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Indian dental clinics adopt digital dentistry, CAD/CAM technology to propel dental tourism

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Wednesday, August 9, 2023, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Indian dental clinics are now adopting digital dentistry, CAD/CAM technology to propel dental tourism in the country. The significant rise in dental health awareness and hygiene practices in the country has accelerated the demand for dental services.

To meet this demand, India's dental infrastructure has rapidly expanded, witnessing the establishment of numerous dental clinics and hospitals nationwide. This growth has been a collaborative effort between the public and private sectors. In recent years, dentistry in India has undergone remarkable technological advancements, embracing digital dentistry, CAD/CAM technology, laser dentistry, and superior dental materials. As a result, these cutting-edge innovations have significantly elevated the standard of dental treatments, leading to better patient outcomes, stated Dr Jatin Kakrani, co-founder, Dezy.com, the erstwhile Smiles.ai, which is one of India’s fast-growing dental care companies.

Moreover, India has gained prominence as a sought-after hub for dental tourism. The country's dental services are not only cost-effective but also uphold an exceptional level of quality, making it an appealing choice for international patients in search of affordable, top-tier dental care, he added.
Yet, there is an uneven distribution of dental facilities, with a higher concentration in metropolitan areas and tier 1 cities. Additionally, the dental market is highly fragmented, with more than 95% of clinics run by individual dentists. This fragmentation leads to high cost variation, lack of standardization, and a shortage of credible and trusted dental care providers, Dr Kakrani told Pharmabiz in an email.
Indian dental care services market is currently valued at around US$ 4 billion registering a 20% CAGR. This remarkable growth potential and lots of trustworthy consumers, dental care brands in India have piqued the interest of investors. Dental care is among the few medical specializations where the role of the brand outweighs even that of the treating doctors, according to McKinsey & Company's research, alongside ophthalmology and gynaecology.

This trend aligns with the thematic investment thesis of many venture capitalists and private equity firms. The sector holds promise for rapid expansion and presents an attractive opportunity for investors, he said.
Prevalent dental disorders and diseases are dental caries gingivitis and periodontitis, malocclusion, oral cancer, dental abscess, dental erosion, dental trauma, bruxism, halitosis, and xerostomia. Creating awareness can significantly decrease the prevalence of dental issues in India.

Dezy has a proprietary AI-ML powered technology to provide consumers with complete clarity before making a purchase decision, including a predicted post-operative smile simulation for cosmetic treatments. “To this end, the intent is to make dental care accessible with 3-D scans for comprehensive treatment planning either at our clinic or conveniently at the patient's doorstep. These are designed to reduce dental anxiety. Technology, such as intra-oral scanners, 3-D printers, guided surgeries, and fully digital protocols will ensure predictable and painless dental treatments and will support this with post-treatment care and assistance. We also own one of the largest dental lab and aligner manufacturing facilities, utilizing USA FDA certified materials,” said Dr Kakrani.

Contrary to popular belief, there is an abundance of dentists in several metros and tier 1 cities, while there remains a significant shortage of dental practitioners in rural and underserved areas. To address this disparity, introducing telemedicine solutions and mobile dental clinics can effectively reach patients in remote regions where establishing permanent dental facilities may be difficult. The collaboration between the government and private dental practitioners play a vital role in expanding dental services in underserved areas. This partnership could entail organizing dental camps, outreach programs, and offering subsidized treatment options to enhance access to dental care for all.


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