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NRI Dental tourist sues dentist in India after her "jaw-dropping" treatment

Up to 10,000 patients at a Sydney dental surgery may have been exposed to viruses including hepatitis B, C and HIV over more than three decades. Source: AAP

An India-origin woman from the United States is suing a dentist in India for alleged cheating and forgery after her upper jaw dropped days after she got the treatment.

Dr Mohan Dhawan of Advance Dental Care is in custody of the Chandigarh police. The local court denied him bail. According to the Hindustan Times, the additional sessions Judge Harish Anand rejected Dr Dhawan's bail application. Justice Anand held that prima facie, an offence was committed.

Dhawan has been charged with cheating (section 420 of Indian Penal Code) and forgery (section 471).

The case was registered on March 19 at the sector-19 police station. According to the FIR, Gertrude D’Souza had a treatment from Dr Dhawan in August last year. In her complaint, D'Souza has alleged that implanted crowns and abutments in her upper jaw fell off a few days after she returned to the US. D'Souza claims she had taken a dental tourism package for USD 10,500. The package included implant procedure, five-star hotel accommodation, return airfare and some sightseeing.

According to the complaint, D'souza was assured by the manager at "Advance Dental Care" that the money would be refunded if she found the services dissatisfactory. "Advance Dental Care" could not be reached for the comment.

"On August 24, 2017, two days after she landed back in the US, the crowns and abutments that had been placed a day before her departure fell off," the complaint said. D'Souza contacted Dhawan who allegedly didn’t help her and stopped taking her calls later.

D’Souza claims to have spent an extra USD 1,500 for treatment in the US, according to the complaint.

Dental tourism is a subset of the tourism sector known as medical tourism. It alone contributes 10% to the total medical tourism in India, according to recent reports.

Many tour operators offer dental tourism packages. Manish Manchanda, sales manager of "Incredible Trip Planners", says dental tourism has flourished over the years due to the exorbitant costs of treatment in western countries.

"Many people like to club dental tourism with a vacation. There are many clinics across India that provide special services to patients from other countries. Many overseas Indians come for the treatment too," says Manish.

Pratik Shukla, a resident of Wollongong, is one of them. He prefers to go to India for dental treatments. And his experience has been good so far. "I had a bad experience with Australian doctors. The cost is exorbitant too. I always take a second opinion from Indian doctors."

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