll see if the gingiva levels are where we want it, or see if the crowns are where we want it. And I take screenshots of this or little videos and I send it to the orthodontist. The feedback is always, "You're the only person that I work with that will give me this level of data, or this level of technology and communication with patients, and it really helps me."


*This cost offset calculation is just an example. Please contact your local reseller for financing options. Alternatively, calculate your cost savings and break even point with our ROI Calculator.

Curious to see your potential savings and return
on investment with our digital impression technology?

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About Dr. Naren Rajan

Dr. Naren Rajan

DMD, FAGD

Naren Rajan, an honors graduate from Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, is a leader in the education of digital techniques in dentistry and lectures nationally on the topic. In practice for over 15 years, Dr. Rajan focuses on incorporating digital techniques into all aspects of general practice. He believes in finding the best combination of traditional techniques and cutting-edge advancements to improve patient outcomes. More about Dr. Naren Rajan.

Dr. Najan uses 3Shape TRIOS in his dental practice.

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