How to Save Money on Dental Supplies

October 12, 2021

Quality dental supplies are essential to running a successful practice. At the very least, you'll need a dental chair, operating lights, dental instruments, PPE and disposables. These products can be costly, though.

Expect to pay anywhere between $2,000 and $12,000 or higher for a dental chair. Operating lights, X-ray machines, and dental vacuum pumps can run into thousands of dollars, too.

One option is to buy refurbished dental equipment. These products have been repaired and restored, and they may look like new. Unfortunately, they're not as widely available as their brand new counterparts.

From comparing suppliers to keeping an accurate inventory, there are ways to cut costs. You just need to be smart about it. Here are some tips to help you out!

Assess Your Needs and Wants

First things first, determine what you need to keep your dental practice running smoothly. Make a list of must-have dental products, such as:

  • Dental patient chairs
  • Operating lights
  • Electric handpieces
  • Pliers
  • Ultrasonic cleaners
  • Air polishers
  • Motorized suction units
  • Lasers
  • Composites and other dental consumables
  • Dental cabinets

Research the different types of products, even if you're already familiar with them. Electric handpieces, for example, offer better value than air-driven devices. Plus, they produce less noise and allow for more accurate results.

A new dental practice doesn't really need X-ray equipment, imaging software, and other more advanced products. However, you may still want to put them on your list. At some point, you might find a good deal that would allow you to get them for less.

Evaluate Your Options

Determine whether you want to purchase new, refurbished, or used dental equipment. You also have the option to buy open-box products, or demo models, as well as overstocked products.

Generally, refurbished dental products can be up to 80% below retail. Depending on your needs, you can buy refurbished dental chairs, stools, cabinets, X-ray machines, or even handpieces.

Demo models are a good choice, too. These dental products have been lightly used at trade shows or in stores. They may have minor scratches or dents, but they work well.

Another option is to purchase overstocked equipment. You can find overstocked dental supplies in outlet stores or online. They're brand new and come in their original packaging, but they may have been discontinued.

Last, you may look for used dental equipment and supplies online or in specialty stores. Just make sure you choose a trusted seller who can offer some sort of warranty.

Look for Freebies

Most manufacturers are willing to offer freebies in an attempt to lure new customers. They may also allow you to test their products for free before you order them.

Take advantage of these offers to reduce your overhead costs. For example, you may be able to get bonding agents, composites, waxes, and other dental supplies for free or at a fraction of the cost.

Reach out to manufacturers and ask for freebies. Chances are, they'll be more than happy to let you try out a couple of products.

Go Shopping for Dental Equipment Online

Internet retailers often have lower operational expenses than physical stores. This allows them to pass the savings onto their customers.

The same product can cost significantly more in brick-and-mortar stores than online. You just need to find a reputable supplier and compare prices before placing your order.

To maximize your savings, sign up for the seller's newsletter so you can stay up-to-date with its latest offers. Many retailers also offer discounts that are available exclusively online.

Here's another tip: buy dental supplies in bulk. It's much cheaper to purchase 1,000 plastic cups or 500 patient bibs at once than order 50 or 100 pieces weekly.

Manage Your Inventory

Inventory management can help you avoid costly mistakes, such as double ordering supplies or running out of consumables. Ideally, invest in a quality dental inventory tracking system to stay organized and cut costs.

Depending on your budget, you could opt for:

  • Sowingo
  • ZenSupplies
  • Grasshopper Mouse
  • Dentsoftware
  • ArbiMed Dental
  • Sortly

Most software programs include a free trial, which allows you to try them out before committing to a membership plan.

Sortly, for instance, offers a free membership plan and 14-day free trials for its premium plans. Users can set up stock alerts, access their data on any device, and generate activity-based reports. The free membership plan has limited features, but you can upgrade later on.

Check Your Invoices Regularly

Some dental equipment suppliers offer great deals to new customers. The problem is that they may increase their prices without notice in a few months. That's why it's important to have a solid contract in place and check your invoices regularly.

Another thing you can do is to ask your distributors for new price quotes each year.

As a regular customer, you're in the position to negotiate prices. Keep track of what you use and then discuss your options with the current vendors.

Don't Compromise on Quality

While it can be tempting to buy cheaper products, you might end up spending more in the long run.

For example, a cheap set of dental tools may not last longer than a year or two. Would you feel comfortable buying a new one that soon? Probably not.

High-quality dental supplies are worth every penny. If you're on a budget, look for promotions or choose a discount vendor. Compare prices from different suppliers and ask for discounts on larger purchases. 

Get Quality Dental Supplies for Less

As you can see, there's a lot that goes into buying dental equipment and supplies for your practice. You need to consider your needs, keep track of your inventory, and negotiate prices. Finding reliable vendors can be challenging, too.

Supply Clinic has some of the best offers on the market. Our team has partnered up with top vendors from across the country to help you get quality dental supplies for less. We have more than 50,000 products from over 100 authorized distributors. 

Browse our latest deals or contact us to discuss your needs and see how we can help!

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