The real return on investment with CBCT scanners

10 February 2022

David Cunningham, clinical director at Spring Grove Clinic in Glasgow, talks through the ways a CBCT scanner can increase return on investment (ROI) and gives top tips on what to consider.

David Cunningham, clinical director at Spring Grove Clinic in Glasgow, talks through the ways a CBCT scanner can increase return on investment (ROI) and gives top tips on what to consider.

I started thinking about investing in a CBCT scanner after years of outsourcing. We had some issues and frustrations with the speed and efficiency of that process, and it also often surprised patients that as an implant practice, we didn’t have all the facilities in house.

It was time to consider purchasing our own CBCT scanner, which for us involved the following equation to work out what ROI we would need to realise: how much was the machine; over what period could we spread the payments; what would be the annual cost of running it; and what would be the cost of setting up the facility?

Immediate and ongoing ROI
Cost is the biggest barrier for practices looking into buying a CBCT scanner, but we saw immediate, significant cost benefits. Since installing the CBCT scanner in 2019 we’ve achieved about 95 per cent treatment uptake, a notable increase on where we were before.

From the first 39 scans, we generated around £150,000 worth of implant dentistry and probably more if you consider extra elements built into the treatment plan. That more than covered the cost.

At first, we worried that our shiny new scanner might not be used to its full capacity, but very quickly we found ourselves directing a constant flow of patients to it and the benefits of having it on site became clear straightaway. It makes the management of costs easier as the entire patient journey is in house and under our control.

There are the ongoing ROI benefits too. We’ve calculated that for every 300 scans for single or two implant cases, we generate about £1m worth of implant dentistry. It also gives our clinicians the confidence of knowing they are accessing accurate images, which will make their treatment outcomes more predictable.

Then there’s the reduction of stress in certain procedures that comes from knowing you have a full and accurate 3D picture of the clinical case, and you can’t put a price on that.

Flexing into different fields
Although we originally bought our CBCT scanner for implant dentistry, we’re finding it more and more useful in other fields.

It gives us the ability to scan effectively in cases like impacted wisdom teeth where you’ll often find things that look completely different in 3D, which is useful for all kinds of dentistry, including implants.

Endodontic techniques are rapidly advancing and CBCT scans are increasingly being used for endodontic procedures. Also, from an overall screening perspective, I’ve seen several sinus lesions that I’ve referred to ENT departments and it’s beneficial if you can send a scan along with them.

My tips for buying a CBCT scanner
My advice is to make a clinical decision that’s backed up by the numbers. It’s important to do your research and to make sure you are confident that the equipment won’t cost more than you’ll get in return.

Any dentist buying their kit is terrified of getting something unreliable and/or difficult to use. We wanted a high-quality machine which came with good initial advice and solid ongoing support from a reputable company. We chose Dentsply Sirona and one of their CBCT scanners and we’ve had no issues at all.

In terms of support, your initial interaction with a manufacturer and the answers they provide will give you a good indication of what your experience will be. It’s important that your supplier also understands the setting that the scanner is going into and that they’ll be there post purchase to support you.

Price is an important consideration, but I would urge you not to make it your top priority; it’s the ROI that matters most.

Listen to David Cunningham in conversation with Dentsply Sirona in a Let’s Talk Live: Decoding Digital Dentistry webinar recording here.

To find out more about Dentsply Sirona’s CBCT scanners, or to book 1:1 online consultation visit 2D/3D Imaging Units | Dentsply Sirona UK