What's wrong with accepting a "FREE" scanner from a lab?

January 22, 2024

By now, you’ve probably heard of, or maybe even been courted by, a lab offering you a “FREE” scanner. Unfortunately, it’s also an enticing trap deployed by some labs to snag and lock down your business.

Remember the old adages, “Nothing in life is free,” and “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

We’d like to shed some light on this growing trend and hopefully spare you the wasted time, extra cost, and headaches that inevitably come if you accept these “FREE” scanners. There are two strong reasons why you shouldn’t go down that path. One, it will actually cost you more money than buying your own scanner. Two, you will be tied to that lab as long as you want to use their scanner.

The Pressure to Go Digital
Unless you've been completely disconnected from dentistry over the last five years, you’ve likely been strongly pressured from all sides to get an intraoral scanner or IOS. An aggressive seller will try to convince you that the world will come to an end if you don’t buy one now. They’ll tell you that everyone else is already on the train and you are going to be the last one to get on board!

In reality, the majority of dentists don’t have scanners. Many dentists have decided not to buy an IOS mainly due to the high price tag. Until recently, scanners cost between $30k-$60k. No wonder so many have held out for so long.

That’s also why a “FREE” scanner can sound so tempting.

But times have changed, so whether you have accepted one of these free scanners or you have been considering accepting one, consider the following reasons first.

Falling Scanner Prices are a Game Changer
As we approach 2024, scanner prices are hitting all-time lows. You can now get a good scanner for $10k-$20k. That’s the first reason why it makes no sense to accept a free scanner from a lab.

The Hidden Costs of "FREE” Scanners
Next, the labs that offer “FREE” scanners require you to send them a minimum dollar amount of business, typically over $1k per month. Even worse, if you don’t send them that amount, they will charge you anyway.

Here’s the truth. The lab is baking in the cost of their “FREE” scanner into their products, so you are actually financing it anyway. For example, these labs are charging well over $120 per unit for a basic zirconia crown. This same comparable zirconia crown in the industry will cost you anywhere between $60-$90.

Let’s do the math. If you do 10 crowns in a month, you will spend $300-$600 more for your zirconia by using the supposedly “FREE” scanner. If you do 20 units per month, you are overpaying $600-$1200 per month. Instead, you could easily finance a scanner today over a 4-year period for a monthly payment of $250-$500—and have it paid off well before it is obsolete.

Take Control in 2024

Don’t be tricked and blinded by the word “FREE” any longer. In 2024, buy your own scanner and keep your free agency. Enjoy the freedom to send your cases to whatever lab you please.

Make labs earn your business with good communication, consistent quality, and excellent customer service. And if your lab doesn't live up to your standards, move onto a new one. Just like you should be able to do—freely.

Hear Directly from our Customers.

Give us a try. Click here for a free crown.
Hopetown Dental Lab
5725 Jacksboro Hwy
Fort Worth, TX 76114
New Customers: (817) 290-4940
Existing Customers: (817) 887-9394