Read This Before You Buy a Used CEREC (2021 Update)

Keep your eyes open and your feet moving forward. You’ll find what you need.
– Anonymous

Why You Should Read This

I posted the original iteration of this article more than five and a half years ago. Since then, it has been my most read post with almost 23,000 views! It was a good run, but I think this update is long overdue. If you are in the market for a used CEREC system, be sure to read this article in its entirety as I’m going to share what I’ve learned from eight years (and hundreds of transactions) in the used CEREC business.

The “B-word”

Not that B word. I’m talking about a budget. The word budget has a somewhat negative connotation in the sense that being on a budget seems to take the fun out of shopping. At least I used to believe so until financial guru Dave Ramsey introduced me to the idea that a budget is actually a license to spend GUILT FREE!

A budget means that somebody has done their homework. When speaking with a prospective customer, I often ask what their budget is. Would you believe that the most common reply is that they do not have one? Of course, everybody has a budget. By definition, if you make and spend money then you have a budget. Those who say they don’t have a budget are really saying they need more information before they can make that decision.

That’s where this blog comes in. Everybody’s situation is unique, but to start with there are a few basic questions you’ll want to answer:

  • What are your practice needs/trends?
  • How many and what type of restorations will you be able to realistically perform same-day?
  • How will CEREC impact your practice workflow?
  • Will you need to modify your schedule to perform same-day dentistry?
  • What new services/revenue streams will CEREC enable you to add to your practice?
  • How much CEREC education will you need to invest in yourself and/or your staff to efficiently reach your production goals? (Pro Tip: Unless you are a CAD/CAM fanatic you will like your CEREC a whole lot better if you train and retain good assistants to use and maintain the equipment.)
  • What will your material costs be?
  • How much are your current lab bills? What impact will CEREC have on them?
  • Overall, how much time and money will you save by going digital?

Drill into the numbers. I would also highly recommend you consult with your accountant and perhaps a practice management expert to help you make the most informed decision. Answering these questions will not only help you figure out how much you should spend, but discover what you truly need.

Which CEREC is Right for You?

After you have determined your budget, the next step is to identify the CEREC generation that will do the job. As a helpful guide, I have produced a general price range of CEREC components based on our recent sales history:

  • CEREC AC with Bluecam: $1,500 – $5,000
  • CEREC AC with Omnicam: $12,000 – $25,000
  • CEREC AC with Primescan: $40,000+
  • 2007-2012 MC XL (2-motor/wet): $7,000 – $15,000
  • 2013-2015 MC X (2-motor/wet): $15,000 – $25,000
  • 2016-2019 MC X (2-motor/dry): $30,000 – $40,000
  • 2016-2019 MC XL (4-motor/dry): $30,000 – $50,000
  • Ivoclar Programat CS: $2,000 – $3,000
  • Ivoclar Programat CS2: $3,000 – $4,000
  • Ivoclar Programat CS3: $3,500 – $4,500
  • Sirona CEREC SpeedFire: $7,500 – $9,000

If you are new to CEREC you may have little idea which generation suits your needs best. The best way to figure that out is to give me call and have a discussion about your practice, but I’ll outline some basic information for you here.

Milling Units

A chairside Compact mill, also known as a Classic milling unit, was unveiled in 2000 along with the CEREC 3 Redcam. This mill is limited to single unit restorations (inlays, onlays, crown and veneers) and can mill a crown in about 17-24 minutes.

In 2007, Sirona rolled out the MC XL- appropriately named as it is 37% larger and 54% heavier than the Compact. In addition to inlays, onlays, crowns, and veneers, the MC XL can mill bridges, abutments and drilling guides. The MC XL also mills faster than a Compact- it can mill a single crown in 7 to 11 minutes.

In 2013, Sirona introduced 3 versions of their chairside milling units:

  • CEREC MC: the least expensive of the trio. This mill fulfills the role formerly occupied by the Compact milling unit: single unit inlays, onlays, crowns, and veneers utilizing block sizes up to 20 mm. You won’t find very many MCs on the used market as it wasn’t as popular as its more productive siblings.
  • CEREC MC X: your standard chairside mill and nearly identical to the first generation MC XL. The MC X offers the entire range of chairside treatment including inlays, onlays, crowns, veneers, 4-unit bridges, abutments/screw-retained crowns, and surgical guides. This mill is capable of grinding or milling blocks up to 40 mm in size.
  • CEREC MC XL Premium Package (aka Practice Lab): the most expensive chairside mill with additional labside capabilities. The new MC XL offers the convenience of four motors so you don’t have to change burs when going back and forth from milling to grinding, a touch screen display, the “extra-fine” grinding option, the ability to use all CAD/CAM materials (plastic, ceramic, and metal), and milling or grinding blocks up to 85 mm. In addition to inlays, onlays, crowns, veneers, and 4-unit bridges, the MC XL can produce abutments/screw-retained crowns, surgical guides, copings, frameworks (up to 12 units), bars, attachments, and telescopes.

In 2016, Sirona updated their mill lineup with dry milling technology to speed up the processing of zirconia. This was accomplished by adding a dust vent on each side of the milling chamber and a suction unit to remove and store the zirconia dust. According to Sirona, there is no difference in accuracy or quality between wet and dry milling. Also, there is no difference in the time it takes to wet or dry mill, except for the elimination of the pre-drying time during sintering of zirconium oxide (about 10 minutes in the SpeedFire).

In 2020, the company now known as Dentsply Sirona introduced the Primemill, which you can read all about in another article I wrote here. Essentially, the Primemill adds a block scanner, RFID chipped burs, a “super fast” milling mode, a smaller 0.5 mm milling tool, updated electronics, and redesigned mechanical components. Think of a smarter and faster MC XL.

My suggestion: As of this writing, I have yet to see a single Primemill available for sale, so for now I will not consider it an option. However, I will offer a word of caution about the Primemill. Judging by online chatter among Primemill owners, it seems that the Primemill has a few “bugs” that need to be worked out. This is to be expected with new technology and I imagine Dentsply Sirona will eventually resolve them via software updates. For the time being I would recommend a 2016 or newer MC X or MC XL over the Primemill because of its tried and true production history and superior ROI. For those who don’t intend to mill zirconia, 2015 and older MC Xs and MC XLs are great value options as well.

Acquisition Units

  • The CEREC 3 Redcam acquisition unit was introduced in 2000 and utilizes infrared light to acquire images. It has 8 MB of image acquisition memory and can process an image in 0.133 seconds. This system uses individual images to create a 3D model.
  • The CEREC AC Bluecam acquisition unit made its debut in 2009 and utilizes blue LED light to acquire images. At 16 MB, it has twice the image acquisition memory of the Redcam and as a result can process an image nearly 2x faster at .070 seconds. While this system also uses individual images to create a 3D model, the Bluecam performs the image capture, or “click”, automatically. Both the Redcam and Bluecam require the use of white contrast powder.
  • The CEREC AC Omnicam was launched in 2012 and reigned supreme until 2019, when the Primescan was released. The Omnicam allows for continuous capturing of 3D color scans. This “color streaming” results in a natural color 3D model without the need for contrast powder.
  • The CEREC Primescan is the latest and greatest scanner from Dentsply Sirona. The Primescan’s camera utilizes high-resolution sensors and shortwave light (what DS calls Smart Pixel Sensor technology) to capture up to 1 million 3D data points per second at depths up to 20 mm. Other new features include: continuous self-heating for fog free scanning; an increased field-of-view; 3 optional camera sleeves; instant data transfer; ergonomic touchscreen controls; and hours-long battery operation. By all accounts, the Primescan performs well and looks good while doing it. Primescan users report fast and accurate scanning without many complaints…except for the segment of users who still prefer the track ball instead of the touchscreen controls.

My suggestion: The Primescan is undeniably the superior scanner, but to me the more thought-provoking question is HOW much better? And is the upgrade worth the cost? I think that’s debatable.

A strong argument can be made that a 2012-2015 stock Omnicam running Windows 7 and 4.6 or older CEREC software seems very outdated when compared to the Primescan. But what about an Omnicam with a modern PC (same CPU/GPU as Primescan, 2 TB SSD, 32 GB of RAM), the latest CEREC 5.1 software, and a touchscreen?

With a set-up like the latter, the Omnicam makes up significant ground in performance while remaining 70% cheaper than its successor. Not so obsolete now is it? If I’m a dentist/owner trying to decide if a Primescan is worth $40,000-$50,000 more than a modernized Omnicam, the math would have to be pretty controversial to justify that purchase. This is especially true when you consider that from a production standpoint, you’re really not getting much more from a Primescan than you are from an upgraded Omnicam. My vote goes toward the upgraded Omnicam.

The 4 Pillars of Used CERECs

If you’ve made it this far, hopefully you now have a better understanding of which CEREC generation would be the best fit for your needs and budget. Next I will lay out some critical evaluation criteria to help you sort through the gems and the junk.

Pillar 1: Model Year

The first thing you want to know about every unit is its year of manufacture. Don’t allow a seller to get away with simply telling you the year they purchased the CEREC. Oftentimes, Patterson or Henry Schein will sell their oldest inventory first, so it’s possible the seller purchased a 2015 CEREC in 2016 (I’ve seen differences of 3-4 years before!). Also, it is common for sellers to forget when they purchased their equipment, oftentimes being off by several years.

The only way to be sure about the model year is to ask for a picture of the serial sticker on the back of each unit. This is especially important when evaluating mills. There are hundreds of moving parts on a CEREC mill and those parts deteriorate over time. Seals and hoses dry up, pumps go bad, gearboxes wear down, circuits blow, spindle motors breakdown…the list goes on. Just like with a vehicle, you will want to take both the age and “mill-age” into consideration as they are the primary determinants of resale value.

Pro Tip #1: Check for signs of leaking fluid on an older compact mill by inspecting or asking for a picture of the front panel pulled down. If you see an oily brown substance along the edges or behind the face plate, there’s a good chance the hoses and gaskets are leaking. Stay away as this is not an easy fix!

Pro Tip #2: Ask for a picture of the milling chamber. Is it clean? A clean milling chamber is a pretty good indication that the recommended maintenance was performed on a regular basis. If the spindle motor housing is bright and shiny versus being caked in block dust, this could be a sign that the motors have been replaced recently. You’ll also want to look at the bottom rear of the milling chamber lid near the tension springs for signs of cracks/leaks. If the seller reveals that they haven’t used the CEREC in a while, ask for a picture of the inside of the water tank. If the tank was not completely dry prior to being stored, expect it to be coated with black mold. This is not only gross, but the contaminated water could also be present in the hoses and impeding the flow of water to the burs.

Pillar 2: Hardware

The model year is important to know when evaluating acquisition units too, but nowadays it’s not always indicative of what might be “under the hood”. There is a PC Hardware version sticker on the removable PC housing, visible by removing the lower rear vent panel. The higher the code in the series, the newer and more capable the motherboard, CPU, graphics card and memory will be. Aside from the CEREC running Windows 10, this is the easiest way to find out if the acquisition unit has been upgraded or not. For your convenience, I have cross-referenced some Bluecam and Omnicam hardware specs with their PC Hardware versions:


HQ (2008): MSI P35 Neo3 motherboard, MSI NX8800GT graphics card, Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 CPU @ 2.4 GHz, 4 GB RAM

KA (2009): MSI P45 Neo3 motherboard, MSI N9800GT graphics card, Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 CPU @ 2.66GHz, 4 GB RAM

LA (2010): MSI X58 Pro motherboard, MSI N250GTS graphics card, Intel Core i7 CPU 920 @ 2.67 GHz, 6 GB RAM

LP (2011): MSI X58 Pro motherboard, MSI N250GTS Twin Frozr graphics card, Intel Core i7 CPU 920 @ 2.67 GHz, 6 GB RAM

LQ (2012): MSI X58 Pro motherboard, MSI N450GTS graphics card, Intel Core i7 CPU 950 @ 3.07 GHz, 6 GB RAM


v2.2.1 (2012): 2 graphics cards- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570, Intel i7 CPU 3930K CPU @ 3.2 GHz, 16 GB RAM

v2.2.3 (2013): 2 graphics cards- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti, Intel i7 3930K CPU @ 3.2 GHz, 16 GB RAM

v2.2.4 (2014): 2 graphics cards- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti, Intel i7 3930K CPU @ 3.2 GHz, 16 GB RAM

v2.2.5 (2014): 2 graphics cards- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760, Intel i7 3930K CPU @ 3.2 GHz, 16 GB RAM

v2.2.6 (2015): 2 graphics cards- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760, Intel i7 4930K CPU @ 3.4 GHz, 16 GB RAM

v2.2.7 (2015): AMD R9 285 Graphics Card, Intel i7 4930K CPU @ 3.4 GHz, 16 GB RAM

v.3.2.1 (2016-2017): AMD R9 285 Graphics Card, Intel i7 5820K CPU @ 3.3 GHz, 16 GB RAM

v.3.2.2 (2017-2018): AMD RX 470 Graphics Card, Intel i7 5820K CPU @ 3.3 GHz, 16 GB 2133 MHz DDR4 RAM, 2 TB SSHD

v.4.2.1 (2019): AMD RX 570 Graphics Card, Intel i7 7800X CPU @ 3.5 GHz, 16 GB 2133 MHz DDR4 RAM, 2 TB SSHD

v.5.2.1 (2020): AMD RX 570 Graphics Card, Intel Core i7 8700 CPU @ 3.2 GHz, 32 GB RAM

Pillar 3: Number of Mills

Without a doubt, the most critical piece of information when evaluating any CEREC system is its number of mills.

The number of mills on a compact milling unit is expressed in “minutes”. To determine the general number of mills on a compact, we divide the number of minutes by 24 (the maximum amount of time it takes to mill a single unit). When looking at the Milling Info screen, be sure to pay attention to the serial number shown in the top bar to make sure it matches the serial number on the back of the unit. If the numbers do not match, this means the board inside the milling unit has been changed and the milling time may not accurately reflect that machine’s actual use. In cases like these, we recommend you use your best judgment and consider the milling unit’s overall condition in comparison to its unit counter.

The number of mills on an MC, MC X, or MC XL is more clear cut. After accessing the Machine Data Type screen from within the service program, you will see a “Unit Counter” value. What you see is what you get, no math required. Keep in mind that a mill counter can be reset if someone knows the password. Again, we recommend you examine the milling chamber to determine if the unit counter seems authentic.

FYI: In 2007-2012 MC XLs you will sometimes see an impossibly high mill time value such as 45,039,943 minutes, but the unit counter value is only 548 (this is an actual example). Trust the unit counter value. We have found that mill time values often become corrupted following software updates and thus are not as reliable as the unit counter value.

With the compact, MC, MC X, and MC XL mills, you are sure to get many thousands of mills out of the machine with regular maintenance. The single most important wear-and-tear item to be aware of are the spindle motors. They cost around $2,000 per side to replace and last around 1,500-2,000 mills depending on maintenance and materials milled.

Pillar 4: Software Version

The importance of software when evaluating a CEREC varies with the type of acquisition unit you are considering.

In order to conserve space, I elected not to include Redcam or Bluecam software considerations in this version of the article. If you’d like information on Redcams and Bluecams, you can read my original article here.

As for Omnicams, you will typically find them running CEREC SW 4.4, 4.5, 4.6 or 5.1 (latest). A stock Omnicam with Windows 7 is limited to running 4.6 software or older. In order to make the jump to 5.1 software, an Omnicam will require a Performance Package hardware update or a brand new PC with Windows 10 (more on that here). This upgrade can be pricey depending on the Omnicam’s current PC Hardware and its CEREC Club status, ranging in price from $1,000 all the way up to $11,500. The potentially high cost of upgrading to 5.1 is now playing a major role in influencing used Omnicam values.

Pro Tip #1: Before you fork over $5,000 (non-club price) to Dentsply Sirona for a software update, you can usually find various software versions, license keys, dongles, and vouchers for sale by secondhand sellers on eBay.

Pro Tip #2: In order to run CEREC SW 5.1, you will need an SVD (Single Visit Dentistry) license in addition to the CEREC SW 5.1 license.

Pro Tip # 3: The CEREC Pro Module license for CEREC SW 5.1 enables production of CEREC Guide 2 and 3, Smile Design, a complete individual articulator, and several settings for the high-end use of the CEREC workflow. Additionally, the CEREC Pro module license includes the Open GALILEOS Implant license.

Happy Hunting

Look at you! You made it to the end and are now 3,000 words the wiser in the art of CEREC shopping. Armed with this new treasure trove of CEREC knowledge, you are well on your way to scoring that killer deal! If you need help along the way, feel free to reach out to me through my contact page or give me a call at (844) DTL-HERO. Now go forth with confidence! And a budget. ;)

Jhuri Lamica

The CEREC Primemill has Arrived

After Dentsply Sirona release the CEREC Primescan in February 2019, it was only a matter of time before an accompanying milling unit came next. A little less than one year later, here we are…

Meet the Primemill: the next evolution of the MC XL Premium. An impressive feat of engineering- the Primemill is smarter, faster, and more precise than its predecessors.

SMARTER- The Primemill’s integrated block scanner will automatically scan your block to determine the type, size, color, and zirconia enlargement factor, which saves you the trouble of inputting this information yourself. In addition, the new Primemill burs are equipped with color-coded RFID chips, which feed information to the tool status display on the unit’s 7″ touchscreen interface. You’ll never unwittingly use a dull bur again.

FASTER- with the new Super Fast milling mode, you can mill zirconia restorations in half the time (approx. 5 minutes)! There is also an improved grinding mode for high quality glass ceramics to process those in record time as well.

MORE PRECISE- new electronics, software, motors, mechanical components, and a 0.5 mm milling tool allow the Primemill to achieve superior margins and surface details in Extra Fine milling mode.

With the Primemill, the CAD/CAM dentistry world is your oyster. Choose from a broad range of zirconia, glass, and hybrid ceramic options to mill or grind at blazing speeds. There has never been a more impressive or easy to use CAD/CAM system for the dental practice, but is this the right solution for you?

A Primescan, Primemill, SpeedFire oven (zirconia), and Programat oven (e.max/hybrid ceramics) will set you back well over $160,000. For the very busy same-day dentistry practice, you should be able to pay off the equipment and earn a return on your investment. Obviously, this would mean your practice has a long track-record of successful CAD/CAM implementation. But what about those new to same day dentistry? In my opinion, an investment of this magnitude would require a near certain expectation that things will go well. Unfortunately, in my business I meet a lot of people who find themselves in situations where things didn’t go as planned. These people become my clients.

There is another way to break into same-day CAD/CAM dentistry. Rather than expose your practice to potentially huge losses, I recommend you start off with a good used CEREC system. A used CEREC may not have all the bells and whistles of the latest and greatest, but it will function largely the same and yield nearly identical results at 25%-50% of the cost. Once you get your feet wet, optimize your CEREC workflow, and build your competency working with CEREC, then take the next step. By that time you should have paid back your modest initial investment, earned while you learned, and can take advantage of used Primescans and Primemills that will surely be available on the used market down the road.

For those that don’t need convincing to buy used and are looking to take advantage of the Primemill’s affect on the secondary market, stay tuned. As of yet, we have not seen an influx of mills hit the market like we saw with Omnicams last year during the Primescan release. Many factors will come into play such as Dentsply Sirona’s trade-in offer, the Primemill’s higher price point, and the number of CEREC owners who’ve made enough progress on their loans to make an upgrade financially feasible. Keep in mind that when the Primescan was released, the Omnicam had been on the market for 7 years. In contrast, CEREC’s MC X and MC XL dry mills have only been on the market for 4 years. So this time around I’m not expecting to see the same impact on the secondary market from the Primemill like we did with the Primescan a year ago. One thing is certain though, the future of CAD/CAM dentistry is primed for success.

CEREC SW 5.1 Now Available for Omnicam ACs

© Dentsply Sirona

“If I purchase a used Omnicam, will I be able to upgrade to the newest software?”

This has been a frequently asked question since the release of the Primescan AC and accompanying 5th generation software this past February. After months of speculation, we now have a solid answer:

  • In Dentsply Sirona’s October 7th press release, they announced all CEREC 5.1 SW updates will be released in October 2019.
  • Dentsply Sirona’s 5th Generation Software web page states that all 2018 Omnicam ACs and older will need a performance upgrade in order to run CEREC 5.1 and CEREC Connect 5.1 software. The extent and cost of the required Performance Upgrade will depend on your current PC Hardware version. Dentsply Sirona has built an Upgrade Advisor tool to help you check the hardware status of your Acquisition Center.
  • The Performance Upgrade comes in one of two variations: a Performance Package upgrade, which includes a new SSD drive with Windows 10, additional working memory, and a Connect 5.1 software license; or a PC Upgrade, which is exactly as it sounds- a new PC with Windows 10 and a Connect 5.1 software license.
  • If your PC Hardware version is 3.2.x to 4.4.1, then you only require the Performance Package. The cost for this package is $1,000 for CEREC Club members and $1,600 for non-members. Club members will also receive the CEREC 5.1 software license for free, while non-members will be charged $5,000 for the software.
  • If your PC Hardware version is 2.2.1 to 2.2.7, then you will need the Upgrade PC. This upgrade costs $5,500 for CEREC Club members and $6,500 for non-members. As mentioned before, non-members will also have to pay for the CEREC 5.1 software license.

*Price Source:

Obviously, the big takeaways here are that Omnicams will continue to be manufacturer supported and receive software updates. Also, an Omnicam with 3.2.x hardware or better is worth a veritable $3,900 more than those with older specs.

To consider the broader view- after eight full months to monitor the effect of the Primescan release, it “feels different” than the Omnicam release did back in 2012. Back then, you got the sense that the Bluecam was dead in the water. Sure, the Primescan is sleeker, bigger, and faster, but is it necessarily an Omnicam killer? I don’t think so, especially when you consider the value proposition of a $70k Primescan vs a $20k Omnicam. Even if you have to invest a little bit more in an Omnicam to get the latest hardware and software available, you’re still sitting pretty at about 35% of the cost of a Primescan. Is the Prime really worth that much more? Or could one make do with an Omnicam for a few years and then make the jump to the Primescan when they become available in the secondary market? I’ll leave that for you to decide. No matter which way you go, you can’t go wrong with CEREC, as the brand continues to maintain its position as the industry leader in in-office CAD/CAM manufacturing now and for the foreseeable future.

See below for a copy of Dentsply Sirona’s press release:

CAD/CAM HERO Now Offering Nationwide Van Delivery, Set-up, and Installation Service

CAD/CAM HERO has always been a company that is willing to go the extra mile for our customers. Now, with the addition of our Nissan NV 2500 cargo van we can do so both literally and figuratively.

In the past, CAD/CAM HERO had no choice but to pack our CERECs in large heavy wooden crates and rely on freight carrier partners to get them to our customers. Due to the size and weight of the crates, the freight companies could rarely deliver them inside. We understood that this was inconvenient to our customers, but it was really the only way to ensure our products made it into their hands safely. In an effort to improve our customer experience, we are trying to do away with as many “crate on the curb” deliveries as possible. Hence, we view this not as an investment in transportation, but rather an investment in customer service.

Our delivery radius will extend from coast to coast in the contiguous United States. Your CEREC will be delivered by a CAD/CAM HERO technician, who will place, set-up, install, calibrate, and test the system before leaving. If you are located outside of our stated service area or for good reason don’t want full-service delivery- don’t worry, freight shipping (including international service) is still an option. To our knowledge, we are the only used CEREC reseller offering this level of service.

Buying other dental equipment for your office? Whether you are buying on eBay, direct from other doctors, or even other resellers- we might be able to help with transporting that equipment too. Contact us at with your delivery details and we’ll let you know if we can help.

I’ve purchased an Omnicam from CAD/CAM Hero in the past and all I can say is that they provide customer service like no other reseller out there.  They were timely and professional and answered every single question I asked.  I was so impressed I recently utilized their company to move some large dental equipment for me.  In less than 5 days I had all my equipment delivered without a dent or scratch on it.  I highly recommend CAD/CAM Hero for anything dental.

Dr. Jessica Kappel (El Paso, TX)

Meet the New Primescan

The long expected release of Dentsply Sirona’s next gen scanner is here. While Patterson and Schein are giddily taking pre-orders for these $69,000 machines immediately, it is not yet clear when these orders will be fulfilled. Early indications are that they are still many weeks away from mass distribution.

So what’s new?

The Primescan utilizes what they call a Smart Pixel Sensor- high-resolution sensors and shortwave light- that allow it to capture up to 1,000,000 3D data points per second at depths up to 20 mm. Dentsply Sirona claims this patented technology makes the Primescan the most accurate intraoral scanner on the market. Other new features include continuous self-heating for fog-free scanning, an increased field of view, 3 optional camera sleeves, instant data transfer, ergonomic touchscreen controls, fast and easy disinfection, and hours-long battery operation.

In addition to the Primescan, Dentsply Sirona has simultaneously released CEREC SW 5 to go along with it. This update brings with it a new GUI, intuitive touch functionality, and sharper screen resolution. It is not yet clear if CEREC 5 will be available or modified for use with Omnicam ACs.

What does the Primescan mean for the secondary CEREC market?

The Primescan effects were felt months ago. Many consumers believed, based on Sirona’s history of releasing a new scanner every seven years or so, that this announcement was imminent. Because of this, many buyers sat on the sidelines the second half of last year, resulting in a 21% market decline on package listings (scanner, mill, and oven). While significant, there still weren’t very many Omnicam scanners available by themselves, so the impact on the Omnicam scanner itself was nominal. Once the Primescan was officially released without a trade pathway however, we saw an immediate 28% decline specifically on Omnicam valuations. Without a current trade pathway, CEREC users upgrading to Primescan will be selling their Omnicams on the secondary market. The effects of which are already apparent as the number of standalone Omnicam listings has quadrupled, with an average asking price of $27,172.

If you are a current Omnicam user or seller, don’t worry, the worst of it has already passed. Once Dentsply Sirona is satisfied that they have taken full advantage of their user base who’s willing to pay any price to have it now (the shut up and take my money crowd), they will start offering discounts and trade pathways which will result in a more normalized rate of depreciation.

Admittedly, the Primescan release has not only hurt our clients, but some of our own investments as well. Looking through a rose colored glass, I can see the positive: this new scanner has been something of a “Chicken Little” scenario for the last couple years; now that the market has officially been reset, we can confidently navigate the evolving landscape of the used CEREC marketplace and can’t wait to offer used Primescans to our customers in a few years!

What’s the difference between a new and used CEREC?

This is by far the most common question I field in my line of work and is a simple question with a complicated answer. There are so many considerations that it makes an apples to apples comparison quite difficult. In order to provide a “simple-ish” answer, I am going to exclude Redcam and Bluecam from consideration. I am also going to break the answer into two parts: the Omnicam Acquisition Center and the milling unit.

Used Omnicam vs New Omnicam

Generally speaking, Omnicam ACs don’t change a whole lot year over year. You will see a few hardware changes such as an updated processor or graphics card(s), but a 2012 Omnicam is by and large the same machine as a 2018 model. The biggest consideration is whether or not the Omnicam camera is Shade Guide compatible. The ability of the Omnicam camera to detect the tooth shade while scanning was a new feature introduced with CEREC 4.5.2 software. Some of the 2012-2013 production year Omnicam ACs do not have Shade Guide compatible cameras. You can check by entering the Omnicam’s serial number (not to be confused with the AC serial number) into Dentsply Sirona’s database located here. You can find the serial number by removing the mirror sleeve and looking for the number written on the optics tube.

Software is available for free as part of CEREC club membership, so the current software version on a used Omnicam is not a huge consideration because it can be updated to the latest version, which as of today is 4.6.

Used Milling Unit vs New Milling Unit

Part two of the used CEREC vs new CEREC answer requires me to get quite a bit more in-depth. In 2013, Sirona re-branded its milling units, which makes it more difficult to make direct comparisons, but I will do my best to simplify the changes.

2007-2012 MC XL = 2013-2015 MC X

These milling units are by far the most commonly found on the used market. Aside from the name change and going from an automatic block chuck to a manual block chuck these mills are virtually identical, with nearly all the same capabilities. The major change came in 2013, when Sirona added the ability to wet mill zirconia, resins, models, and temporary materials with their Shaper 25 RZ and Finisher 10 Carbide burs. This milling strategy differed from the wet grind process used with glass ceramics and ceramic hybrids. A CEREC MC XL with a serial number >129001 or CEREC MC X with a serial number >231001 is required to use Carbide burs along with CEREC 4.3 SW or higher. If a milling unit’s serial number is below the aforementioned requirements, then it would require a motor upgrade to be Carbide bur compatible. The easiest way to tell if a milling unit has been upgraded with a carbide motor is to look at the sieve or filter at the bottom of the milling chamber. If it’s a mesh sieve that looks like this…


…then its been upgraded with a carbide motor.

 2007-2012 inLab MC XL = 2013-2015 MC XL Premium Package

These four-motor milling units are not as commonly found, but you will find a few out there. The inLab MC XL was originally designed for use in lab settings, but was the desired milling unit of enough dentists that Sirona made a clinical version called the MC XL Premium Package. The MC XL Premium Package allows the user to produce custom abutments, milled models, long-span bridges, multi-layer design, and full quadrant restorations. The two motor sets also allow the user to keep different bur sets (i.e. Step Bur 12S/Cylinder Pointed Bur 12S on set 1 and Shaper 25 RZ and Finisher 10 on set 2) to save time while going back and forth from ceramics to other materials.

2007-2015 Mills vs 2016-Current Mills

The main difference between pre-2016 mills and the current group is the ability to dry mill zirconia blocks (subject to certain requirements).


Essentially, the latest model mills have vents inside the milling chamber that suck out the dry dust into an external suction unit. This capability allows the user to skip the pre-drying time during sintering of zirconium oxide. When using Dentsply Sirona’s SpeedFire sintering furnace this pre-drying cycle takes ≈ 12 minutes. According to Dentsply Sirona, this time savings is the only benefit of the dry mill feature.

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Simple-ish Put Another Way

If my “simple-ish” answer gave you a headache, then perhaps this format is more helpful:

Do you want to mill zirconia materials?

You: No, I am happy with glass and hybrid ceramics (VITABLOCS, e.max, Empress CAD, Lava Ultimate, VITA ENAMIC, GC Cerasmart, etc.).

→ Then any CEREC Omnicam, MC XL/MC X, and Ivoclar Vivadent Programat CS series crystallization furnace will meet your needs.

You: Yes, I like glass ceramics and hybrids, but I’d be willing to invest more in a system that could do both.

→Then look for a CEREC package at least 2013 or newer with a milling unit serial number > 202001 (MC), > 231001 (MC X), > 129001 (MC XL), > 129001 (inLab MC XL), or > 302001 (MC XL Premium Package) that will allow you to wet mill zirconia. You will also need 4.3 CEREC SW, Premium Software 4.4, or Premium CAM Software 4.4 or later and Shaper 25 RZ/Finisher 10 carbide burs. In order to sinter your zirconia restorations, you will need a sintering furnace such as Dentsply Sirona’s SpeedFire or Ivoclar Vivadent’s Programat CS4. FYI- the SpeedFire is the fastest furnace available for sintering zirconia (10-15 mins), but it takes roughly 2.5x as long as any of the CS series furnaces to crystallize e.max (≈ 45 mins). So it might not be a bad idea to have a Programat CS/CS2/CS3 AND the SpeedFire OR the well-rounded CS4 if you plan to use both kinds of materials. The CS4 can speed crystallize e.max in ≈ 17 minutes, but it takes much longer than the SpeedFire (≈ 37 mins) to sinter zirconia after wet milling.

What is the trade-off between a wet mill vs. wet/dry mill?

It’s your typical trade-off scenario: time vs. money. When using a SpeedFire furnace, a wet/dry mill will save you ≈ 12 minutes in the sintering phase for zirconium oxide. When using a CS4 furnace, the time savings drops to ≈ 8 minutes.

The average sales price of a used Omnicam, Milling Unit, and Oven in 2018 (according to our sales records) was $54,000 with a range of $37,000-$75,000. Because most of these transactions occurred between parties in different states, there were no taxes.

Contrast that to the $152,365 bill for an Omnicam ($68,995), MC XL Premium Package ($71,000), Suction Unit ($1,375), and SpeedFire Furnace ($10,995). After local and state taxes this particular client in Utah paid $163,325.57! This cost does not yet take into account any finance charges.

So the real question becomes, does 8-12 minutes of extra production time per zirconium unit (and no difference with glass ceramics or hybrid materials) justify paying another $109,000 + finance charges?

I’ll leave that for you to decide, but as the notes on those 2016 wet/dry models reach maturity around 2021 or so they will enter the secondary market en masse, making this new vs. used CEREC debate pretty cut and dry (pun intended).

CAD/CAM HERO Now Offering Installation Services

CAD/CAM HERO wants you to have the best possible purchasing experience! So in addition to top notch packing/shipping, we now offer CEREC installation services. You do not have to purchase the CEREC from us to use our installation service.


Your installation service includes:

  • Unpacking/Clean-up
  • Set-up
  • Testing
  • and Calibration


The cost for this service is $500 + travel costs from Fort Worth, TX (this service is only available to residents of the contiguous United States at this time).

To get a quote for CEREC installation, please e-mail

At CAD/CAM HERO, We Stand Behind our CERECs

Starting September 1, 2018, CAD/CAM HERO, LLC is now offering a 30-day parts and labor warranty with all CEREC systems we sell. This is in addition to unlimited TeamViewer and phone support (normally $100/hour for non-customers).

We understand that purchasing high-value equipment sight-unseen over the Internet can be a worrisome experience. We take the needed time and follow a detailed process to ensure that our listings are up-to-date, accurate, and honest. Whether it be updating optimal drivers, deleting old patient data, or simply wiping down the exterior of the machine, we go the extra-mile for our customers. We are your eyes, ears, and hands as we perform our due diligence on your behalf. Not only that, your CEREC will come expertly packed and shipped in an export-certified wood crate (built to withstand 10,000 lbs of force!) so you receive your investment safe and sound. You can feel confident in your decision to purchase any CAD/CAM HERO CEREC system.

If you are considering selling your CEREC machine, the same process that reassures buyers also protects our clients. We assist in getting your equipment into pre-sale condition and address any issues up front, so there are no headaches later. We take care of the entire process beginning with a free inspection all the way to packing and shipping. This business model has led to hundreds of happy clients and we hope you’ll join them as well.

Last but not least, we appreciate your support of CAD/CAM HERO for the last 3+ years and helping us sell more than $3.06 million worth of used CERECs and counting! We hope to continue helping both buyers and sellers with their CEREC-related needs for many more years to come.

CEREC 4.6 SW Release

The latest iteration of CEREC software was officially announced June 7, 2018, although as with previous software versions, rollout is likely to be done in phases through Q3 and Q4 2018. With this new software version Dentsply Sirona has made it faster and easier to produce a restoration than ever before, claiming an excellent restoration can be accomplished with just 5 clicks of your mouse. Previously tedious processes such as setting the preparation margin and model axis have been fully automatized using artificial intelligence. This systematic automation in addition to a 20% faster calculation time, improved proposals from the Biojaw algorithm, and seamless integration with both CEREC Connect and inLab software make this update quite the accomplishment. Watch the video below for a visual demonstration of the improvements.

*CEREC 4.6 SW is not compatible with CEREC AC Bluecam systems.


CEREC 4.5 Software is Here! Read on for Important Changes

As was the case with the 4.4 release, the 4.5 software is geared almost exclusively towards the Omnicam scanner. Automatic shade detection is perhaps the most attractive new feature in the latest version of CEREC design software. Unfortunately, it looks like the early Omnicam cameras (2012-2013) don’t have the hardware components built into them to take advantage of this feature. In response to this, Dentsply Sirona is offering CEREC Club members without a compatible camera a “low-cost” exchange option. For $3,400, you can trade in your Omnicam camera for a new one (REF 6625797) that is shade detection compatible.

To find out if your Omnicam camera is compatible with this new feature or not, visit and submit your Omnicam’s serial number. The website has instructions on how to find out your Omnicam’s serial number as well as additional information on other software changes.

Bad news for Compact Milling unit owners: your trusty old workhorse is officially no longer supported in the 4.5 software version. The MC, MC X and MC XL are the only mills able to take advantage of the improvements to the BioJaw algorithms and completely new milling/grinding strategies for the internal surfaces and external contacts. If you have both a compact mill and one of the compatible milling units, you can run both 4.4 and 4.5 software on the same acquisition unit and switch back and forth on a case-by-case basis. If you want to trade in your compact mill for a 4.5 compatible milling unit, Patterson is offering up to $20,000 in discounts through September 1, 2017.