The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dentalcare centre with a difference
- New oral rehabilitation clinic helps patients retain teeth, rather than extract them

One tug and it’s over. For those who are sick of their dentists sticking to this painful motto, there is new hope to hold on to their teeth — an ‘oral rehabilitation centre’ which aims to prevent unnecessary extractions.

Planet Dentistry, to be inaugurated by minister Subhas Chakraborty on May 4, will provide oral solutions ranging from simple fillings to cosmetic surgery, tooth implants to tips on brushing teeth. “Our main aim is to preserve teeth. The trend in this part of the world has been to extract them at the slightest pain and to replace them with dentures,” says endodontist Debashis Banerjee, who has set up the clinic with his wife Anindita, a peridontist. “No dentures are as good as original teeth.”

The Baguiati clinic has been divided into two sections — premium and general — to accommodate patients of all budgets. “While the premium clinic leaves no stone unturned, using the most advanced international technology, the general infirmary gives treatment of a high standard, though some of the material and techniques used may be indigenous,” add the Banerjees. Medical insurance in India does not as yet cover dental treatment.

Getting professional attention before the problem escalates is the key to keeping dental treatments low on cost and hassle. For example, fillings for cavities come at between Rs 125 and Rs 500, while a top-of-the-line, titanium-root tooth implant costs around Rs 40,000.

Cosmetic improvements have been a boom area for the Banerjees, practising for seven years now. Aspiring models and young actors have been looking to correct their problems. The dentist duo feels the primary problem is that oral hygiene and health are low priority at home. “Most children — and their parents — do not know how to brush their teeth properly,” they explain. A side-to-side movement is what is usually taught, while the best way to brush is up-and-down.

But most alarming is the incidence of oral cancer. “According to World Health Organisation figures, 40 per cent of cancer cases of east and northeast India are oral cancer,” say the doctors, who will be conducting training programmes for other oral healthcare professionals. Spurred on by chewing tobacco, supari, paan and smoking cigarettes, this form of cancer can be cured with “minimum invasion” if detected at the early stages. “People ignore infections. They usually consult a doctor when the cancer has set in.”

A weekly fresh-breath clinic will be dedicated to halitosis. “Most ignore bad breath as well, but it can be quite serious, as it stems from gum, digestive, liver or ENT problems,” they add. So, specialists will be at hand to “diagnose the root of the problem from the symptoms”. Workshops and seminars will be conducted from time to time to increase awareness levels on oral care.

For Calcutta’s ‘dentally challenged’, smiles have never been brighter.

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