When is it OK to buy used equipment?

Buying dental equipment is like buying a car. Do you buy New? Used? Certified-Pre-Owned? Auction? If money isn’t an issue, I assume your will purchase new and exotic. Sadly, not all of us have that luxury. The frugal business owner will most likely shop between major dental suppliers and now; search on DentalAssets.com, the only Online Dental auction and full service supplier!

Why DentalAssets.com?
We are a full-service dental supplier and assist dentists with selling and auctioning their un-used dental equipment! With our experience of practice management, we have seen where equipment fails and have a compiled our recommendation list for you.

During a car purchase one evaluates the difference in sales price, the benefits of warranty, and contemplates if the “New Car Smell” is worth it. Similarly, dental equipment purchases force you to evaluate the cost, the warranty, and if your office really needs it. If the cost is too high, more than likely you will either not purchase it or look for a used model. Used models are a great way to get a high quality product at an affordable price. As with used cars, every wants to the find the “Adult owned, low mileage, driven to the Country Club/Market/Bingo and home”, but not all items have that history. The easiest way to find these items is via DentalAssets.com. If its to be found, the auction will come with it, they always do. Whether you purchase through DentalAssets.com or not, we have recommendations for your used purchases.

DentalAssets.com specializes in dental auctions and we have recommendations for your equipment purchases.  While used equipment is a great way to save money upfront, you want to ensure your purchase saves money long term. For maximum savings, we recommend these purchases:

–          Dental Patient Chairs

–          Doctor stools/Assistant stools

–          Computers

–          Lights (Operatory lights, not curing lights or whitening lights)

–          Delivery systems

–          Dental Lathes

–          Un opened / non-expired supplies

–          Oiled Compressor

Why?
Generally, these items rarely break and are easy to determine if it is in good condition.

Dental Patient Chairs: The hydraulic lift chairs are pretty much bullet proof.  If there are no leaks and the lift functions work, the chair will most likely work for another 20-30 years!

Tears or rips in the upholstery? Have the chairs refinished and you can have a working chair for a fraction of the cost for a new one! Patient comfort is key and I personally find older chairs to be pretty comfortable. Add a pillow for the patient’s neck and you have a winner.  As of 10/17/17, we have 3 patient chairs with hydraulic lifts available for $100 each!

Doctor / Assistant Stools: Generally speaking, the main factor that matters here is comfort. Is the seat comfortable for you to sit on? Does the assistant’s arm swing and lock? If you there are no issues, it should work fine. In regards to price savings, we sell new TPC Mirage Doctor stools at $285 and have other dental stools available at $1,500+. Used chairs can be found for low prices, but is dependent on your area. As of 10/17/17, we have a DentalEZ Simplicity doctor stool available for $100.

Computers: Technology is always developing at a rapid pace and next year’s tech is always releasing faster processors, more ram, and bigger video cards. Is all of this really necessary? Most dental offices use a Patient Management System (PMS), Netflix, Pandora, or some other video/tv streaming software, and access the imaging software. Even an advanced oral surgery offices using 3D CBCT pan/cephs primarily use quad-core processor, with 10gb of ram, and a solid-state-drive (ssd) to keep load speeds to a minimum. If your using the computer for PMS/Imaging Software/and some basic web browsing you could use a dual core processor and save hundreds off each workstation.

Lights: We aren’t talking about your ceiling lights. We are referring to your opertory light. Is it ceiling mounted? Delivery system mounted? Or do you use a headlamp on your loupes? Either way, each system traditionally uses a halogen bulb that can dim over time. The easy fix is to replace the bulb! These bulbs should cost no more than $15. Of course, you can always use a LED option. LED bulbs typically last ~50,000 hours. To put that in perspective, if used 12 hours per day, the LED light will last you more than 11 years. We have brand new TPC Ceiling mounted Lights stating at $1,300 each while TPC chair mounted lights with the mount start at $1,000. As of 10/17/17, we have ceiling mounted lights available via auction for $100! You could pay  <10% of the cost for a used ceiling mounted light!

Delivery systems: If you have opened the top of your delivery system it looks like a jungle of air tubing and valves, but generally is quite simple. Those air tubes route air to the handpieces and usually only have a few pieces, primarily the valves, that may go bad. When purchasing a used delivery system, we recommend checking the traps and lines to see for buildup of biofilm. If the lines and trap are clean, either the dentist has cared for their system or it did not receive much use.

Dental Lathes: In most cases, we prefer the older motors as they were overbuilt from the factory.  The only issue with used lathes is the cutting surface. We recommend purchasing a new disc or cleaning the cutting surface routinely.  As a price comparison, we are a distributor for Ray Foster and sell a brand new MT10 at $525 or MT12 at $650. As of 10/17/17 we have a used model trimmer available via auction for $100! Most wheel/discs are available for ~$40.

Oiled Compressors: Compressors come in two main types: oiled and non-oiled. We recommend purchasing oiled compressors as they to require some maintenance (oil changes/filter changes), but will generally run forever as long as its maintained. If no service history is available, the main way to check compressors are to open up the motor and to check the cylinder head. While this is usually a lot of work, you can tell if the compressor has been maintained by whether or not the air dryer has had the desiccant swapped out, coalescent filter has been changed, and whether or not there is water in the tank itself. Oiled Compressors are a major item for a dental office and if your not ready to evaluate one closely, we recommend purchasing a compressor new.  We currently offer JDS compressors starting at $4,399.

Un-opened and non-expired supplies: Being un-opened and still in its factory seal is a great way to save money on supplies.  Ensuring the supplies are not expired is another way to get a deal at a great price.

While those are great steals for used equipment. These are items you want to AVOID purchasing used:

–          Dental x-ray heads

–          Dental sensors

–          Ultrasonic cleaners

–          Dental Vacuum pump

–          Dental handpieces

Dental X-ray heads: X-ray emitters will degrade over use. This will cause used x-ray heads to need longer exposure times to produce usable images. Some x-rays can be had for a great price, but if it effects your ability to diagnose, is it worth it? We have handheld x-ray units available via Genoray starting at $3,500 and AC wall mounted x-ray units starting at $2,500. Alternatively, we have DC wall mounted x-ray units available at $3627!

Dental Sensors: Although dental sensors do not degrade like x-rays, the sensors themselves are fragile as the cable can be twisted, have doors closed on them, dropped and other accidental issues that can cause the sensor to break. Behind the compressor, vacuum, and x-ray head, the dental sensor is one of your dental office’s major pieces of diagnostic equipment, do you really want to risk your business on saving $1,000? In addition most sensor come with imaging software. When purchasing used, you may still need to pay a transfer fee, new software, or support plans.  If you are looking at new dental sensors, we have dental sensors starting at $3,299 with the software included! No additional costs for more computers.

Ultrasonic Cleaner:  These can be hit or miss and are difficult to evaluate.  One day it may work, another day it may blow a fuse. Save yourself the headaches and purchase new directly from us! Our ultrasonic cleaners start at $165!

Dental Vacuum Pump: Vacuums pumps are difficult to evaluate. Either it works or it does not.  Just like a compressor, you don’t want your vacuum to stop working. Save time, money, and headaches and purchase your vacuum pumps new. DentalAsset.com has 1.5hp vacuum pumps starting at $1,499. If you are interested in 1.0HP pumps, we have them available as well.

Dental Handpieces: While many name-brand hand pieces cost $1,000+, there are many brands that are significantly more affordable and have similar performance.  We know of doctors who prefer the $50 hand pieces that break after 1-2 months and replace it with the same hand piece until it breaks. Other doctors prefer to the name brand hand pieces and pay to have them repaired. We have had great successes with Nakamura Dental’s hand pieces which have high speeds handpiece that start at $159.99!  The major items to check are the turbines; Germany and Japan produce the best bearings available.

 

There are always deals to be had with used equipment, but buying used this is a general outline of items we recommend buying new. Used equipment can be just as good if its been kept in good condition/maintained/recently purchased