Author: Medical Tourism Magazine
In the digital age, change is instant, development and improvement are lightning fast, and access to everything is readily on-tap. With vision and determination, the finest global resources are increasingly woven into world-class facilities across many fields. Advanced technology may well be the foundations of excellence, but it depends on human resourcefulness and real people on the ground to put it all together
One such “Thriller in Manila” revolves around the art and science of dentistry. Some 26 colleges around the country offer such courses. Pre-dental training is two years, followed by four more years to become a fully-fledged dentist. The best students often go “overseas” to train as “specialists” in countries such as Germany, Japan and the United States.
These human resources are very much needed “back home” in a country where dental care is particularly vital. It somehow “fits-like-a-glove” that the Philippines should be at the forefront of dental care, and keenly focused on world-class facilities for dental treatment.
After all, it is well known that the Filipino diet is laced with sweetness and deeply sugar-based. Just walk down any food street and be overwhelmed with the number of franchises and shops selling sugar products. The fact is that teeth, of all ages, do not take too kindly to such a diet, and superior treatment and good dental care, as well as extensive educational programs, from a tender age, are imperative in a society that puts so much store in sugar.
The ‘Old’ versus the ‘New’ World of Dentistry
The Old Vision
First the patient is subjected to the “damaging” x-rays of an analog machine. Then, in need of treatment, is seated in a drab, cell-like room, confined in an uncomfortable, long, semireclining contraption, confronted by a full face of bright, hot lighting, and, after a good gargle and the insert of a tube, subjected to a mouthful of injections, before the highpitched whining noise and ominous whirling twitch of the drill invades the open mouth. Out of the corner of the eye stands the perpetrator in a dental coat of friendless white.
The job is done, the mouth is numb, and the road to recovery is far flung and not uncommonly tainted with pain.
It somehow “fits-like-a-glove” that the Philippines should be at the forefront of dental care, and keenly focused on world-class facilities for dental treatment.
The New World
First, the patient has safe x-rays on a digital machine that can complete 3-D, digital CT scans in less than 30 seconds. The perfectly shaped reclining, brightly colored
chair is ergonomically comfortable and feels unrestrictive and welcoming. The anti-bacterial painted walls are warming, colorful and artistic, and are complimented by the welded seams of the anti-static flooring to give a secure and healthy room space. The LED lighting is restricted to the mouth only, and is set together with a digital recording camera.
The laser machine inflicts no pain, automatically kills off surrounding germs, is silent and performs the work without any fuss and without the need for an injection. The dentist sits on a swivel chair, and the surrounding instruments are streamlined and un-intrusive. All in all, the ambiance is relaxing, supportive and elegant. Even the dentist’s robe is in a friendly color. The job is won, the day is done and the pain is none!
The “Dr. Smile” dental care and laser centers are a classic example, with their range of equipment involved being truly international: the German dental-chair specialists who have been in business for 126 years, and these come in many colors; the safe and speedy digital 3D CT scan x-ray machines that come from Korea; the vacuum sterilization systems from Britain; the many refined dental instruments from Japan; coollighting LED pieces and camera units from France; highly
refined digital software patient education programs from Israel; and the critical and crucial top-of-the-line laser equipment from the United States. Take this best of global technology, add the vital ingredient of highly trained Filipino personnel into this jigsaw and you have a world-class operation.
There is an additional ingredient, uniquely Filipino, that has put this local dental group firmly in the limelight — “ambiance” is their buzzword. After all, it is the overall experience of being treated at a dental clinic that leaves an indelible mark in the memory of each and every patient, young and old. “Filipino ingenuity” together with their refined national trait of “human sensitivity” has created a unique Filipino brand that is part and parcel of an enthusiastic “ambiance.”
The “Dr. Smile” clinics, among others, have created a formula of professionalism mixed within a dental space, which is friendly, relaxing and very inviting. They are fully backed by top-of-the-line dental services from people like the Swiss National Fritz Minder with his dental laboratory ”Swissdent” based in Manila. The “Dr. Smile” group of dental care and laser centers (www.drsmile.com.ph) has only recently stepped into the limelight of world-class dentistry. Their unique blending of art and science has created a winning formula that is about to raise the standards within the Philippines dentistry. They are definitively gearing for expansion nationwide in the years ahead.
Mercury & Environmental Care
Top technology is all very well, but environmental awareness is another aspect critical in our modern consciousness. “Filtered air” and “purified water” are essential and well-catered for, but the ultimate test for a dental clinic is in its careful disposal of mercury – a common content of older fillings. Mercury is a damaging pollutant and must not be allowed to drain into our city waterways or landfills.
At “Dr. Smile,” like in many other dental clinics, the filtration system is specifically designed to extract all mercury before it is encased and disposed of through the correct channels. This essential and honorable approach has and will win many hearts and customers. At “Dr Smile,” the clientele is local and international, individual and corporate, old and young, and even boasts a few diplomats.
The Future of Dentistry
Such highly specialized operations are becoming a boom to the country, and it is definitely in the cards that the Philippines is smiling brightly in the dental limelight.
It is highly likely, with more and more Filipino dentists going overseas for specialized training, that the Philippines is on the cusp of a new era. The onset of “Dental Tourism” is looming on a fresh horizon, and the dental fraternity is waiting patiently, caring totally and ready and willing to embrace a new industry dependent on the Global Smile.
About the Author
Bruce Curran has travelled to 51 countries, and has chosen the Philippines as his adopted home. He says “It is such a pleasure to live in a country so full of people friendly beyond compare.”
He has also travelled to 51 provinces in the Philippines, and has written eight books on the country including travel tales, short stories and the definitive guide to the Philippine Islands, titled “Combing the Coral Carpet.” He has contributed articles for Mabuhay, Zest Air, Sea Air, the Philippine Tatler, Mercury Drug’s Enrich, Lonely Planet, Time magazine, Action Asia and more. He is the investment director of Campbell Alexander in Makati, and regularly writes financial articles for various web sites and publications, such as the Philippine magazine “Billionaire.”
He established Campbell Alexander, in 1995, as a financial planning company for foreigners based in the Philippines. The company is also an agent for the Philippine Retirement Authority, assisting foreigners at many levels as they settle in the Philippine Islands amid its many challenges. [email protected]