After heart implant and hip replacement, the ‘Dental Implant’ procedure, to prevent loss of teeth, is gaining ground in India and fast emerging as a potential tourism revenue earner.

Describing the ‘Dental Implant’ as the single greatest leap in dental technology, leading dental surgeon Dr Vijailakshmi Acharya told reporters here yesterday that dental implant was the modern answer to the ancient problem of teeth loss.

It could be done on patients even upto the age of 85 and patients from overseas are now looking for India as it is cost effective.

”In India it will cost about one fourth or one fifth of the cost in western countries like US”, she said adding that Dental tourism was all set to take over in the future, with a lot of overseas patients coming to India, especially to Chennai for treatment.

Citing projections on dental tourism, Dr Vijailakshmi, who had performed about 1000 implants, including 40 to 50 per cent on foreign patients, said from the utilisation point it was less than 0.5 per cent.

The increase in the number of foreign patients it was expected to grow by five to eight per cent, before touching 15 to 20 per cent in the next five years, she said.

”A majority of the 1000 patients on whom implants were done, were performed in the last two years”, she adds.

Describing the implant procedure, which can be done by giving local anaesthesia to patients, she said the implants were made of Titanium which would serve as the roots of the tooth that was lost.

”Dental implants have brought a revolutionary change in the way missing teeth are replaced, because they are permanently fixed by titanium bonds naturally to the jaw bone. The artificial teeth made of ceramic will be placed on the implant, which also gives better facial look to patients.

To spread this exciting development in the field of Dentistry, Dr Vijailakshmi, who runs a state-of-the-art dental clinic in the city, has tied up with Dr Shankar Iyer of American Academy of Implant Dentistry to start AAID Maxicourse to train dentists on implants.

The 300-hour course spread over ten months and costing Rs 2.7 lakh, has got good response after it was launched in Chennai and New Delhi with licensed dentists from all over the country and from South East Asian countries like Sri lanka, Brunei, Saudi Arabia and Dubai attending it.

”It will be launched in Mumbai next year”, Dr Shanker, who was also present, said.