NRI Flocking to India for Dental Treatment
LOS ANGELES- Dentistry is the only profession where the client put his money where his mouth is. But hundreds from the United States and Europe are flocking every year to the Mumbai offices of dentist Suchetan Pradhan because they can save up to one-forth on their dental bills. Pradhan estimates that today 20 percent of his practice –as many as 500 patients- comes to him from the United States,
England, even Africa. “It actually started off about 12 years ago with a lot of non-resident Indians coming in,” Pradhan told India-West during his visit to California earlier this month. Word of mouth spread (no pun intended), “and now it’s a domino effect, to the point that I would say that 75 percent of my patients are NRIs coming in.” The Pradhan Dental Clinic, located in an exclusive suburb of Mumbai close to famous Juhu Beach, offers state-of-the-art technology, including the use of lasers and digital imaging, that complements Pradhan’s reputation as a pioneer in the use of dental implants. Dental implants costs up to $800 each, as compared to the $2500 per tooth a patient would have to pay in the U.S. Similarly, a crown would cost approximately $150 in India, while the price soars to anywhere from $800 to $1200 in the U.S.
Dental plans in the West cover costs only up to a point, and then the patient must pay the balance out of his own pocket. Consequently “it’s cheaper for patients to come to India, get their treatment done, have a holiday and then go home,” Pradhan said. Many Germans used to charter flights to Singapore for their dental work, and the government of Singapore promoted the quality of its dentistry to attract tourism. Unfortunately, the government of India not sponsorsuch promotion, “so I supposed I had to be a catalyst to do this kind of a thing,” Pradhan laughed. “I devised a whole system on my own. I have three or four hotels, who have given me good deal, and I have spoken to travel agents who devise packages for patients, once I know they’re coming over. What we have not done is to institutionalize it.” Pradhan opened his clinic in 1988, choosing Juhu, which is home to many bollywood actors and models, because “that’s where the whole industry is for cosmetics dentistry,” he said “I would say 70 percent of the stars have has something done on their teeth.” Pradhan received his degree in master dental surgery (prosthodontics) in 1986 from the Nair Hospital Dental College in Mumbai, but was trained extensively in the West, as we have the other four dentists who work in his clinic. For more information, visit Pradhan’s clinic at the website www.indiandentistry.com.
Source – India west, March 28, 2003