Medical and Dental Holidays in India
Airfare to India is expensive from the United States.  Fares start from around $1500.  How does one afford this cost?
Flying to India for either a dental or medical holiday can easily justify this cost.

India is a country where people earning over $3500/year are considered rich, and are required to pay taxes because
of their high income.  The general cost of everything in India is comparable.  Food, housing, and especially dentistry
and medicine.

As an example, one of the other residents(Wayne) staying at our Goa Hotel broke a molar on a cherry pit while eating
a fruit salad.  He seriously considered returning to his country (New Zealand) to visit his family dentist to have the
broken tooth fixed.  Instead, he was persuaded by our hotel owner to visit one of the local dentists.  Concerned about
professional skills, Wayne was conflicted, but in the end braved a visit.  The dentist X-rayed Wayne's molar, had a
porcelain cap built for the tooth, and used professional grade adhesive to set the porcelain replacement on his molar.  
Total cost for this procedure was 450 rupees ($11).  This same procedure would have cost over $500 in the US.

Travelling to India to fix a broken tooth would not justify the $1500 airfare, but many people need more than a single
tooth repaired when visiting a dentists. Crowns, caps, or root-canals can all be done in India at a fraction of the cost
dentists would charge in the US.  I'm told that to cap 6 teeth, a typical US dentists would charge $6000.  Even with
insurance, the out of pocket cost is still expensive.  Nor does everyone carry dental insurance.  The same procedure
in India would run about $120.

Obviously, the question of experience and training are very important.  The training for a dentist or doctor in India is
comparable to those in Europe or the US.  Selecting a dentist with experience is the same as in the US - usually
selected by a friends recommendation. An India dentist typically uses equipment 10 years old, but uses the same X-ray
machines, anesthetics, and dental material used in the US.

Our same friend needed to visit a doctor for an inner ear infection (I suspect the pool at our hotel, even though looking
very clean, has some bacteria floating around - I had a nasal membrane infection for a couple of days after swimming
in same pool).  A visit to a local doctor gave him a thorough examination.  Using a standard ear probe, the doctor saw
an inflammation in Wayne's right ear, and gave Wayne a prescription for an anti-inflammatory. Doctors visit: 60 rupees
($1.50), and the drugs cost $2 at the local pharmacy.

Travelling to an amazing destination like Goa doesn't require additional incentives.  Given the high cost of medicine
and dentistry in the US, I could easily have a medical or dental holiday in Goa or less than the cost of visiting a local
practitioner.  It's almost like getting a free trip to paradise.


TALL WORLD TALES