In the interview, SOTA Imaging VP of Sales & Marketing Albert Kim and Director of Engineering Dustin Johnson shared an insider look into how not all sensors are built the same, what drives pricing, and tips to improve image quality.
Watch the Facebook Live interview here.
Why Are Some Sensors So Expensive?
As Nifty Thrifty Dentists is a group dedicated to finding the best deals, many doctors want to know: what makes some sensors so expensive compared to others? Are the most expensive sensors worth the price?
"During those 10 years, we learned a lot about sensors," Kim said. "We learned a lot about the background industry and there's really only four or five factories that manufacture these sensors, but there are tons of companies that represent them. We extensively vetted each one of these factories and got really deep into the process of making sensors. That's why we chose which we thought was the best one, which is now the iteration of the Clio Prime and Pedo."
Johnson offered additional insight on how sensors are manufactured and priced.
"For the longest time, one of the biggest most expensive but most successful sensors on the market was the DEXIS Platinum," Johnson said.
When dentists are searching for high-quality, value-based sensors, one thing they don't know is that there are only a handful of foundries that produce these parts — and there's a lot of overlap in component suppliers and supply chains in this industry, Johnson said.
"So I can tell you in terms of provenance, the components that are in this sensor are upgraded versions from the same factory that brought you the DEXIS Platinum," Johnson said. "There are companies out there that are charging huge markups on these things, for what is fundamentally a very similar product. And so when you're purchasing a sensor from us, there's provenance in these devices. They've been tested, they've been around for a long time. We're only working with the very best companies to make these things happen."
What to Look Out For When Choosing Sensors
Sensors are one of the most high touch points at a practice, and SOTA Imaging wants its customers to feel comfortable in their decision to use Clio Prime and Pedo sensors, Kim said. The company offers the option for dentists to try SOTA products free for 7 days to see how well the sensors fit into their workflow and software.
It's important to know if your sensors will work with your imaging software, which a free trial and intelligent support team can help navigate.
"You can buy other sensors but once you open the box and try to figure it out ... that's the hard part right there," Vo said. "It's actually being able to make it work with what you have."
"A lot of sensors on the market say they're 'compatible' but they have TWAINs and some other things that make the workflow more burdensome," Johnson said. "We've spent a lot of hours making sure those burdens aren't there. It just works."
One thing that makes SOTA and Clio Prime sensors the right fit for so many practices is the support team, Johnson said. They're incredibly knowledgeable on all the imaging software options on the market.
"Our tech support isn't the kind of team to say, 'Oh this is a software problem ... You're going to have to contact DEXIS or KaVo or one of these other brands because it's the software side, it's not our product,'" Johnson said. "Our team is so well-versed in these other products that with one touch we can pretty much get everybody set up with our devices and have a very smooth experience."
Pro Tip: Better Screen, Better Images
Nifty Thrifty group members join the group to get the best deals and value out of their products, and Johnson offered a tip for dentists to upgrade their image quality at a low cost: invest in better monitors.
When Johnson works with the support team, many dentists use outdated monitors which distort image quality.
"Think about it: you pay $5,000+ for your intraoral sensors," he said. "They're high resolution devices, higher resolution than your monitors probably are, but you're still using square monitors in your practice, so you're not using the full resolution of the devices you're doing your diagnostics with for your clinical practice. You can spend $100 on a 1080p high definition monitor and immediately reap the benefits of basically 4x the resolution of that little square box you've been using for 10 plus years."
Watch the full interview here.