Should You Upgrade to a Dental Cone Beam System?


There could be a number of reasons why you may need to replace your current 2D panoramic or pan ceph X-ray machine. Perhaps you have a machine that is no longer working and it is too expensive to repair, maybe it has just become obsolete over the years, or perhaps you want to expand the types of services you provide to your patients.

Regardless of the reason(s), there are a few things to keep in mind when searching for a replacement X-ray machine. First, you need to determine which type(s) of imaging capabilities and features you need to provide high-quality patient care in the immediate future. Then, you need to think about the types of procedures you may want to offer later on. If you are considering adding additional services such as endodontics, periodontics, implants, orthodontics, or sleep medicine over the next few years, it may make sense to replace your 2D panoramic and/or pan ceph X-ray machine with a dental cone beam system now.

When replacing their current extraoral imaging system, many dentists and dental specialists struggle with the decision of whether to purchase a 2D-only panoramic or pan ceph system, a panoramic or ceph system that is upgradeable to cone beam, or a 3D-enabled panoramic and/or cephalometric combination X-ray machine. Let’s consider the initial vs. overall investment for each of these options.

2D-Only Dental X-Ray Machine

Purchasing a 2D-only panorex or cephalometric machine is definitely the most cost-effective option, but it limits you to the features and services you may want to provide in the years ahead.  You may be forced to try to sell or trade-in the 2D unit when it comes time to upgrade to cone beam or other modalities. If you are unable to find a buyer, then you will have to find a company to dispose of it, which is not always easy. Plus, you will have to wait to add additional procedures and related production.

3D-Upgradeable Dental X-Ray Machine

A cone beam-upgradeable 2D system is certainly a less expensive option than purchasing a fully 3D-enabled dental cone beam machine but can cost slightly more than an entry-level 2D unit. An upgradeable model allows you to reduce your initial investment, but what many practitioners do not know is that upgrading the unit to 3D later on is often very costly. Dental cone beam upgrades typically involve replacing the X-ray machine’s most expensive components, including the generator and sensor, not to mention the service required to complete the upgrade. When adding up all of these parts and service charges, it can cost over $50,000 to upgrade your 2D unit to cone beam. So, you’ll just need to decide if you want to avoid those future upgrade costs by choosing a 3D-enabled unit instead, or if this is your best option.

Cone Beam Enabled X-Ray Machine

Of course, the option with the highest initial investment is a panoramic or pan ceph combination unit that is already CBCT-enabled. This is often the best choice if you plan on offering advanced dental services in the very near future. Although the high price tag may seem overwhelming, many dental practices realize immediate productivity improvements when implementing a dental cone beam system. Not only can they offer additional dental services, but they can often retain more patients “in house” instead of referring them to other dental specialists or imaging centers. They often enjoy improved treatment acceptance and continuation rates since patients can better understand and visualize their treatment options. In addition, advanced technology improvements, such as adding a dental cone beam system, can help elevate your practice reputation, affording you even more inbound referrals and new patients.

Used Cone Beam Options
Purchasing a replacement 2D panoramic or pan-ceph, 3D-upgradeable panoramic or cephalometric system, or a fully cone beam-enabled dental imaging system can be less expensive than you think by purchasing certified pre-owned systems from a trusted source such as Renew Digital. For more than a decade, Renew Digital has saved dentists and dental specialists up to 50% off the cost of new extraoral imaging systems without sacrificing quality or service.

Contact Renew Digital

Renew Digital makes buying panoramic, pan ceph or dental cone beam equipment easier than ever. First, start by visiting There, you can view all of the used dental equipment that may be available for purchase and the “starting at” pricing for each model. You can sort and filter the selections by specialty, features and applications, and even by brand or price.

If you find some options that may work for your clinical needs and within your practice budget, simply contact our expert sales team at 888-246-5611 or through our online contact form. We can discuss available units, prices and options to find the perfect fit for your practice. All prices include installation, training, and a full onsite service and replacement parts warranty for total peace of mind. We look forward to working with you and your practice.


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