CEREC Dentists Split over Dental Marketing

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Cerec is not effective dental marketingIs CEREC an effective dental marketing tool? This survey found that 58% of dentists don’t think the "Cerec" name means anything to patients.

Sixty percent of the dentists in this survey have Cerec. Of the dentists offering Cerec restorations, 61% think it’s an effective marketing tool. Among
Cerec dentists, only 15% report they are disappointed with it.

Here’s what dentists have to say about Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, more commonly known as CEREC:

Lab restorations are superior

  • "Cerec is expensive, with a final product that is probably not as aesthetic as that made in a good lab." (General dentist)
  • “It means: – higher costs – faster delivery of final restoration – a final restoration lacking the marginal integrity, occlusal design, and appearance (hue, value, chroma, translucency) of a laboratory-fabricated crown.” (California dentist)
  • “The idea is great, but the restorations are not close to the quality of lab-fabricated restorations. To make them look that good, you have to stain and glaze, and then the time savings for the office is gone. Strength was also an issue.” (Tennessee dentist)

Cerec restorations frequently need to be replaced

  • “I had to return my CEREC. I could not slow down enough to get the learning curve. Some people can do some nice things with it, I admit gladly. The transition time is very challenging. I have had to replace more than half of what CERECs I did place.” (Tennessee dentist)
  • "Very few restorations are close to lab quality. I've replaced many fractured Cerec restorations that come into my practice. Patients want quality and durability, not a gimmick." (General dentist)

Same-day service

  • “Patients do like the same-day service.” (Indiana dentist)
  • “It only means something to the average patient if you call it ‘same day crown.'” (Minnesota dentist)
  • “Patients are mostly amazed at the technology. They can't believe the time savings for them, as well as eliminating impressions."
  • “Patients who have had crowns done the ‘old fashioned way’ really appreciate the convenience.” (Massachusetts dentist)
  • “Those patients who have had crowns and inlays done both ways don't want to have any future dental work done the ‘old’ way. They appreciate one visit and no temporary.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “From an advertising point, knowing you can deliver the same day, yes it is a plus. But do I need to offer same-day service? On rare occasions. Other options are available.” (California prosthodontist)

Cerec is amazing dental technology

  • “Cerec is the greatest invention in the history of dentistry. Those who don't like it are either not willing to take the time to learn it or haven't bought it and need an excuse as to why. I've had it 7 years and am amazed every time it comes out of the milling chamber, just as I designed it.” (Illinois dentist)
  • "Cerec changed dentistry for the better." (General dentist)
  • “It's an equal or superior restoration, less chair time and one less appt with or w/o anesthesia, easily retrofits crown to partial.” (California dentist)
  • “You have to give me a good reason why it should take weeks to make a crown with what CEREC can do today.” (Texas dentist)

The future ofdental care

  • “I don't have a Cerec CAD-CAM unit yet, but know quite a bit about it. It is clearly the wave of the future and it's accuracy is improving greatly with each update. I especially like the ability to mill and process IPS eMax (IPS eMax CAD).” (Ohio prosthodontist)
  • “The technology continues to improve. The next software release promises to be quite a jump forward as far as ease and anatomy. I am glad I got the Cerec, but there were times along the way I would have gladly given it back if I could have got a full refund. It definitely is where the future is going, so we need to master this technology.” (California dentist)

A wise investment

  • "It has been the best investment I have made in my practice." (General dentist)
  • “In the hands of a skilled operator with and understanding of adhesive dentistry, CEREC is the best restoration available. Additionally, with a well trained and competent support staff it is VERY profitable!” (Florida dentist)
  • “The best economic investment we ever made in our practice. It has allowed our practice to experience an 8% growth in 2009 while the majority of the practices in our state experienced a 30 to 40% decline.” (Michigan dentist)

Cerec makes your dental practice more attractive

  • “Patients are impressed that we have such advanced technology in the practice.” (Maryland dentist)
  • “Puts you in the special list of dentists that are on top of the newest, the best and ahead of the crowd.” (Pennsylvania prosthodontist)
  • “Saving time and immediate gratification are high motivators for patients in my experience, having utilized Cerec since 2003. Anterior (cosmetic) results are fantastic.” (Colorado dentist)

Few patients know what CEREC porcelain crowns are

  • “If they have heard about it, it is impressive; but few of mine have. I've not been pleased with the esthetics or margins of those I have seen on my patients.” (Texas dentist)
  • "They only realize the one-visit benefit when they experience it. However, I do not think it is an easy or effective concept for marketing to potential prospects – too nebulous." (General dentist)
  • “The ‘average patient’ in my experience has no idea what CEREC is. Case selection is important. I am still learning, but patients are impressed with the results.” (Virginia dentist)
  • “The word CEREC does not have enough ‘brand’ recognition to be effective to attract new patients.” (Louisiana dentist)

A waste of money

  • “Powder all the teeth and then the patient swallows and all the powder is gone and then you re-powder and they swallow and all the powder is gone…repeat ad infinitum until you get tired of it and throw your ($100,000) machine away.” (California dentist)
  • “I believe it is not cost effective, nor the best treatment for the patient.” (Florida dentist)
  • “Not the quality that we require.” (Nevada dentist)

Forget about high-tech gimmicks

  • "Trust, honesty, kindness, empathy, caring…this is still what means the most to patients and their referrals. Cerec? Just a high tech gimmick. When will dentistry learn?" (General dentist)

Even Cerec isn't fast enough for the impatient patient

  • “Patients love the idea of having a ‘Porcelain’ restoration done the same day, but I have found that patients surprisingly are not always so patient about waiting. They want the dental crown immediately and get frustrated waiting for the milling and then again for the glazing, and then the bonding does take a bit longer than typical cementation. If I need to temporize because of time constraints, am I really any better off in terms of time?” (Oregon dentist)

Some dentists love Cerec

  • "The smartest thing I have EVER done in my career is to purchase (and master) a CEREC machine. The restorations are more precise, beautiful, and predictable than any lab…and done in one appointment! It paid for itself very quickly by lab savings alone…ignoring the savings from no second (or third) appointment. It is just SO patient friendly…and patients do indeed love it. I get tons of referrals because I have one; it just continually blows my mind that more dentists have not clued into this. NO WAY would I practice without it. But hey, that's just me…" (General dentist)
  • “Started using Cerec in 1991. One of the first five dentists to use this system in the USA. I can't believe you are still asking these questions! It is a win-win for all involved with patient care. Patients especially appreciate the immediacy of the treatment with one trip and one anesthesia.” (North Carolina dentist)
  • “We started with Cerec 1 and now have 3D Have done incredibly well and it has brought in patients thru referrals. Pts love it. It is most effective for inlays and onlays done instead of fillings.” (Illinois dentist)

The learning curve takes a while

  • "We've had Cerec for 1 1/2 years are are now pretty satisfied. But the learning curve was LONG and I'm still learning. Patients are impressed with the technology so from an internal marketing perspective, yes, it is a new patient marketing tool. Does it REALLY save you money in the long run? I'm not sure. But does it product better crowns and inlays? YES. The inlays are far better than you can get with direct composited and in the long run a better service for the patients who can afford it.” (New Mexico dentist)
  • "Initially I was disappointed with CEREC due to a steep learning curve, technical shortcomings and disruption to our normal scheduling routine. But now I must admit that with experience and the latest camera and software upgrades I love it, and I'm getting restorations that are often better than my lab. Patients really appreciate single visit dentistry and they are fascinated by the technology. It has reduced my lab bills significantly which more than offsets the cost of the machine." (General dentist)

Cerec restorations get a 'C'

  • “I do not utilize Cerec. I have examined some patients who have Cerec restorations in place, and I have yet to see one which would receive a grade above a ‘C’ or ‘C-‘ in dental school. In one case, the patient told me the Cerec on a second molar fractured by the time she got to her car after the
    appointment. In another case, a Cerec 3/4 ‘crown’ dislodged because of lack of retention. I personally would not have this restoration in my own mouth. On the other hand, I know a well-respected prosthodontist who stated he has seen some which are quite good. His comment focused on the operator, whereupon he said, ‘Garbage in, garbage out’. I do not think Cerec has the name recognition of Invisalign or Lumineers or Zoom tooth whitening, and therefore I think the name means nothing to the public at large." (General dentist)

Beware of corporate overlords

  • “This is a fascinating and amazing technology. More dentists are amazed than patients. Giving over so much influence to Corporate control over you is dangerous, just like giving control to the insurance companies. Initially, just like with insurance, they seem to help in time they get control because they are so large and powerful but we give the control over voluntarily and bit by bit..you know the line is crossed when they cease serving and put you in servitude to them….” (New York dentist)

Clinical and branding limitations

  • “I was one of Patterson's CEREC (basic as well as advanced) trainers for over 3 1/2 years. CEREC (as well as other all ceramic restorations) have clinical limitations that I feel are not being fully disclosed to the buyer. Especially the learning curve to provide ‘excellent’ restorations to their patients as advertised. In addition, the failure rate of inappropriate planned/placed/produced (these are the ‘other 3 P's’, as prep, powder, picture were taught for you CEREC trained users although they were probably not shared with you during your training) restorations are much higher than reported due to these factors, that is ‘operator error’. Because of the extreme costs of the ‘systems’ most doctors are too ashamed to share those distinct limitations with others as they then appear to be duped into being a ‘sucker’, subsequently the machine finds a corner in the office to occupy. I still contend that a CEREC done well, is a fine restoration, but doing it well should be equated, in difficulty, to placing a well done gold foil! If you are comfortable with that procedure then, CEREC is ‘up your alley’, if not, your current crown/onlay system will be much less frustrating and costly. As far as ‘meaning’ anything special to patients, even after 20 years of marketing by Sirona and after a decade of me providing these restorations for my patients, few people know (or can remember) what a ‘CEREC’ is. Quite frankly, because it is a stupid acronym! The branding, in my opinion, does almost nothing to enlist the patient (or, for that matter, the purchasing Dentist) any connection with what the technology is capable of, namely providing a single appointment crown. Almost all people understand what a single visit crown is! If a company wishes to capture the market for this, then provide a moniker to do so.” (Nevada dentist)


Note: Survey sample included 119 respondents. Posted 4/27/2010

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