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“The dental clinic of today has morphed from the ‘chamber of horrors’ it was famed to be, into a plush, comforting and smart environment,” says Dr. Suchetan Pradhan, CEO, Pradhan Dental care and president of the Indian Association of Laser Dentistry.
But this isn’t just an image makeover. Given the leaps that technology in dentistry has taken, the very nature of many commonplace dental treatments has changed to make way for faster, more accurate and most importantly, pain-free procedures. A few clinics now even offer to complete the once painful and laborious root canal in just an hour of your time. Lilavati hospital’s just opened multispecialty dental clinic, for instance, has a microscope that facilitates microsurgeries, allowing more accurate surgery and faster healing with a very small tissue opening.
The focus is also now shifting to feel-good treatments that dental clinics offer like smile designing or enhancement, teeth whitening and even a dental facelift.
“Twenty years ago, dentistry was all about treating disease, a functional treatment. But today, its services extend to a lot of feel-good treatments that an increasing number of people demand,” says Dr. Pradhan.
Dentists are also seeing a surge in these customers especially in the wedding season. “I have had two brides come to me this week, one for a complete smile designing procedure and another for teeth whitening,” he adds.
In fact, it was cater to this rising demand for a wide variety of dental treatments that the Lilavati Hospital opened a multispecialty dental clinic in its premises just last week, says Dr P D Joshi, a consultant root endodontist who heads the dental department of Lilavati Hospital.
“Newer dental clinics now also tend to be multispecialty ones that offer all kinds of services from tooth implants and surgeries to paedtritic and aesthetic dentistry under one roof,” he says.
Also, it’s not just about the teeth anymore. As more dentists become customer savvy, it’s about offering a total feel good experience.
There’s a kid room with games while you wait for an appointment, a massage chair to use after treatment, and digital media player sunglasses to watch movies on while having your cavity treated, at Dr. Sagar Shah’s 32 reasons dental clinic near Girgaum Chowpatty. Children even have an array of colored-fillings to choose from their cavities. “It’s all about the complete package,” says Dr Shah.
Popular feel-good dental treatments
Teeth whitening, cleaning and polishing – this procedure involves a bleaching agent being applied to the teeth to make them appear whiter. Teeth are then cleaned and polished with an ultrasonic device that blasts plaque, tartar and removes stains. It costs between Rs. 6,000 to Rs. 20,000.
Smile designing or smile enhancement – depending on the condition of your teeth, this procedure involves straitening mismatched or uneven teeth, implanting missing teeth and using laminates to create a perfect smile. It would cost anywhere to Rs. 1,500 to 15,000 a month.
Tooth jewels or smile Gems – available in plastic or gold-plated metal, these “gems” in a wide array of shapes and colors, from ruby-studded dolphins to footballs, are bonded to your teeth temporarily. Depending on what material you use, they cost between Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 4,000.
Full mouth Rehabilitation – this involves working on restoring on every tooth to its normal function as well as appearance. The procedure involves quite a bit of work and costs between Rs. 40,000 to even Rs. 2-3 lakh depending on what treatments you need.
Source – Thursday, 18th December, 2008, Good medicine, Hindustan Times cafe