We believe that a good dental unit should last as long as possible: indeed, if the unit you have bought allows you to operate in the best possible way, without causing any problems or stoppages, there is no reason to change it. But apart from making this necessary point, which we hope you will be able to confirm, there is no doubt that the time to change a dental unit comes sooner or later for everyone. How can you understand when such time has come?
In general, we might say that the reasons for deciding to replace a dental unit can be compared to those for changing a car. There is certainly the age factor: the average lifespan of a dental unit ranges from 5 to 8 years for low-quality machines, 10 to 12 years for medium/good quality machines and 15 years or more for VITALI dental units. Quite obviously, working hours count, which are a bit like the mileage of a car. Above all, it’s the number of users that counts: in a clinic, for example, with many operators working constantly in shifts at the same workstation, the dental unit wears out more quickly. It is also very important to check how maintenance is carried out: if it is adequate, the dental unit can be kept in good conditions well beyond its average lifespan; if, instead, maintenance is sporadic, many parts may show signs of age even earlier than expected. Like in a car.
The problems of age
It has to be said, however, that the closer we get to the end of the dental unit’s average lifespan, the more we have to deal with increasingly pressing critical issues, such as:
- high maintenance costs due to increasingly frequent interventions, with the cost of spare parts beginning to seriously affect the budget of the dental practice;
- difficulty in finding spare parts;
- the poor condition of the dental chair upholstery, whose replacement may cost more than the commercial value of the dental unit itself.
In addition to these critical points, which are much like those of a worn-out car, there are also problems that are specific to medical devices:
- the need for more interaction between the dental unit and the new high-tech devices used in the dental practice (e.g. connection with digital X-ray and with the operating system installed on the PC, creation of a network between the dental units in the practice, etc.);
- constantly updated legislation (the new European regulation came into force in May 2021 and medical devices over 10 years old are very likely to be non-compliant);
- obsolescence of halogen lamps compared to today’s LED lamps, which are of much higher quality and power, whose replacement can cost over €1500;
- increased sensitivity to hygiene and disinfection, for which old units are not suitably equipped.
The final push to replace a unit
The decision to replace a dental unit is thus the result of many factors. And it is often the final considerations that lead to the final choice. We’re talking about the importance of offering patients the perception that the dental practice is being periodically renewed and updated, the real comfort that comes from the improved ergonomics of the latest dental units and also the expiry of years of the depreciating asset.