‘Challenges and Opportunities in the Dental Tourism Market in India’, Health News, ET HealthWorld

by Sameer Merchant

India has become a premier destination for travellers worldwide to attain best-in-class medical treatment. Every year, millions of patients from foreign countries travel to India to get complicated high-end treatments such as cancer treatment, transplants, robotics and MICS surgeries. According to Medical Tourism Association, India rks at the 10th spot (out of the top 46 countries) in the world in the Medical Tourism Index 2020-21. According to a report by Fortune Business Insights, the Medical Tourism market in India will grow at a CAGR of 21.1% between 2021-28 and reach $53.51 billion in 2028. World-class amenities, affordability and service quality, are some factors that make India an attractive destination for medical tourists.

A majority of the patients flock to India to get treatment for curative purposes, but this number is now slowly changing. Slowly India is emerging as a destination of choice for dental and cosmetic treatments as well. Favourable government policies regarding medical and dental tourism further aid the trend. Bone grafting for implants, Dental crowns, dentures, dental filling, oral implants, oral restoration, and teeth whitening are some popular treatments tourists opt for when visiting the country.

Affordable treatment
For patients looking to get dental treatment, India provides excellent care at incredibly low costs. Another advantage India has over other countries is caregivers’ ability to communicate in English (and many other preferred languages). Patients from western countries like to travel to India for medical treatments, with dental care being most popular due to the currency value disparity. They can get world-class care at a fraction of the cost of their home country. At the same time, the patients get the opportunity to explore the diversity and colours of a “mystic” country.

Ease of Access
The affordability of treatment and patient-friendly process makes the treatment accessibility simpler, helping the patients to understand the treatment procedure and the workflow.

High-quality treatment modalities
India possesses cutting-edge equipment and technology, and its highly qualified medical staff sets the bar for successful patient outcomes.

Immediate service
In western countries, most patients have to wait to get their treatment. In India, patients are attended to immediately due to the abundance of high-quality healthcare facilities.

Convenient Travel
India does not have a very demanding documentation process, and those with good records can readily obtain a travel VISA, making frequent travel quite feasible.

Insufficient dental insurance in their home country
Before beginning treatment, patients in western countries require several documents. All their claims have to be vetted before the treatment is imparted. In India, people are spared all the documentation and get their treatment immediately.

While there are several positives that draw millions to the country, there are also some factors that are acting as a hindrance. Dental tourism in the country also faces a few challenges hampering its growth trajectory.

Lack of trust
Humans are sceptical of all things unknown, which is also true for unfamiliar medical professionals. May patients are apprehensive about getting treatment in a strange country by strangers. However, it can be overcome by having known medical professionals in the target countries who can always refer patients.

Reverse Culture
This is another thing that affects dental tourism in any country. Acceptance of the culture, food habits, and lifestyle make the patients sceptical about their endurance.

Climate conditions
Another major factor that affects dental tourism in India is our climate. Patients from extreme climatic conditions find it difficult to sustain here. Even though India offers an excellent temperature control environment, people are wary of travelling.

Postoperative follow-up
Most surgeries require patients to follow up regularly. This is one of the main barriers to dental tourism because very few Indian institutions or businesses offer International warranties for dental products. Offering better postoperative care, including online consultation, can help overcome this challenge.

On the bright side, these challenges for dental practitioners are not unique to India; similar conditions are factored in any country imparting medical care to international patients.

Thus, the practice of dental tourism is here not only to stay but to grow. After all, it is worth the effort to adjust to alien surroundings for world-class care at less price – with a chance of wowing at “Incredible India” thrown in.

Sameer Merchant, CEO, Illusion Aligners

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETHealthworld does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETHealthworld.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person / organisation directly or indirectly.)


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