The Most Expensive Pitfall When Buying a Used Pano or Cone Beam


At ImageWorks, we have been helping dental professionals make the most of their dental imaging systems for decades, and our dental panoramic x-rays and cone beam systems last a long time.  As a result, we have seen many second and third owners enjoy our systems for years.  However, over the years, we have seen many mistakes by buyers and sellers that in some cases result in the office spending more money than they expected. 

The price point of a used pano or cone beam system is typically enticing.  If you decide that the risk is worth the savings for your office, make sure you go in eyes wide open and ask about a commonly overlooked component in this transaction.

We already assume you will ask about the warranty coverage, the training, the support, the history of the unit, and whether parts are still available.  However, the one item that many times gets overlooked is the acquisition PC.

Most dental panoramic x-rays and cone beam systems require an acquisition PC.  This PC typically will not only control the equipment, but it will also be responsible for communicating with rest of the office network (usually via the office imaging software). 

For older pieces of equipment, this dual-role of the acquisition PC can become more challenging because it requires the appropriate hardware and software to run the older unit.  However, it also may need to be able to run current versions of your practice software.

Given this background, the obvious first question to ask is whether the unit comes with the PC that it was last used with.  We have come across situations where a doctor buys a used unit, and it shows up without a PC.  Then the doctor learns that they cannot just purchase a PC off the shelf that will run the unit – and they need to scramble to come up with a solution.

The second, less obvious concern is whether the PC being provided is a Windows 10 or 11 operating system (there would comparable iOS versions if you are a Mac office).  There are a few reasons why this may cause a concern. 

First, Windows 7 (or earlier) is technically not HIPPA compliant. 

Second, using a Windows 7 PC in your office may create additional integration concerns.  For instance, your practice management version may not be able to operate on Windows 7.  Alternatively, perhaps your practice management can work on Windows 7, but this would require all PCs in your office to be “downgraded” – because they all need to be at the same version. 

Third, it’s possible that the used unit you are purchasing can only operate on Windows 7, and attempting to use it with Windows 10 is either not possible, or would require new software from the manufacturer.

A used pano or cone beam system can be alluring based on the price point.  You just want to make sure you fully understand the risks.  If you would like to get our specialist’s opinion of a used unit you are considering – we would be happy to arm you with the right questions to ask.

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