Patterson’s new partnerships make adding technology easier than ever.
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There’s no question that technology is everywhere. It is a major part of our personal and work lives - and it is certainly an important component of the dental practice. While technology is so pervasive, adding new technology to the practice can be daunting. Practices considering adding new equipment - or expanding what they already have - can get help to make a wise, informed decision.
Patterson Dental has enjoyed a two-decades-long relationship with Sirona and their CEREC chairside system. And now, while still maintaining that association, they’ve broadened their offerings to include partnerships with other manufacturers and helping practices get into the CAD/CAM workflow.
What factors come into play when selecting new technology?
The most intimidating part of choosing new equipment is cutting through all the tech specs and figuring out what the practice needs. Patterson can help decipher all the options.
“The best way to get started is by setting up an appointment with one of our knowledgeable CAD/CAM specialists,” says Nicholas Abruzzo, director of marketing, Patterson Dental. “From there, they will come out to learn the ins and outs of the dental practice and how the team operates. They will inquire about the future, and ask questions about utilizing dental technology to grow your practice. They will determine what procedures, applications and indications you envision from potential technology investments.
“Practices have the opportunity to invest in technology, but keep it as simple as digital impressioning to be sent off to the lab,” he continues, “or they can take advantage of the fully integrated, comprehensive solution through digital impressioning, designing, in-house milling, in-house printing of surgical guides and night guards, implant integration and much more. Our CAD/CAM specialists will help you determine which solution is best for your practice, giving you confidence in your technology investments.”
Will my equipment become obsolete?
Technology evolves rapidly, which can be another source of anxiety for doctors. Will the thousands of dollars spent on a CAD/CAM solution today be obsolete in a few years?
“When it comes to CAD/CAM technology, you’re investing in a completely new way of practicing dentistry. As for updates, almost all of the CAD/CAM manufacturers out there have done a nice job of transitioning customers onto a newer system,” Abruzzo says. “They typically introduce upgrade programs in which they give you value back for the product that you bought in the past. In other dental equipment categories, these options aren’t available. Essentially, our manufacturers have built a form of future-proofing into their offerings so you can rest assured that your investment will not become outdated.
“We always try to reinforce the message that you invest in technology to make you productive today,” he continues. “Will there be new bells and whistles that will potentially come out down the line? Yes, but if you’re making the decision based on the productivity and efficiencies they can give you today, you’ll always be in a good spot.”
In most cases, those improvements and enhancements will be added to systems without any hassle.
“The majority of upgrades that have been introduced over the years have been software-driven,” Abruzzo says. “All of these manufacturers have programs to ensure you’re always current with latest software. And, as new software-related features come out, everyone has access to them. We find that, typically, once a year with most of the CAD/CAM manufacturers, there’s a significant software upgrade that opens up new features to use for the technology.”
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Patterson Dental has recently extended their exclusive partnership agreement with Sirona to include new vendors with additional options.
“We’ve expanded our portfolio quite a bit on the technology side,” Abruzzo says. “We’ve brought on DEXIS and i-CAT, part of the KaVo Kerr Group, on the conebeam, panoramic imaging side and the intraoral sensor side. We’ve also started working with iTero, which is part of Align, the company that produces Invisalign. We’ve partnered with 3Shape, and we’ve also started working with 3M on the technology side of things for their digital scanning solutions.”
Patterson’s new partnerships seek to expand on its existing relationship with Sirona.
“We are still working with Sirona,” Abruzzo says. “Obviously, it’s still going to be a big part of what we do and a big part of our focus. We’re really excited that we’re now offering a diverse portfolio of offerings at multiple price points with different features and expandabilities.”
Growing your CAD/CAM options
Technology for the dental practice is not a one-size-fits-all affair. Practices have varying needs, singular levels of interest and a huge range in budgets. With Patterson’s expanded partnerships, those options can be fully explored.
“It all depends on how comprehensive you want to be with the technology and what your vision is for your practice,” Abruzzo says. “You can get in with an entry-level CAD/CAM system for around $17,000 or you can go all-in with a fully integrated, comprehensive system for $140,000. There’s also a wide spectrum in between there. We’ve broken the components down into: your scanner, your software, your potential to practice 3D printing or perhaps utilize a furnace to finish the materials.
“There are a lot of options,” he continues. “The nice thing is that you can start small or you can start all at once. That’s really what our people have been trained to do - to help you figure out where you are in the process, where you want to be and what the right way is to start for your practice.”
Patterson’s new partnerships make adding technology to the dental practice easier than ever.
“We’re very confident in our new partners and the opportunities they present,” Abruzzo says. “We are excited to have a portfolio covering segments of the market where customers can begin their digital journey. We feel very strongly that the infrastructure we put together over the last 20 years, supporting CAD/CAM, is going to serve our customers exceptionally well with our new portfolio, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.”