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Dental Tourism in India: A brave new world

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Dental treatment along with an international holiday, seems odd right? Not anymore. The phenomenon of dental tourism or dental holidays is gaining rapid popularity in the western world. As the world becomes ever more connected and interdependent many prospective patients are seeking avenues elsewhere enabling dental health providers in developing countries to provide quality dental care and yet enable the patient to obtain significant cost savings.

Most patients in the US rely upon dental insurance to fund their expenses for dental treatment. Research released by the Kaiser foundation in the US in 2012 highlights that untreated tooth decay is amongst the chronic untreated illness in the children. More than a 100 million Americans can’t go to the dentist because they can’t afford it. Instead, they end up in severe pain or get broke while availing dental treatment out of pocket.

Medicaid, the largest insurance firm in the US does not offer dental coverage as a part of the insurance cover unless it is connected to a medical procedure, Kaiser reports. The uncertain political situation, the current state of the economy and the policies of the Trump administration towards Obamacare have led to even more uncertainty in the future of dental coverage. The cost of adequate insurance is so steep when compared to the average incomes that millions of Americans are underinsured and are unable to avail dental treatment when needed.

India has become a favoured destination, for tourists, not just for its esthetic topography and mystical Arts & culture but also for Dental /Medical Tourism. The exorbitant cost of dental treatment coupled with inadequate dental coverage leads to patients look towards other countries for dental treatment. In comparison, the cost of Dental Treatment in a country like India is comparatively much lesser, and at the same time provides the same quality of Care.

Contrary to the popular belief that the price discrepancy between the two countries is so high because of poor standards, think again. The living expenses are significantly lower than most westernized countries; the cost of dental treatment is actually at par with the living standards in India. Medical tourism is not a new phenomenon in India. India attracts over a hundred thousand medical tourists each year that the government issues a dedicated M visa to promote tourism. The Incredible India campaign has a dedicated portal of trusted medical care providers to ensure everything is up to the standards.T he dentists, especially in Metros, are highly qualified, often times have studied abroad and are frequently affiliated with both national and international dental organizations. The widespread use of the English language also encourages American and British tourists to choose India as a destination of choice over other countries like Thailand or Malaysia.

According to the Medical Group “Patients beyond borders” over 500,000 Americans travelled out of the country for dental care in 2015. The cost comparisons can be huge, for example, Dentists can charge $300 to $400 for a Dental Filling in USA & Europe. It costs only $20 to $40 in India. A Root Canal is $3,000 in the West but only $100 to $200 in India. Dentures can cost $1000 overseas but only $200 in India. This enables patients to make significant savings especially if treatment of multiple teeth are involved. A part of the savings then made can be utilized to plan a holiday and yet avail low-cost, yet best quality dental care.

Many corporate hospitals and advanced practices in metro cities are now taking conscious efforts to attract a pie of the international patients through online promotion or through medical tourism agencies. Dental tourism unlocks news doors of opportunities for Indian dentists to upgrade their practices to the best international standards, and also opens up new revenue channels both for the profession and the country!

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