Top 5 questions to ask before choosing a CAD system

October 28, 2014

Choosing a CAD system can be a daunting task. Here are the most important things to consider before you take the plunge.

Choosing a CAD system can be a daunting task. Here are the most important things to consider before you take the plunge.

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Open or closed?

Before making a decision on a CAD system, you need to know how it will work with your other equipment and with the equipment owned by your dentist clients. While both options have their advantages (open systems can handle files from a variety of sources and can work with numerous CAM systems and mills, while closed systems often provide a reliable, start-to-finish workflow with no question of compatibility), this can affect what files you can accept from dentists and what you can produce.

What do you need to do?

This might seem like an obvious question, but your needs will determine what kind of system you should buy. If you’re mostly doing crown and bridge work, you might not care if a system has a detailed implant add-on. But if your business specializes in more intensive solutions, be sure your scanner and design software will support what you want to make.

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What’s your volume tipping point?

Make sure purchasing a scanner will actually pay for itself. If you’re not sure you’ll have the volume needed to justify the expense (and, if applicable, ongoing licensing fees), consider working with an outsourcing center to handle your CAD cases until you’re sure you’re ready to hit that next level.

What kind of support is offered?

Beyond the initial purchase, what kind of training and support are available to you as a customer? Being sure you’ll be able to take advantage of the system is a key to getting your money’s worth.

What pricing structure works for your lab?

There are multiple pricing models when considering a CAD system. You can pay an upfront fee for the software and a scanner that you’ll later need to pay to upgrade. Or, you can pay a monthly fee that includes all future updates. Decide ahead of time what will be best for your lab’s bottom line.

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This article originally appeared in the October 2014 issue of Dental Lab Products. For more great articles about products in action, click here to subscribe to DLP's newsletter.