I see a trend here... dudes managing the dental office for thier wives. Count me in as well, except she is a client of mine as I have my own accounting, consulting, and tax practice. Anyway, I will give my input as well. My wife has been in practice for 3 years and in Sept. 07', we had some equipment go down (X-ray units, Pan, Etc) and also needed to upgrade software etc to compatible with NPI issues. We decided it was time to go all the way with digital charting, imaging, etc. It was quite the experience doing hours and hours of research, all worth in the end.
1. Would I recommend OD. Absolutely, no question. We had in house demos from all the major players and downloaded and used the free demo from OD. At the end of the day, OD was the best option hands down, and the best part is was 10K cheaper than the others. We have needed some minimal tech support and compared to Easy Dental, it is not even comparable, OD has the problem fixed before I would have been able to talk to someone at Easy Dental. If the Dentrix guy tells you to look out for OD, they are scared and just using a saled pitch.
2. Ahh, the cost question. Acutally a loaded question considering you could have someone do it all or some of it or none of it. I choose to have someone do it all, that way when it does not work, you will have some support. Anyway, for us we had a dedicated for 3k, 9 workstations for 1,295 each plus monitor for 350 each, if you add a second monitor plan of 400 - 800 depending on if you want it for just dual monitor or for TV as well, we have cable in each op, so paid 800 for 23" Samsung's. Don't forget about mounts for the monitors, they are spendy 450 for single monitors to 800 for dual monitors per op. Other costs to consider are wiring 3-5k, printers, server lic, anitvirus, switch, router, keyboard and mouse, back-up drives, and installation and configuration (was worth every penny for us). These may seem small however really add up in the end. I have detailed ocsts of all of these so if you want Private Message me and I can give you details. Like jclaydds said, it wold be worth you time to give a specialist a call, I have worked with 2, including Dr. Lavine and could easily recommend them to you at least to get a hard quote. Just let me know.
3. As far as the intraoral camera goes, I spent some good coin on some and they have been great, however there has been talk on DT that a $200 ebay camera is quite cabable as well. I guess it is your choice, but I could give you some insight if you like as I did some good research on these as well.
Digital sensors...from my experience, going cheap is not always good. We bought Eva sensors and they were not a good buy. We returned out #2 5 times and got a replacement, however they just did not perform well. As far as Suni goes, I have not idea, some have liked it, some have not, however I know it does work great with OD. Dr. Lavine ended up selling us e2v sensors from XDR and we have been really happy with them (side note, we have Appteryx for imaging software and it bridges great with OD). As far as Dexis goes, the one size sensor I feel has some limitations. They are not good for pedo or for some PA's and I don't know how they can charge that much for one sensor. You can get a better deal with other sensors.
4. Most imaging software, including Apteryx, will charge per maching lic fee, however if you use just basic mounts I think that OD with Suni will work without any.
Let me know if you would like more details and specific recommendations on equipment or tech companies to assist you. I would be more than happy to help you. Private message me or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope this helps,