2017 CEREC Buyers Guide

Truly successful decision-making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.

-Malcolm Gladwell


Happy New Year from CAD/CAM HERO! The start of a new journey around the sun is a great time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the one ahead. If one of your goals this year is to add CEREC dentistry to your practice, then you’ve come to the right place. This blog post aims to provide up-to-date market information to help readers with making a CEREC purchase in 2017.

Scanners

Let’s start with scanning systems. Sirona currently sells two versions of their CEREC Acquisition Centers: Bluecam and Omnicam. You can view a comparison of the Bluecam and Omnicam below:

bluecam-vs-omnicam

What’s the functional difference between a new Bluecam AC and a used Bluecam AC?

At best, the computer hardware offers superior performance, but it’s definitely not a given. Sirona stopped making new hardware configurations for the Bluecam ACs in 2012. So any new Bluecams sold today are really no better than those sold five years ago. Considering there are many used Bluecam options available for under $10,000, purchasing a new Bluecam is akin to donating an assistant’s annual salary to a $13.3 billion dollar company. Needless to say, that would be an inexplicable waste of money.

What’s the functional difference between a new Omnicam AC and a used Omnicam AC?

Not much. As is the case with Bluecams, the only difference in technology between the Omnicams over the years are minor computer hardware updates (processor and/or graphics cards). These updates produce minimal performance enhancements that most likely go unnoticed by the casual user. However, unlike with Bluecams, there is a major shortage of used Omnicams available in the secondary marketplace. This is because 99% of used Omnicam ACs are being sold in combination with a milling unit and oven. Any solo Omnicam AC that hits the market is usually snatched up within a matter of days. Unless a new scanner is released by Dentsply Sirona in 2017, I do not anticipate this market condition to change anytime soon. If you do happen to find an Omnicam for sale outside of a package deal, expect to pay an asking price in the $40s.

How old is too old when it comes to CEREC ACs?

This question mainly applies to Bluecams, because no Omnicams are “too old”. I want to start off by saying that ALL CEREC ACs (even older Bluecams) can run the latest CEREC software without issue. This is because the Bluecam camera is less taxing on the computer system than the Omnicam camera, thus it can make do with older components. However, if you feel the need for speed you can soup up any Bluecam with a few easily installed upgrades at a cost of around $500. I recommend you add an MSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti graphics card, a solid state drive, and additional RAM.

Which CEREC software versions or licenses should I look for?

The last chargeable update that required a new license to use is version 4.4– released in September 2015. The latest service pack update is 4.4.4, which was released in October 2016. The service packs can be downloaded from Sirona for free. If you are considering an AC that needs to be updated to 4.4, the only pre-requisite license required is 4.0. In other words, as long as you have the 4.0 base license you can skip 4.2 and 4.3 on your way to 4.4. It’s not necessary to have all four licenses to upgrade.

Other licenses you should be aware of include:

Connect 4.0: allows you to use Sirona’s Connect 4.x software versions so you can send cases to approved labs for fabrication. You can download this software for free here.

inLab Stack 4.0: follow the jump for a full description here.

Ortho SW 1.0: allows you to create digital models in CEREC Ortho software for Invisalign treatment. This software only works with Omnicams.

Open GALILEOS Implant: allows you to use Sirona’s implant planning software in conjunction with a Sirona 3D x-ray to make CEREC or SICAT surgical guides.

CEREC 4.3 SW: released July 2014. Prerequisite for CEREC Guide 2. Full software description available here.

CEREC 4.2 SW: released June 2013. Expands design options to include: customized implant abutments, smile design (use a patient photo to virtually place a restoration to see how the patient looks), and a virtual articulator to simulate the patient’s jaw movements so the user can find the static and dynamic contact points.

CEREC 4.0 SW: released August 2011. Prerequisite for CEREC Guide 1. Modern era software that introduced an intuitive user interface, self-explanatory icons, and photorealistic images.

CEREC 3.8 SW: released August 2010. This is older gen software mainly geared towards CEREC 3 users. If you are considering a CEREC AC with 3.8 SW, factor in the cost to upgrade immediately using 4.x software/licenses sold on eBay.

What other factors should I consider when purchasing a used AC?

  • The prismatic lens sleeve is a consumable part that can be expensive to replace. Check for a clear lens that does not interfere with acquisition quality.
  • Be sure to ask if the seller has the camera calibration kit to include with the sale.
  • Hardware upgrades are nice, but if the upgrade was not performed by a Patterson technician then any remaining factory warranty is void.

Milling Units

Sirona currently offers a range of milling options in an effort to cater to different needs and price points:

CEREC MC- offers indications similar to the old classic milling units. This mill is designed for practices who focus on single-tooth inlays, onlays, crowns, and veneers. It is capable of working with blocks up to 20 mm in size.

CEREC MC X- this mill occupies the role held by the MC XL milling unit up until 2013. It offers a full range of chairside indications and builds upon the MC’s capabilities by also fabricating bridges, abutments, surgical guides and blocks up to 40 mm.

CEREC MC XL Practice Lab- formerly known as the MC XL Premium Package. This mill is easily identifiable by its 4-motor milling chamber and is made for the dental practice with an onsite lab. In addition to the indications of the MC X, it can fabricate bridge frameworks, customized implant abutments, surgical guides, telescopes, bars, attachments and blocks up to 85 mm.

What’s the functional difference between a used milling unit and a new milling unit?

Sirona has made both branding and functional changes to their milling unit portfolio over the past few years.. This has created a lot of confusion among prospective CEREC owners as they attempt to compare used mills with the latest offerings. For example, the MC XL is now called the MC X, and the MC XL Premium is now known as the MC XL Practice Lab. Marketing strategies  aside, the bottom line is that used milling units have 90% of the functionality that new milling units have. The one specific capability that sets the new milling units apart is the ability to dry mill. In March 2016, Sirona equipped their latest line of mills with new precision tools and a device to vacuum up mill shavings. The resulting achievement was a dry carbide milling option in addition to the traditional wet grinding functionality. This dry mill capability along with Sirona’s new SpeedFire sintering furnace are the backbone of Sirona’s Chairside Zirconia workflow.

Can you wet mill zirconia blocks with older milling units?

Yes. Beginning in 2013, Sirona milling units came standard with carbide bur compatible motors and offered to upgrade older mills for existing users as well. Any milling unit with a serial number higher than the following will have a carbide bur compatible motor:

129001 (MC XL)

302001 (MC XL Practice Lab)

231001 (MC X)

202001 (MC)

In addition to the motor you will need a manual block chuck, carbide and zirconia burs (Shaper 25rz, Shaper 25, Finisher 10), and a sintering oven to finish the restoration.

Administrative

How does Patterson handle the transfer of ownership among CEREC users?

Your Patterson rep might give you the silent treatment for a little while until they get over the loss of their commission, but most of our customers report seamless ownership transfers. There is a one page form called the Notice of Change in Practice Ownership (the title is kind of misleading) that is completed by both the buyer and the seller. The form is then submitted by the seller to their local Patterson branch for processing. There is no fee to transfer ownership of a CEREC.

Will I be able to get service and support from Patterson/Sirona if I buy used versus new?

Yes. Sirona has a contract with its distributors that stipulates they must service and support all systems originally sold within their distribution territories. If the CEREC was originally sold by Patterson in the USA, then they are required to support that system whether you were the original purchaser or not. This is not to say that all CERECs you’ll find in the secondary market are eligible for service and support. Some US users will import CERECs from Europe because they cost much less there than in the states. In that case, you would probably get virtual support from Sirona Germany directly, but likely very little help from Patterson. It is important to get the serial numbers of the units you are considering before making a purchase and running them by the CEREC specialists at the Patterson Technology Center. If you come across any unit that does not have a serial number, then you’d be on your own if that machine ever went down.

How long does Sirona warranty a CEREC system and is it transferable to a new owner?

Sirona provides a 7-year warranty from the original date of installation if the machines are enrolled in the service club. You can enroll in the service club at any time and enjoy the remainder of the warranty, even if the original owner was not a service club member.

How much does the service club cost to join?

Doctor to doctor transfers are free of charge. That means if you purchase a used CEREC that was not active on the service club, and decide to sign up, you can do so without paying a penalty. There is a “joiners fee” (up to $2,000) for original owners who forego the service club and decide to join at a later date (like when their machine goes down or they want a free software upgrade). The monthly service club fee is $299 + tax.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading. What questions do you have? Please e-mail them to thecadcamhero@gmail.com so we can build upon this post!


If you would like expert and effective help with purchasing or selling a used CEREC system, call the used CEREC experts at (844) 385-4376.

Implantology with CEREC Workflow

The future belongs to those who prepare for it.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


The topic of implantology has become a recurring theme in my conversations with GPs looking to add CEREC capability to their practice. There is definitely a noticeable shift in the marketplace to expand into what is being called the “largest growth opportunity” of the next 10 years. Technological and procedural advancements have led to higher implant success rates and decreased treatment time; these factors along with changing demographics and increased insurance coverage have created the perfect storm for a boom in implantology. Many GPs are pursuing advanced education and technology now to prepare themselves for the implant opportunities of tomorrow. So the question becomes, how can CEREC help position your practice for implant success? Simply put, it equips you with the tools necessary to keep the procedure (and additional revenue) within your own practice. Here is an overview of the CEREC Integrated Implantology Workflow (source: www.integrated-implantology.com):


Overview
Overview- click to expand.

Scan
Scan- click to expand.

Plan
Plan- click to expand.

Place
Place- click to expand.

drilling-guide-comparison
CEREC Guide 1 vs. CEREC Guide 2 vs. SICAT OptiGuide- click to expand.

What you need to develop a CEREC Guide.
Hardware & Software Requirements to Develop a CEREC Guide- click to expand.

CEREC Guide Operation Instructions
CEREC Guide Operation Instructions- click to open .pdf.

Restore
Restore- click to expand.

 

Here is a short video depicting the process as well:


I hope this information has provided you with at least a general understanding of the CEREC integrated implantology workflow. For additional information, I recommend you visit advanced education sites like www.cerecdoctors.com or www.cadstar.org.

For information on which CEREC systems offered by CAD/CAM HERO, LLC will help meet your implant needs, please give us a call at (844) 385-4376 or visit www.cadcamhero.store. Thanks for visiting!

Used CERECs and the Section 179 Tax Deduction

You must pay taxes. But there’s no law that says you gotta leave a tip.

-Morgan Stanley

What is the Section 179 Deduction?

It is part of a tax stimulus package geared towards small businesses that allow you to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment and/or software from your gross income as opposed to writing off a little at a time through depreciation. The maximum deduction limit in 2016 is $500,000.

What equipment qualifies for this deduction?

Most new and used “business equipment” purchased and put into use between January 1st and December 31st of the tax year you are claiming qualifies. This includes:

  • Equipment purchased for business use
  • Tangible personal property used in business
  • Business vehicles over 6,000 lbs
  • Computers
  • Computer software
  • Office furniture
  • Office equipment
  • Large manufacturing tools & equipment

Can I still deduct the full amount if I lease or finance the equipment?

Yes. This is actually a popular financial strategy among businesses because it allows you to deduct the full amount of the purchase without paying in full, which improves cash flow and increases profit margins.

Does used equipment qualify for bonus depreciation?

No. Bonus depreciation (50%) is taken after the $2,000,000 spending cap has been reached.

Where can I get more detailed information about this deduction?

www.section179.org

Call (844) 385-4376 for help with a used CEREC purchase and take full advantage of the 2016 Section 179 tax deduction!

section_179_tax_deduction_qualified_badge

$40K Off a Brand New CEREC! Deal or Deception?

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

-Socrates

If you haven’t already heard, effective 2/29/2016, Sirona and Dentsply merged to create the largest manufacturer of dental consumables and technology in the world. This has brought about a lot of questions, especially regarding Sirona’s CAD/CAM exclusivity agreement with Patterson Dental that is set to expire in September 2017. Will the profitable agreement be extended? Or will Dentsply’s lucrative consumables relationship with other distributors such as Henry Schein influence the new decision makers into opting-out? Early indications are that Sirona will allow Schein to join Patterson in the CEREC game. Although one can’t say for sure just yet, we do know changes are coming.

The company now known as Dentsply Sirona has released details of their latest Ultimate CAD/CAM Buy Back program, in which they are offering up to $40,000 toward the purchase of a new CEREC system with the trade-in of your current CAD/CAM machine. This promotion lasts through October 28, 2016 (extended through 12/31/2016) and brings the price of a CEREC AC Omnicam, MC X and Sirona CEREC SpeedFire sintering furnace to $103,000 before taxes/delivery. This trade-in credit is reduced to $20,000 after December 31st and runs through April 28, 2017.

 

Trade-In Screenshot

 

We have seen these trade-in offers before as they have historically preceded the release of new technology. In May 2012, Sirona and Patterson promoted their “Wake Up to Trade Up Opportunity”, in which they offered a free Keurig Coffee Maker if you invited your Patterson rep to visit your office and demonstrate the CEREC AC Bluecam system. After the demonstration, they would offer you $54,000 towards a new CEREC AC Bluecam and MC XL in exchange for your CEREC 3 system. That promotion ended June 22, 2012. On August 16, 2012, Sirona released the CEREC AC Omnicam. Anyone that took the bait and purchased the Bluecam during the promotion period were in disbelief when they found out it would cost another $27,500 to upgrade to the Omnicam just two months later. For anyone unfortunate enough to purchase their Bluecam prior to January 1, 2012, the cost to upgrade was a staggering $40,000, even though most Bluecam owners still had not recouped their initial investment. This situation created a substantial contingent of unhappy CEREC users, who feel they were taken advantage of.

If we look back at the evolution of CEREC since its commercial introduction to the world in 1987, an average of 6.25 years have elapsed between CEREC generations. As mentioned before, the Omnicam debuted in August 2012, which means a major new CEREC development is probable before late 2018/early 2019. I’ll be the first to admit that I do not have any direct knowledge of the reasons why Sirona is offering such a large incentive to buy a new CEREC machine at this time, but I do know that the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. Rumor has it that this new CEREC promotion is a last ditch effort to offload Sirona’s remaining Omnicam inventory before they release the “next big thing” at Dentsply Sirona World next September in Las Vegas.

So, how does all this affect the used market? For starters, we are likely to see an increase in demand for CEREC 3 or other cheap CAD/CAM systems in the short term so they can be sacrificed in the trade-in program. There will also be price adjustments to used Omnicam systems that take into account the current offers from the manufacturer. In spite of this, I think this is good news for the used CEREC market because it proves once again that purchasing a three or four year old CEREC is a much a surer investment versus buying new. There are no pricing games. You will not pay $20,000 more because you were a day too late. Even those that manage to get a $40,000 credit will still pay at least 20% more (plus interest) than they would if they had bought used for virtually the same equipment. Now that Patterson’s service plan extends the warranty out 7 years, many used systems still have 3-4 more years of coverage left. I believe many buyers will see that $40,000 credit or not, you still can’t beat the house at its own game. If a dentist can come to peace with the fact that it’s economically impractical to “keep up with the Joneses” in dental technology, they will come to enjoy the serenity of patience and fiscal discipline. You don’t want to be like the Joneses, they are in debt up to their eyeballs.

That’s it for this market update brought to you by the CAD/CAM HERO. For expert help with buying or selling your CEREC system, call (844) 385-4376.

Ready to sell your CEREC?

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself.

– Groucho Marx

In business and in life, paying for the experience of others is often money well spent. If you are reading this blog because you want to sell your CEREC, you’re in luck. I am sharing my experience for free! In this blog, I provide a summary of options for selling your CEREC system.

Option 1: Sell it Yourself (a.k.a. the hard way)

There are no shortage of options when it comes to selling things on the Internet, but when it comes to selling CERECs, eBay has no equal. I have tried everything from Facebook, Adwords, DentalTown, DotMed, Craigslist and various other used dental equipment sites. None of them offer the worldwide platform, payment systems, listing capabilities or general all-in-one sales solution that eBay provides. Now, this is not to say that selling your CEREC on eBay is easy. In fact, it is very difficult, but that’s not the result of a deficiency with eBay, but rather with the seller. Let me explain.

If you are not a regular eBay user, you will be challenged with zero to little positive feedback and/or a low rating. You haven’t necessarily done anything wrong, but in the eyes of shoppers you are a high risk seller. That feedback rating is like your credit score; and nobody wants to give money to people with low credit scores. Even if you are a regular eBay user and may have great feedback ratings, chances are it is as a consumer, not a seller. Most buyers don’t care if you paid for that vintage action figure in a timely manner. They want to know what you have sold lately. How many items have you sold? What are the value of those items? Basically, buyers want to know if they can trust you with a big ticket purchase. In most cases, a CEREC machine will be far and away the most expensive thing you have for sale, if not the only thing. With the number of eBay scams involving CERECs going around these days, low feedback and a meager sales history is enough to put you at a serious disadvantage right out of the gate. Poor or scant seller feedback affect buyer confidence, which goes hand in hand with price. This is because peace of mind is a commodity in and of itself. As a result, most individual CEREC sales on eBay are undervalued.

Perform a search for the same type of CEREC you have to sell on eBay and filter the results to show “Sold Listings” only. You will find that most of the listings populated by the search were sold by dental equipment companies. If you are able to locate an item from an individual seller, I am confident you will find the sales price to be noticeably lower than its peers. With so many options available from established businesses with a solid track record of sales, many buyers don’t seem to be interested in taking their chances with an individual seller.

But for the sake of argument, let’s say that you create a visually appealing, thorough and compelling listing. You develop a solid rapport with a buyer through the messaging system and made them an attractive offer, which was accepted. Woohoo! You did it!

Well, hold on there just a minute partner- now you’ve found out that eBay charged you a $750 final value fee, PayPal took an uncapped 3.9% off the top, and 100% of the funds have been placed on hold for 21 days, pending your ability to provide proof of delivery. Now what? The CEREC system is too large and heavy for USPS, UPS or FedEx. So how do you pack it? Who do you ship it with? What’s the freight class? What on earth is an NMFC code? How much does this weigh? Do you need a liftgate? What’s considered Limited Access? How do you fill out a Shippers Letter of Instruction? How much does it cost? This is the part where experience, earned or bought, pays dividends.

Aside from the riddle that is CEREC shipping, there are common frustrations that both professional and amateur eBay sellers must deal with from time to time, including disputes with a buyer. Amateur CEREC sellers are more prone to disputes because they have a tendency to be light on the details in the item or condition description fields. Buyers typically shy away from listings that are lean on the details anyway, but if someone does purchase the system and you were a little careless with describing your item, then you have almost guaranteed yourself a problem down the road. Buyers have up to 30 days after delivery to open a case or request a refund under eBay’s Buyer Protection Policy, in spite of your claims of “no returns” or “sold as-is”. After a case has been opened, PayPal will freeze your funds (again) and give you and the buyer 3 business days to come to a solution. If you can’t, eBay will step in and force a solution upon you, which is usually not seller friendly. In situations like these, the effort you put into the listing on the front-end could be your saving grace.

To sum up the do-it-yourself option: this offers perhaps the largest potential return, but comes at the considerable expense of time, effort and risk.

2. Wholesale it to a Used Dental Equipment Company (a.k.a. the easy way)

This strategy is perhaps the fastest way to get rid of your CEREC, but it comes at a price. The dental equipment business is a high overhead business. Maintaining an inventory requires a sizable investment, so businesses have to be selective. This is especially true when dealing with CEREC. Most used dental equipment companies won’t touch the technology. A select few will, but only if the price is really attractive. Essentially, if there’s no chance they’ll hit a home run, they won’t bother swinging. Most times, a cash offer will be 50-60% or less of the resale value of the equipment. For most sellers who’ve paid $100k+ for their CEREC, selling at wholesale prices isn’t going be an appealing option. However, if you are in a situation where you have relatively little invested into the product or money is tight, sometimes speed is more valuable than return.

There are three companies known to purchase used CERECs with cash: CAD/CAM HERO (Texas), Atlas Resell (Idaho) and 4 Star Dental Equipment (Florida). I’d suggest contacting all three to compare offers, terms, the process, etc.

In summary, wholesaling to a used dental equipment company is recommended for anyone with minimal investment into the machine or those that require fast cash as a matter of preference or need.

3. Consignment (a.k.a. working smarter not harder)

The simple definition of consignment is the agreement to pay the supplier of goods after the goods are sold. It is a very appealing option for those with high value systems or for anyone who would prefer to let someone else do the heavy lifting in exchange for a slice of the pie. The following companies will sell your CEREC on consignment:

Atlas Resell Management (atlasresell.com)

O3 Asset Management Group (o3amg.com)

Global Imaging Resources (globalimagingresources.com)

And of course, there’s CAD/CAM HERO. We are extremely confident that we offer the most seller-friendly consignment program available (that’s why we just supplied you with links to our competitors).

Some highlights include:

  • A no cost, in-person inspection.
  • A no strings attached “handshake agreement” until your CEREC is sold.
  • A return visit by a CAD/CAM HERO representative to pack and ship the system.
  • Up front payment (some deals may involve alternative arrangements, but you will know beforehand and have the option to decline).
  • Industry low consignment fees of 10-15%.

In Conclusion

For the do-it-yourselfers out there, eBay is your best bet. Although eBay and PayPal fees will take a good chunk of change out of the deal ($1,420 on a $30,000 deal) and they will probably hold onto the money for a few weeks, it will still offer the highest potential return in exchange for considerable effort. Wholesaling your CEREC for cash is going to be the fastest and most convenient way to liquidate the asset, but you’ll also be giving up on 50% or more of the value. Consignment will be the preferred strategy for those with high-value equipment or who don’t have the time or will to do it all by themselves. No matter which way you go, CAD/CAM HERO is available to provide you with honest feedback and guidance to assist you with making the right decision for you.

Thank you for reading.


For prompt, professional and effective help with selling your CEREC system, call the CAD/CAM HERO at (844) DTL-HERO.

 

What is Patterson’s CEREC Service Club?

Although I do not have any affiliation whatsoever with Patterson, this is a question I naturally get asked all the time. After Patterson’s most recent changes to the CEREC Service Club Agreement in January 2015, its latest iteration most resembles an extended warranty typically offered at the register with almost every modern-day technology purchase. Service Club membership comes at a premium of $299/month plus tax.  I’ve organized the CEREC Service Club benefits in order of importance:

  1. Software upgrades are included with club membership at no additional charge. There is usually one major update a year.
  2. Parts & labor warranty for up to 7 years from the original installation date.
  3. 50% discount on replacement cameras, prismatic tubes and mirror sleeves after the warranty period ends.
  4. Discount on PC Hardware upgrades.
  5. Annual preventive maintenance (parts & labor) during warranty period. They bill for labor after the warranty period ends.
  6. Unlimited phone support.

Service Club membership for CEREC AC Connect systems cost $199/month plus tax and come with the same benefits outlined above minus the annual preventive maintenance.

CEREC 3 systems are no longer eligible for Service Club membership. Any CEREC systems that are not currently on the Service Club may be subject to a $1,995 initiation fee or backbilling, however this fee is normally waived for Dr. to Dr. transfers.

Source: Patterson Dental

Training Now Available!

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

– Benjamin Franklin


CAD/CAM HERO is proud to announce a partnership with Holly Bernt’s Dental Technology Training LLC to offer in-office CEREC and E4D training to its clients. Holly is a long time CAD/CAM veteran and will assist with full CEREC integration into your office workflow in as little as one day. Holly is proficient in the use of all CEREC generations, especially in the latest Omnicam systems. Her training includes a training manual, literature on prep design, assistant study sheets and information on staining and glazing materials.

Holly’s fee schedule is as follows (travel not included):

1 Day: $600 (5 hour block without patients required)

2 Days: $1,200 (recommended)

3 Days: $2,000

Saturday Special: $500 for a full day of training

Generally, Holly likes to spend the first half day training and the remainder of her visit guiding you through cases on actual clients, but she is willing to cater to your specific needs.

Call (248) 904-5291 for more info or to schedule training with Holly.

Fraud Alert!

It is easier to fool someone than to convince someone they have been fooled.

– Mark Twain


I’m sure you all have heard the classic cliché that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. I browse CEREC eBay listings on a daily basis and my eyes still light up when I see an unbelievable bargain, until my due diligence snaps me back to reality. There are many CEREC related scams on eBay that play on temptation and greed, naturally heightening your sense of urgency to race through your decision making process before you “miss out”. Some eBayers are too comfortable in the security blanket that is the buyer protection program, encouraging them to take unnecessary risks. The truth is, eBay is much too large a world to police effectively, even with help from its good Samaritans. I have tried to do my part by reporting listings I suspect to be fraudulent, but in most cases these efforts are in vain.

In the last few years, I have seen an increase in fraudulent CEREC listings. This can only mean one thing: the scams are working! If you are familiar with the used CEREC market then you know that losses from successful CEREC schemes could easily add up to the thousands if not tens of thousands. I don’t want anybody to be victimized by these Internet swindlers, so I have decided to write a blog about these crooked tactics with the hope that buyer education will eventually lead to less successful scams, prompting the thieves to move onto something else.

There is basically one method to defraud buyers on eBay: create a fake listing with an item that doesn’t exist or doesn’t belong to the seller, then require buyers to pay via unprotected methods such as Western Union or bank wire. There is primarily one differentiating factor among fake listings: 1. The defrauder has hijacked a legitimate eBay account or 2. The defrauder has created a new eBay account. We will take a look at some examples below:

The above example is a fraudulent listing for a 2010 MC XL that ended on 2/22/16. This scammer managed to hijack a legitimate eBay account with a fair amount of positive feedback. This makes the scam harder to detect and requires a hunch and some additional interrogative questions. This criminal used pictures and a description from an old completed listing. It was as easy as clicking on the “Have one to sell? SELL NOW” button found on every eBay listing. The perpetrator started a no-reserve auction at $2,000, well below the true value of the item, so as to generate a significant number of interested parties. As you can see, this tactic worked well as the fake auction generated 29 bids from 8 different bidders. In the picture beneath the fake listing you will see the real listing that ended on 12/23/15. While the fraudulent auction ended at $6,300, the legitimate MC XL fetched something closer to $18,999.

Before I identified the scam, I was personally interested in bidding on this auction, but knowing what I know, I was a little skeptical. So I decided to ask the seller some additional questions via eBay’s messaging system. On February 15th, I asked “Are you the owner on file with Patterson? Is it still on the service club? Any warranty left?” The next day I received this reply: “I can ship to Australia only if paid via bank wire transfer. I’ve used bank wire transfers for years now and trust them. If this is a problem with it don’t bid on my auction because this is not a negotiable policy.” Obviously this had nothing to do with my question, suggesting that the person on the other end wasn’t too familiar with using eBay’s messaging system and likely sent this to me by mistake. It also revealed two other clues that would suggest a scam: 1. bad grammar and 2. they require payment via bank transfer, which is not protected by eBay’s buyer protection program.

At this point I decided to do some more digging. I began to search completed listings to look for pictures or a description similar to the listing in question. Eventually, I found an exact match. My next message to the phony seller was a bit more direct: “Why are you using pictures and information from a completed listing? eBay item #262249234368.” The reply I received was a familiar one. In fact, it was the same I received before- word for word.

In the end, I knew that I had definitely sniffed out a fraud. The key takeaways from this example are:

  1. If you have a suspicion, investigate it!
  2. Ask for specific information, fake sellers can’t answer in detail.
  3. Look at their feedback history. What do they buy and sell? From whom? Can you tell if they are in the dental field?
  4. Look at their user name and location (on their seller page) for clues to their identity and Google them. Most dentists and legitimate businesses are easily found on Google or host a website.
  5. Let the seller know you have questions and ask for a phone number to call them. Most legitimate sellers will be happy to field your call to alleviate concerns.
  6. If you are not 100% confident that you are dealing with a legitimate seller, only pay with PayPal!

Next, we will look at three examples in which the con artists created new eBay accounts to list their non-existent merchandise. In one listing, the seller offered a CEREC AC Bluecam, MC XL and Programat CS oven for $19,000.

Fake Bluecam & MC XL

The listing was ended on 2/25/16 because the “item was no longer available”. This price point was definitely very low, but not painfully obvious that it was a scam. The item was located in Garden City, Idaho. It just so happened that I knew of another CEREC reseller on eBay also located in Garden City, Idaho- atlasdentalequipment. Small world, right? Since I am very familiar with the players in the used CEREC arena, I recognized this red flag right away. I visited the seller’s page and surprise surprise…

Fake Seller 2

This seller, Kamoll, was based in Turkey and their eBay account was opened just 18 days prior on 2/7/16. Why would a seller based in Turkey sell something located in Garden City, Idaho? They wouldn’t. It’s not their CEREC. Classic copy and paste job.

In another example, the scammer listed a 2013 Omnicam, MC XL and Programat CS oven in a no-reserve auction starting at just $499 that ended 2/25/16.

Fake Omnicam

One look at the item description and you could tell this particular scam artist wasn’t all that crafty.

Fake Omnicam Desc

The only thing CEREC related in the description was the one-liner on top. The rest of the description was more appropriate for a handheld camera lens attachment. You would think people would know better, right? Wrong! Nine bidders supplied 37 bids and the biggest sucker of them all walked away $14,800 lighter in the pocket…assuming they didn’t finally catch on. This item was allegedly located in the United Kingdom. What do you think I found out when I visited the seller’s page?

Fake Seller

Turns out, ilyabora_0 was located in none other than Turkey and had been an eBay member since 1/23/16. Barely a full month. Between the starting price, inconsistent item description and discrepancy between item and seller location, what more needs to be said? A clear case of fraud.

In my third and final example, the scammer is also trying to pawn an Omnicam, MC XL and Programat oven for $48,000 or best offer. This is actually a new listing as of today. What do you think? Motivated seller or con artist?

Fake Omnicam & MC XL

These items are supposedly located in Houston, Texas. Let’s take a peek at the seller’s page to see what we find…

Fake Seller 3

You guessed it! This Madoff is from Turkey! And his account is less than a month old. Are you beginning to see a pattern yet?

In just three examples, I have demonstrated how three unskilled Internet thieves potentially lifted $40,100 from three non-sensible souls; with the potential for a fourth victim to the tune of $48,000 more! Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t give in to wishful thinking, maybes or even bid out of curiosity. You are only supplying fuel and incentive for these people to continue their fraudulent behavior. Make sure you are asking and answering as many questions as you can think of; connect the dots and gather as much information as you can before clicking that bid button. Is everything about the listing logical? Is the seller open and responsive? Are the terms of the auction within eBay’s policy? If you can’t answer affirmatively for all three questions, then don’t be a sucker. In one instance, a scammer surprisingly responded to an accusatory message saying only, “I’m sorry, but I need the money.” Don’t be fooled. They are not sorry. They will not return your money. Walk away feeling fortunate that you read this blog and pity those that didn’t. I encourage you to share this blog with as many people as possible. Stop the scams. Get the word out!

For assistance with purchasing a real CEREC system, call (844) DTL-HERO.

CEREC Milestone Timeline

Technological innovation is indeed important to economic growth and the enhancement of human possibilities.

-Leon Kass

1980: CEREC process developed at the University of Zurich.

1985: The first CEREC applications were successfully carried out.

1986: Siemens obtained the license to market and further develop the CEREC method.

1987: CEREC 1, the world’s first CAD/CAM system in dentistry was launched.

1994: The CEREC 2 system was introduced and allowed for inlays, onlays, crowns and veneers.

1997: Siemens sold its dental division, which resulted in the birth of Sirona Dental Systems.

2000: The Windows-based CEREC 3 (Redcam) debuted to the market.

2003: 3D software was introduced, which allowed dentists to construct restorations based on computer generated 3-dimensional models.

2007: The MC XL milling machine was launched, making it possible to attach crowns using dental cement because of its increased precision.

2009: Sirona launched the CEREC AC Bluecam, which is based on short-wave blue light that significantly increased the precision of the scans compared to the Redcam.

2010: Biogeneric (3.8 software) made it possible to individually reconstruct the occlusal surfaces of damaged or missing teeth while achieving a natural look.

2011: The 4.0 version of CEREC software simplified the user interface with intuitive menu navigation.

2012: The latest development in CEREC technology was revealed: the Omnicam intraoral camera. This new technology allowed dentists to take powder-free digital impressions in natural color.

2013: Around 38,000 dentists worldwide use the CEREC method and thus produce 6.9 million restorations each year.