Dental tourism (also called dental vacations) is a subset of the sector known as medical tourism, which is a growing sector in India. India’s medical tourism sector is expected to experience an annual growth rate of 30%, making it a $2 billion (Rs 9500 crore) industry by 2015. As medical treatment costs in the developed world balloon, more and more Westerners are finding the prospect of international travel (coupled with a vacation) for dental care increasingly appealing. An estimated 150,000 people travel to India every year for low-priced healthcare procedures.
Dental tourism involves individuals seeking dental care outside of their local healthcare systems and may be accompanied by a vacation. Dental tourism is growing worldwide as the world becomes ever more interdependent and competitive, technique, material, and technological advances spread rapidly, enabling providers in “developing countries” to provide dental care at significant cost savings when compared with their peers in the developed world.
India is fast emerging as one of the top dental tourism destinations in the world. Every year thousands of people from all parts of the globe including USA, Canada, UK, Europe etc travel to India for low cost but world class dental treatment. Apart from costs of dental treatment dental tourists find India a very attractive country to travel.
India is rich in culture and has some beautiful places to visit including world-class beaches, mountains, hill stations, historical monuments, forts, temples and churches. Medical care quality in India has seen a tremendous growth in recent years. Most of the private clinics and hospitals have staff educated, trained and have experience of dental work in countries like US and UK. With world-class dental treatment with 70% savings and a great holiday, one can get all this in one country – India. Dental and cosmetic surgery costs in India are very economical as compared to US and UK. Dental works in India will cost a fraction of the costs in US and UK. Unlike other medical treatments dental treatments or surgeries take little time and also the recovery time is very less, hence a tourist can also enjoy holidays in India to the fullest.
The main reason India has become one of the top choices for dental tourism among dental tourists worldwide is that in India they get same quality treatment at much lower costs. Moreover, in India almost all the doctors and staff at dental clinics are fluent in English and it is widely spoken in the country.
To give a comparison, in UK rising cost of dental procedures coupled with long wait at NHS has made it next to impossible to get world- class treatment at an affordable rate. Correcting dental flaws at some of the much acclaimed dental hospitals abroad have now become a long lost trend. Thanks to the brainwave behind dental tourism, that receiving quality dental treatment at highly slashed prices is very much possible these days in India!
Dental tourism in India comes well within one’s pocket limits; it’s no more a blown out fact that dental treatment procedures here comes out to be 10 times cheaper when compared to the hospitals of the West! Also showcasing the best skilled dentists at service, even the quality is well guaranteed. Clearly, undergoing extensive dental procedures abroad, even when allowing for travel expenses, can be significantly cheaper than the same procedures at home. Pricing and qualifications of the dentists can be easily researched through websites or by contacting the dentists. Through email contact, one can ask for references, ask about payment options, and even obtain information about accommodations. Keep in mind that price is not the only consideration. With high-end and sophisticated facilities available at an affordable rate and with complimenting tourism prospects to benefit from, India tops the chart in arranging for safe, secure and pleasing health vacation to patients from all over the world.
A combination of three key factors – quality, availability and cost – has been fuelling the phenomenal growth witnessed in the Indian dental tourism industry. An English speaking population, at par technology, competence, attractive tourist destinations and alternative medicine are some factors that are largely responsible for India’s burgeoning dental tourism.
The one advantage the country has is that a doctor in India — especially a surgeon — would have acquired in 10 years’ time more experience — both in terms of scale of procedures done and the exposure to varying levels of complexity — than what a surgeon in the US would get in, say, 30 years of practice. So, a doctor with about 15 years experience will probably be unrivalled in the scope and scale of his exposure. Even in my practice, about 40% of patients are dental tourists who are either Indians living abroad or local nationals. India is playing host to patients from several countries, even the developed ones, for healthcare services. More people need to be made aware of the capabilities India has and the various services that are available. Attention also needs to be given to the factors such as better infrastructure, roads, and connectivity with the state for us to be a patient-friendly nation.
The potential for medical tourism will depend upon government policies, faith of the patients and many other external factors. We truly believe that this sector will play a significant role as a contributor towards the overall tourism growth in India.
Table elaborating the cost effectiveness of various dental procedures in India in comparison to US and UK:
|Dental Procedure||Cost in US & UK ($)||Cost in US & UK ($)||Cost in India ($)|
|General Dentist||Top End Dentist||Top End Dentist|
|Smile Designing||--||8,000||8,00 - 1,000|
|Metal Free Bridge||--||5,500||5,00 - 8,00|
|Dental Implants||--||3,500||8,00 - 1,000|
|Porcelain Metal Bridge||1,800||3,000||3,00 - 4,00|
|Porcelain Metal Crown||6,00||1,000||90 - 1,30|
|Tooth Impactions||5,00||2,000||90 - 1,30|
|Root Canal Treatment||6,00||1,000||80 - 1,00|
|Tooth Whitening||3,50||8,00||1,00 - 1,30|
|Tooth Coloured Composite Fillings||2,00||5,00||20 - 40|
|Tooth Cleaning||1,00||3,00||60 - 80|