‘We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment’ – Hilaire Belloc
Dental tourism is the answer for those who want to fulfill the need for good dental services along with an enriching travel experience at a very affordable cost. In other words, a trip that can enrich one’s mind and body both, without burning a hole in the pocket.
Are you faced with limited dental insurance coverage? Are you looking for an affordable dentist with top – notch quality and credentials? Dental tourism is the answer.
Dental tourism means travelling abroad for an affordable and quality dental care, which is generally way more expensive in most of the European and North American countries as compared to ours. This is a budding concept that provides customised, effective and world-class quality dental care and treatment along with a planned vacation at much affordable prices.
Some dental procedures are generally not reimbursed by the National Health Schemes of some countries and a comprehensive treatment may be way too expensive for most patients. Besides the costs involved, the waiting period for execution of the treatments covered by insurance, acts as a deterrent for patients to undergo treatment back home. Furthermore, the prices, ease and affordability of international travel, improvements in both technology and standards of care, makes dental care of the highest international standards available to everyone.
However, pricing should not be the only factor to be considered while choosing a dental tourism service. To get one’s treatment done in a different country is a big decision and therefore, the quality of care rendered should be the top-most priority.
India – A preferred dental tourism destination
The Indian dental market is expected to become one of the single largest hubs for overseas dental services. As per studies, India’s dental tourism industry has been estimated to be worth a whopping US$2.2 billion annually. There are more than 1,80,000 dental professionals, 297 dental institutes and over 5000 dental laboratories in India. Moreover, India enjoys the advantage of a skilled dental workforce fluent in English, well equipped with quality and experienced dentists, to assure reliable treatments.
Treatments like cosmetic dentistry, laser dentistry, smile corrections and makeovers, dental implants, full mouth rehabilitations, gum contouring and surgeries, instant teeth whitening, surgical extractions, crowns and bridges, painless single sitting root canal therapies, invisalign, aligners, bone grafting and augmentation, child dentistry and many more advanced and complicated treatments are carried out in the most professional, hygienic, safe, comfortable and predictable manner with utmost precision, planning and ease.
Also, the quality of dental care procedures, techniques, materials used in India, are at par and globally standardised as compared to many western and Asian nations like the US, Germany, the UK, France, Australia, New Zealand, Middle East, South Africa, Singapore, Denmark, Japan and Canada.
Another aspect of dental tourism, which many overseas patients happen to avail, is to combine their trip to India with a comprehensive health check-up and other medical treatments too. Treatments like naturopathy, eye ailments, cosmetic procedures, organ transplants, cardiac procedures which are expensive in the western countries or are not reimbursed are also being carried out with great success and predictability along with dental treatment.
Along with quality and customised dental care, tourist packages may be formulated for the patients to experience the Indian culture, diversity, the picturesque countryside and famous landmarks, resulting in an overall enriching and fruitful experience. Patients can travel to their desired destinations with the help of reliable tour packages, customised to their convenience, while their dental treatment is going on. They also get a chance to get a taste of Indian cuisine and its variety. Famous places like the Taj Mahal, Jaipur, backwaters of Kerala, sun-kissed beaches of Goa, ice-clad Kashmir, Udaipur, and Varanasi happen to be a few places of interest.
Points to ponder
Though dental tourism seems like a boon for international patients facing financial or time limitations, the patients should weigh all their options by checking the following guidelines before taking a decision.
- Credentials and qualifications of the dental care provider and the team
- Previous patient feedback and testimonials
- Sterilisation methods and protocols being used by the dental care organisation
- Standardisation and range of treatments offered
- Ideal time to visit
- Location and accessibility
- Safe and adequate patient guidance and support services in the foreign land
- Adequate after-care follow-up and support for the patients.
Within the global tourism industry, dental tourism is increasingly being perceived as a fresh source of foreign exchange income for countries through the encouragement of cross – border patient inflow. Government incentives and encouragement constitute an essential part of dental tourism development in emerging markets.
Today, dental tourism is no longer about cheaper procedures and holiday trips. It is also about the quality of doctors, technology and care models that India is pursuing that makes this form of health tourism different.
Having dealt with international patients for over five years, my observation has been that the majority of the procedures that international patients are desirous of include implants, smile makeovers and teeth whitening along with teeth fillings and root canals. It is important to make the patients feel extremely comfortable with the health care team before the onset of treatment. Spending sufficient time with the patients to discuss their treatment plans with complete transparency, a good discussion of the real and attainable outcomes of the treatments and setting realistic expectations and goals out of the treatment is imperative for good patient satisfaction and compliance to the aftercare instructions. The organisations providing dental tourism need to adhere to the global standards of care along with good hospitality services in order to attain a good patient satisfaction level.
The author is the head of Clove Dental Clinic in Saini Enclave & Model Town, Ghaziabad