Dentists Disappointed By High-Tech Equipment Purchases

Post your comments about dental equipment to our blog. Read the dental equipment survey press release.

Many dentists disappointed by equipment

In this poll, we asked dentists: Have you ever been disappointed by expensive equipment your dental practice has purchased?

Sellers beware! Dentists haven’t been pleased with some of their pricey purchases. Eighty-three percent of dentists
in our poll responded, “Yes; many tools do not live up to their advertised promises.” The remaining 17% replied, “No; every piece of equipment has a learning curve, and the equipment we’ve bought has met my expectations.”

Read the dentists’ comments

General dentists versus specialists

In this survey, general dentists and specialists were in agreement: many pieces of expensive equipment aren't worth their high price tags.

Specialists were slightly more likely than general dentists to have been disappointed by equipment purchases. This may suggest that high-tech
equipment is more important to specialist practices (orthodontic, prosthodontic, etc.) than general dental offices.

Urban, suburban and rural dentistsOf the rural dentists who responded to this survey, every single one had been disappointed by an equipment purchase.

Rural dentists are sometimes seen as more old-fashioned than their urban and suburban colleagues. These results tend to support that, with rural
dentists particularly unimpressed by high-tech dentistry tools.

For more insight into what our respondents are thinking, check out their comments!

High-tech equipment has helped some dentists

  • “Digital x-rays and electric handpieces have made a huge impact in my practice.” (Colorado dentist)

It’s all about proper training

  • “I believe the learning aspect is very important and should be addressed before purchase. It sometimes keeps us from utilizing the full potential of equipment.” (Florida dentist)
  • Often the training leaves much to be desired. Excellent training is rare, but I have found it occasionally.” (California dentist)
  • “Usually it’s not the equipment, but the company who sold it failing to provide training or support.” (Florida dentist)

Customer service leaves much to be desired

  • “Some of my equipment does not function properly, and the dental supplier drags its feet on
    resolving the issues
    .” (Michigan dentist)
  • In the past dealers would let you try before you buy, but no more. It would
    be nice if the practice could return items.” (New York dentist)

Patients don’t really care about fancy equipment

  • “Patients think dentists are all competent and up to date. They care about their experience: pain, empathy, relationship, confidence.” (Missouri dentist)
  • There’s too much hype! Then reality sets in and you feel taken. Plus, you can’t charge any more for the WOW! factor for patients. They aren’t buying it.” (Nebraska dentist)

Marketing can mislead dentists

  • “Are you kidding? Damn near every piece of equipment has been over-hyped. The drawbacks are omitted before the sale. If suppliers were real estate brokers, physicians, or even dentists they would have all lost their licenses years ago. It’s more like buying a used car than a piece of professional equipment.” (Georgia dentist)

What happens when you’re disappointed with a purchase?

  • “My Gendex film processor would constantly eat films, keeping about 5 out of an 18 set series. We had hard time getting equipment seller and regional rep to really do anything to solve it. They wouldn’t let us return the item. Fortunately I had charged it on my credit card, and they were able to help me. In addition, it took over 30 days to get my Lightyear digital X-ray system working. They would not let us return it because of their 30-day return policy. The sensors went out, and USB box went out twice, so I gave up and quit using it; it wasn’t reliable. I also quit using Midwest Shorty handpieces because they didn’t last. One didn’t even work right out of the box!” (Washington dentist)
  • “We bought a Diagnodent, and it did not correlate with what we found when we opened the tooth up. It was not a useful $2500 instrument. Fortunately, we were able to return it for a full refund.” (California dentist)

No love for Zoom?

  • “I bought the Zoom lamp; although it does work, it was not worth the money.” (Pennsylvania dentist)
  • Our Zoom light was more work than it was worth, and the patient needed to use trays anyway.” (Pennsylvania dental hygienist)

No love for Cerec?

  • Cerec takes a long time to make onlays that compare in quality and esthetics to lab-fabricated porcelain onlays.” (Texas dentist)
  • “I have been disappointed in Waterlase MD and in Cerec 3D due to poor support and lack of training.” (Georgia dentist)

No love for Schein?

  • My new Kavo operatories are a sham. In 12 months that I have had them, the 3 rooms of new chairs have never all been running well for any length of time. It is an auxiliary office and I only use it 1-2 times a week. Schein has done a really poor job. They apparently made a lot of errors in the installation that the Kavo factory technician tried to correct. Next week the technician is flying down again to rebuild the equipment once more with upgrades, and then Kavo will extend my warranty for one year.” (Virginia dentist)
  • “Belmont equipment (delivery, chair) sold by Sullivan Schein does not perform as required. My Kavo handpieces are not accommodated by the holsters and neither Sullivan Schein nor Belmont have been able to resolve the problem.” (North Carolina dentist)

Problems with imaging

  • “My intra-oral cameras have been problematic. Logicam 2 Pictures are not as clear as they seemed in the demos.” (Canadian dentist)
  • “My Planmeca fully digital Pan/Ceph produces Cephs that have a cut in the images that the techs could never fix. The problem is that if I want to submit a case for publication or to the Boards it should be nearly flawless. I also have a Yates and Bird welder that has very poor welding performance due to the inability to fine tune the power level of the unit, and this company has never replied to my requests for help.” (Oregon orthodontist)
  • “Canon EOS 10D is a good camera, but I’m not sure the images are as good as film. It’s very heavy and cumbersome, and cost $3200.” (California periodontist)

Problems and more problems

  • Schick Digital Sensor is terrible.” (Tennessee dentist)
  • “I am now waiting for the third rewiring on the touchpad controls on the same chair over the last five years.” (Illinois dentist)
  • Intraflow anesthetic delivery system was my most recent disappointment.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “I’ve been disappointed by lasers to remove hard tissue.” (Pennsylvania dentist)
  • The wand is horrible. KSB software is a nightmare!!!!” (Arizona pediatric dentist)
  • Adec has been a major disappointment. We have been stuck with an unbelievable amount of repairs.” (California periodontist)
  • “I have been very disappointed in the performance of an electric handpiece manufactured by Kavo. I purchased the HP believing it would
    speed up my crown preparations with improved torque performance. In reality, I can still cut faster with my old MW Quiet Air HPs.” (Florida dentist)
  • “My dental unit with self-contained water supply has many varying days of mediocre performance.” (Ohio dentist)

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