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Going for a holiday to Goa? Get your dental treatment done while you’re there

Dentists in Goa, famed for its sun-soaked beaches and bustling nightlife, are offering holiday packages to tourists.

india Updated: Jun 01, 2017 07:23 IST
Nida Khan
Hundreds of tourists from Europe and Australia are taking up on the offer for dental treatment in Goa.
Hundreds of tourists from Europe and Australia are taking up on the offer for dental treatment in Goa. (Representative image)

If you are contemplating a visit to the dentist for a painful root canal treatment or a new set of time-consuming dentures, consider visiting Goa.

Dentists in this western state famed for its sun-soaked beaches and bustling nightlife are offering holiday packages as well, promising a dash of pleasure to lessen your pain.

Already, hundreds of tourists from Europe and Australia are taking up on the offer and visiting the state every year for their dental treatment mixed with a well-earned holiday.

Called ‘dental tourism’ or ‘dental holiday’, the phenomenon driven primarily by private dentists has taken off in a big way, prompting the state health minister to explore how even government institutions can profit from the trend.

Exact numbers to determine the scale of dental tourism is difficult to get. But anecdotal evidence suggests that hundreds of dentists are making a killing, offering packages that include cost-effective treatment and great vacations.

Many are even tying up with car rentals to organise airport pick-ups and drops for the patients.

The treatment also includes advice on resorts and beach for the best getaway for a few days with family and friends.

Gary Jones from London is at the moment getting his dental implants done while also enjoying a great holiday in Goa. “It has been great so far. Besides being cheaper, the stay for treatment here is a lot more exciting,” he said.

Dr Rachna Fernandes, a local dentist, is therefore all smiles.

More foreigners coming in for treatment has meant a mushrooming of dental clinics, particularly in areas close to the many beaches that dot the state.

“When I started practicing, there were hardly 5-6 dentists in Calangute. Today, this entire area has more than 30 clinics. But there is work for everyone,” she said. The other areas where the clinics are mostly concentrated include Candolim, Anjuna-Mapusa and Benaulim.

Interestingly, many of the dentists set up their clinics only during the tourist season of March to November. Once the season gets over, they move back to the places they hail from. “Most are from south Goa while others are from states like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. They operate in the season and then leave,” Fernandes added.

Officials of the Goa chapter of the Indian Dental Association are elated with the state emerging on the world dentistry map. “While every other state is trying its best to bring medical tourism to the fore, dentists in Goa are actually practicing it,” said Dr Chandrashekhar K Shetty, the outfit’s president.

Dr Pallavi Devkar, who runs a clinic in Calangute, said other states will find it difficult to compete with the deal offered by Goa dentists. “We help the tourists get accommodation and plan their trip in such a way that they come to us for an experience rather than just for treatment. Also, when we offer them a personalized service … they keep referring it to others and hence the flow continues,” she pointed out.

Goa health minister Vishwajit Rane was also mighty impressed during a recent visit to Scotland when a woman he met said her family members visit the state every year for ‘dental holiday’. Rane is looking to improve the infrastructure at the local Government Dental College so that it can also tap into the expanding foreign clientele.

Sandra William from Zimbabwe is meanwhile planning to spread the good word about Goa when she returns home. “Everything was so hassle free that I want to recommend more people for the same,” William said haltingly, still trying to get used to her new dentures.