Terrific, but expensive

July 1, 1999
Just finished reading the Cory Ganz article on digital radiography in the April issue. I agree that, with the newest upgrades, the radiograph quality is terrific. The speed and efficiency is phenomenal, but so is the cost/investment.

James P. Fabozzi, DDS

Chino Hills, Calif.

Just finished reading the Cory Ganz article on digital radiography in the April issue. I agree that, with the newest upgrades, the radiograph quality is terrific. The speed and efficiency is phenomenal, but so is the cost/investment.

To upgrade an existing computer system and monitors to handle digital X-ray in four rooms, my vendor estimates that it will take $15,500. Dental digital radiographs would cost $40,000; maintenance and extended warranty, $4,000/year; and interest at 13 percent on a $55,000, four-year bank loan, $12,000.

First-year costs would total $25,000 ($21,000 for principal and interest on the loan and $4,000 for the maintenance/extended warranty). Those costs would total $21,000 the second year; $19,500 the third year; $18,750 the fourth year; and $4,000 the fifth year. The five-year total is $88,250. The 10-year total figures to be $108,000.

Assuming that I am in an average dental practice with a traditional X-ray cost of $10,800/year, 10 years is the breakeven point with the new technology. So while this new technology is a true wonder, it is not an inexpensive one. Will I be repairing and using my digital machine? Of course I will ... just as soon as I can afford the repair.

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