Adding Teeth to Tourism
Health Tourism as a holiday concept is making big waves in the country. Tourists are coming to India for expert medical and dental opinion as part of their vacation package. This is mainly because medical costs in Europe and America are considerably higher in the west when compared to that here.
Says Dr. Abraham Sebastian of Dental Care, Fort Cochin, “Dental Tourism as a concept was at its inception around three to four years back when the tourists used to drop in for a tooth ache or a broken filling but now it has become a thriving business with tourists from Europe, America and even from Israel knocking on doors of local dentists as part of their travel package. They have realized that they get quality treatment with the state –of-the-art technology; at a rate 10 times lower than their respective countries.” With attractive charges, skilled expertise and designer clinics mushrooming in the city it looks as though dental tourism is here to stay.
In Kerala, dental tourism is taking of well, especially in the tourist season. Apart from the essential dental treatment, the city is poised to welcome a new dimension to dentistry and dental tourism. There’s a new way in town to change your smile and make it sparkle more, literally. Radical fashion statements, like placing of a crystal or a gem onto the surface of the tooth to give your smile that extra magic is in.
Tooth jewellery or tooth sparklers, as they are called, are in vogue and Kochi is getting its first bite. Though an emerging trend it has caught the imagination of the Generation Next. It has become popular in the metros where being different is deemed as cool. Says Dr. Gene Jacob of Koithara dental clinic. I had patients coming to me asking for the ‘sparklers’ as they are called, a year back. The girls were quite adventurous and wanted to try this out as a fashion statement. The white sparklers are more popular than colored ones, probably because it is not that conspicuous. Most of them were college students and unlike in other metros, where the boys were more into dental jewellery, my clientele were exclusively female. Of course they get wary of it after a while and get them removed or replace it with another hue. The trend however hasn’t become that popular as in the West.”
Swarovski, the leading brand in crystals have a line of dental crystals for the fashion conscious elite, willing to splurge for that all alluring sparkle. Vivadent, the pioneers in dental crystals have also come out with their range of crystals, called Skyce, affordable and in alluring hues of white and sapphire.
Dr. Daniel of Fort Cochin is of the opinion that it is his female clients, who have taken advantage of this trend.
The new generation is willing to experiment, even if it means to adorn their teeth, which explains as to why ‘skyce’ is in town and is fast becoming a fashion accessory. Dr. Rajkrishnan, of Dr. Rajkrishnan’s clinic says, “The city slickers are aware of this option and are going for that mischievous sparkle in their smiles. The college goers, Tandav (dicotheque) regulars, are willing to go the extra mile to enhance their looks. The simplicity of the procedure and the lack of any removal of tooth structure make the whole process purely an aesthetic one.” For Zoheb Gafoor, a first year engineering student, the reasons for getting hooked on to the teeth sparklers where purely the ‘cool factor’.
“Most of my friends were in to body-tattooing and piercing, I wanted to do something different, that’s when I saw one of Skaggs’s music video on channel V, and thought that the guy with sparklers on his teeth looked cool. So I got it done from my dentist. Needless to say, that, now, every girl on campus, has a smile for me”
The procedure is pretty simple and invasive and costs vary depending on the kind of gem used and the brand. From Vivadent to Dentsply to 3M to Swarovski, prices range from Rs.300 to Rs.4,000 and upwards per tooth. In Europe and America it’s just not the crystals anymore, tooth jewellery is an art in itself. There are pendants, pictures, tattoos and even miniature paintings that are worn as accessories on the tooth.
So don’t be baffled if next time, you actually encounter someone wearing the Mona Lisa smile, literally!
Tooth decoration is usually done on the upper front teeth. The tooth, where the jewellery is to be placed is selected, cleaned and dried. A special fluid is applied on the area. The dentist then places the crystal of your choice on the tooth and cures it with a blue light. The procedure is absolutely painless and takes about 10-20 minutes. If you change your mind, or if the fashion goes out in the future, your dentist can remove easily.