Cosmetic dentistry assures you that perfect smile, confidence

March 8th, 2009 - 12:10 pm ICT by IANS  

By Pupul Dutta
New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) Not happy with your smile? Conscious that your teeth aren’t milky white? Or embarrassed with that crooked incisor? Fret no longer. A fat wallet and cosmetic dentistry can help you get back that million-dollar smile, and confidence.

And what is more, rather than Indians going abroad for such treatment, people from overseas are flocking to cosmetic dentists in India where the costs are a fraction of what they would otherwise be charged in the US or Europe.

From bleaching and bonding of teeth, to fixing custom made dental bridges, capping or crowning, the perfect teeth are for your asking in a matter of five-six sittings with your dentist. But be willing to pay!

It could cost you from as low as Rs.1,500 ($30) for simple bleaching, which dentists don’t really recommend, to Rs.150,000 ($3,000) for bonding a thin sheet of porcelain veneers on the frontal surface of some 16 teeth, experts in the field maintain.

“The rush for getting that perfect smile was always there,” says Akshay Sur, a dentist practising in the upmarket south Delhi area of Vasant Vihar in the national capital.

“But, of late, more people, especially the young brides-to-be, come in large numbers for cosmetic dentistry before they get married,” Sur told IANS, adding men in the age group of 20-25 years are also getting smitten by such procedures.

Bela S. Jain, another dentist in west Delhi and a member of the Indian Dental Association, says cosmetic dentistry is not much different from the normal dental treatments. “It is a hype which the media and some of the people have created around it,” she says.

“Otherwise, capping, crowning and similar procedures are normal. But what has actually become popular among the masses is bleaching which every second person is now opting for.”

While teeth jewellery, where a crystal or a blue sapphire is embedded into the enamel, is also gaining popularity, what the affluent class is opting for are veneers - a one-stop option closing tooth gap, giving them a perfect shape and disguising the discolouring.

Gautam Khanna, vice president and head of 3M Healthcare in India, that recently launched its new brand of crowns and bridges, also confirms the growing popularity of cosmetic dentistry in India. His company is a leading global supplier of dentistry material.

According to him, even though there are no consumer surveys to reflect the growing popularity of cosmetic dentistry in India, a correlation could be drawn with the rapid rate at which new dental colleges have proliferated in the country.

As against 16 dental colleges in India in 1983, the number has increased to 926 colleges - 260 of them in Maharashtra alone. And out of 50,000 dentists in the country, 4,000 are in Mumbai, the glamour capital of India, he adds.

All this has also seen the rise of dental tourism to India, says Jain.

“We get the maximum number of patients for dental treatments from the UK as the prices are exorbitant there,” she says, adding that Indians from the US also come here for treatment while visiting their friends and relatives.

But Jain feels that dental tourism could die down soon as such procedures require timely follow-ups, which may not be always feasible. “Our bread and butter comes from the locals.”

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