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.


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:


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.


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.


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.

$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.


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.

State of the Used CEREC Market 1.0

At the end of the day we are not selling, we are serving.

-Dave Ramsey

This is the first post of a unique series I’ve envisioned writing since I founded CAD/CAM HERO in July 2015. It’s been difficult to find time to write new content during year 1, but as we approach the anniversary of CAD/CAM HERO’s founding, I figured there was no better time to release the first quarterly State of the Used CEREC Market report. This market update will cover recent sales history, the current market and my outlook on 3rd quarter 2016.

What I’ve sold

In the last three months, CAD/CAM HERO has sold $615,196.76 worth of used CERECs both on and off eBay to include 6 complete (AC, mill, oven) Omnicam systems, 4 complete Bluecam systems, 9 AC Bluecams, 2 MC XLs, 3 CEREC 3 Redcams and 1 CEREC 3 milling unit.

Average Sales Price

Complete Omnicam systems: $82,463

Complete Bluecam systems: $32,250

AC Bluecam: $5,000

MC XL: $17,500

CEREC 3 Redcam: $1,200

CEREC 3 Milling unit (for repair): $2,400

Please keep in mind that these averages are not intended to be used to assist in the evaluation of any particular CEREC system, but rather provide a general idea of recent sales history. The actual value of a system is based on a multitude of factors. To read more about how I price and evaluate CEREC systems, please read my other post: Read this Before Buying a Used CEREC.

What has sold on eBay (excluding CAD/CAM HERO eBay sales)

In Q2 2016, eBay has recorded approximately $285,045.65 worth of used CEREC sales. This figure includes 1  AC Omnicam Connect, 2 Bluecam + MC XL combos, 10 AC Bluecams, 5 MC XLs, 12 CEREC 3 Redcam + Compact milling unit combos, 7 CEREC 3 Redcams and 20 CEREC 3 milling units.

Average eBay Sales Price

AC Omnicam Connect: $29,000

Bluecam + MC XL combo: $24,000

AC Bluecam: $5,515

MC XL: $15,880

CEREC 3 Redcam + Compact combo: $2,571

CEREC 3 Redcam: $748

CEREC 3 Compact milling unit: $1,918

As you can see, eBay is a very productive marketplace for older CEREC systems sold for $5,000 or less. Most of the CERECs sold on eBay were Redcams and Compacts featured in auction-style listings from individual sellers. Where eBay becomes a much less effective sales tool is at the top of the market, where you’ll find most Omnicam or Bluecam packages. There are many reasons for this, but the primary explanation boils down to buyer risk tolerance. The buyer protection policies offered by eBay do not overcome the fact that eBay’s anonymous transaction model does not instill most big-budget buyers with the confidence to pull the trigger. All buyers naturally want to know who they are doing business with so they can evaluate their trustworthiness; and the higher the price, the more important this pre-requisite for doing business becomes. This does not favor the individual eBay seller.

Other factors hurting individual CEREC sellers on eBay include: the multitude of CEREC eBay scams, which are affecting the entire marketplace’s credibility;  a lack of informative listings; zero or limited financing options; low feedback scores or a small sample of feedback; zero post-sale support; no return policies; local pick-up only and the inability of sellers to answer detailed questions about their systems. When considering all these challenges for individual sellers, it should come as no surprise that a single professional seller such as CAD/CAM HERO can outperform an entire marketplace of individual sellers in high-value sales. As the saying goes, it pays to know what you’re doing.

CAD/CAM HERO’s Current Inventory (as of 08/03/16)

2012 CEREC AC Omnicam + 2012 MC XL + Programat CS Oven ($95,000)

2013 CEREC AC Omnicam + 2011 MC XL + Programat CS Oven ($95,000)

2013 CEREC AC Omnicam + 2012 MC XL + Programat CS Oven ($90,000)

2013 CEREC AC Omnicam + 2014 MC X + Programat CS2 Oven ($94,900) SOLD!

2013 CEREC AC Omnicam + 2012 MC XL + Programat CS Oven ($89,900) SOLD!

2013 CEREC AC Omnicam + 2013 MC X + Programat CS2 Oven ($84,900) SOLD!

2014 CEREC AC Omnicam + 2011 MC XL + Programat CS Oven ($79,900) SOLD!

2013 CEREC AC Omnicam + 2008 MC XL + Programat CS Oven ($75,000)

2013 CEREC AC Omnicam + 2007 MC XL + Programat CS Oven ($75,000) SOLD!

2013 CEREC AC Omnicam w/ 4.4 SW ($49,999)

2010 CEREC AC Bluecam + 2010 MC XL + Programat CS Oven ($37,000) SOLD!

2011 CEREC AC Bluecam + 2012 MC XL ($35,000)

2011 CEREC AC Bluecam + 2007 MC XL ($32,000)

2009 CEREC AC Bluecam + 2008 MC XL ($32,000)

2012 CEREC AC Bluecam ($7,500) SOLD!

2010 CEREC AC Bluecam ($7,500) SOLD!

2010 CEREC AC Bluecam ($5,950) SOLD!

2006 CEREC 3 Redcam ($1,395) SOLD!

eBay’s Current Inventory (Bluecams and newer as of 6/28/16)

2013 CEREC AC Omnicam + 2013 MC XL + Programat CS ($100,000)

2013 CEREC AC Omnicam + 2010 MC XL + Programat CS ($72,999)

2013 CEREC AC Omnicam + 2011 MC XL + Programat CS ($70,000)

2013 CEREC AC Omnicam + Compact Mill ($65,000)

2013 CEREC AC Omnicam ($49,999)

CEREC AC Bluecam + MC XL + Vacumat 6000M ($45,000)

2009 inEos Blue + 2009 inLab MC XL + inFire HTC ($38,000)

2009 CEREC AC Bluecam + 2011 inLab MC XL ($35,000)

2009 CEREC AC Bluecam + 2008 MC XL ($29,995)

2009 CEREC AC Bluecam + MC XL ($29,900)

2009 CEREC AC Bluecam + 2008 MC XL ($29,000)

2011 CEREC AC Bluecam + MC XL ($28,000)

2008 CEREC AC Bluecam + 2008 MC XL ($27,000)

2011 CEREC AC Bluecam + 2007 MC XL ($26,999)

2009 CEREC AC Bluecam + 2007 MC XL ($25,900)

2013 CEREC AC Bluecam + 2008 MC XL ($25,000)

2010 inLab MC XL ($24,900)

2010 MC XL ($23,900)

2010 CEREC AC Bluecam + 2007 MC XL ($22,000)

2008 CEREC AC Bluecam + MC XL ($21,000)

2006 CEREC 3 Redcam + 2007 MC XL ($20,000)

2007 MC XL ($17,999)

2011 CEREC AC Bluecam ($15,000)

2011 inLab MC XL + PC ($15,000)

2008 inLab MC XL ($14,000)

2009 CEREC AC Bluecam + 2007 Compact Mill ($10,750)

2010 CEREC AC Bluecam ($10,500)

2011 CEREC AC Bluecam ($10,000)

2009 CEREC AC Bluecam ($9,000)

2009 CEREC AC Bluecam ($8,999)

2010 CEREC AC Bluecam ($8,500)

2011 CEREC AC Bluecam ($8,000)

2011 CEREC AC Bluecam + 2006 Compact Mill ($6,899)

2010 CEREC AC Bluecam ($6,599)

2012 CEREC AC Bluecam ($5,999)

2011 CEREC AC Bluecam ($5,999)

2009 CEREC AC Bluecam ($4,899)

3rd Quarter Outlook

Potential buyers should take advantage of available summer deals before the competition for quality CERECs heat up in the 3rd and 4th quarter, when the marketplace has historically experienced the most activity. First time CEREC buyers attending the latest Patterson classes for new CEREC users are being introduced to the dry milling features of CEREC’s new Zirconia workflow (see video). No word yet on the availability of an upgrade to add this feature to older MC Xs/MC XLs or program updates for the Ivoclar ovens. We will keep a close eye on how the desire for full Zirconia milling affects demand within the used market..