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Dr Jayashree Mohan and Dr N Mohan, both with Masters in Dental Science, have a cute little clinic in Salem. For over two decades, this doctor couple has been constantly updating and upgrading the facilities for dental care. Both also teach in a private medical college which further helps them share their expertise with several generations of budding dentists. The service-oriented couple also lend their services  free for less developed countries in Latin America. They spent over a month on such free service in Gaueamala, adjusting to the much less sophisticated infrastructure and residential facilities through the Rotary International.


Leap in dentistry...

Dr Mohan pointed to the great advances recorded by the country taking advantage of the quantum jumps in IT and telecom.

Way back in 1982, I spent a couple of weeks in Germany as a guest of the Federal Republic of Germany as part of their international visitors programme for journalists. The itinerary included a visit to Dr Erhart’s Industrial Training Institute, Regensburg near Stuttgart. It was a hi-tech training cum production facility for a vast range of dental products and machinery. Germany, enjoying the boom of post-war years, was keen to share her expertise with developing countries, notably India. I remember the Director of the Institute telling visiting journalists the excellent facilities offered for training in state-of-the-art technology related to dental science.


Removing a decayed tooth for just Rs 5!

In those times, the state of the industry was primitive. I remember dentists opting to pull out a decayed tooth for just Rs 5! As in other branches of medical science, there have been great advances in conservation. With increase in longevity, the level of sophistication of dental care has also increased.

Dr Jayashree provided an interesting instance :

“In earlier years, we used to take the mould for dentures and send it to specialist craftsmen in dentistry in Salem, Chennai or Mumbai. It used to take a few days to get the dentures made out.


Technology advances enable quality service

“An enterprising business leader in Muvattupuzha, Kerala, took recourse to technology at his company Dentacare. In this, the mould taken by the dentist is couriered to his factory in Kerala. In the initial stages, Dentacare used to scan it to perfection and send it through internet to Germany, get the dentures made there and couriered back. It took about a fortnight.

“Today, dentists courier the mould carefully taken to Dentacare. The company has set up highly sophisticated facilities employing several hundred skilled workers, makes the denture in few hours in highly computerised facilities and couriers them back. The entire process is completed in less than two days! “

Advances in IT and telecom renders such facilities available not just in metros or large cities, but also in hundreds of smaller cities and towns. With the spread of education facilities through the state, luckily, it has become possible to access the advances in technology at the global level and utilise IT and communication facilities within the country to improve the quality of service.


Cost a concern...

Of course, it has also become a big business opportunity. The pioneer in corporate healthcare Dr P C Reddy of Apollo group of hospitals, was among the earliest to set up a chain of Apollo Dental Hospitals effectively exploiting the demand for not just high quality dental care but also for cosmetic care. With a huge surge in population, increasing longevity and improved incomes, there are new players like Vasan Dental Care entering the field.

However, a matter of concern is the high cost. With such large increase in the volume of business, the industry should look closely at containing costs and pass on the benefit of volume to the average customer.      – SV


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