Operating for over twenty years with six branches throughout the country, The DENS dental clinic now focuses on medical tourism, serving patients from abroad.
The first clinic in the DENS dental clinic chain opened in November 1998 in Rustavi, and has now been operating for 21 years. The DENS chain operates six dental clinics throughout Georgia, including two in Tbilisi, two in Rustavi, one in Gardabani and one in Marneuli, with 150 employees in total. The DENS clinics care for the health of customers, strive to introduce modern standards and methods of treatment, make them accessible to all consumers and promote the training of young professionals.
“From day one, we started introducing American standards, for instance using Latex disposable gloves and horizontal patient positioning, which was practically a revolutionary move at the time,” said the founder of the DENS clinics, Giorgi Kochiashvili.
THE PRINCIPLES AND INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS OF DENS
The DENS clinics incorporate all aspects of dental care, including aesthetic dentistry, therapy, orthodontics, implants, periodontology, surgery, pediatric dentistry and digital dentistry.
The main vision of DENS is to become a dental clinic chain that is in full compliance with international standards and can compete with European dental clinics. “Competition for us does not mean only on the Georgian market. We do not have closed borders any more. Georgia enjoys a mutually free and reliable environment with Europe, and therefore, the DENS clinics are competing with dental clinics in Hungary, Latvia, the Czech Republic, France and other European countries,” said Kochiashvili.
All patients who come to DENS clinics are guaranteed high-quality dental care. DENS uses only CE accredited materials, which are mainly imported from Germany, Switzerland and Italy, as well as American-made materials for orthodontics and implants.
Along with clinical work, the DENS dental clinic chain is contributing to the development of medical tourism by hosting patients from all over the world, including from the US, the United Kingdom, Israel, Spain, Italy, Germany and Denmark.
“Customers have become increasingly demanding, which means that we have no time to relax. Clients come to our clinic from all over the world, and ask for exactly the same quality of service that they can get abroad,” said Kochiashvili. These people compare the quality of service in Europe and Georgia, and when they see that the quality is comparable, while there is a big difference in price, they decide to receive dental care in Georgia at the DENS clinic, as opposed to going to a dental clinic in Europe. Subsequently, they share their experiences with friends, family members and acquaintances. Every holiday season, DENS focuses on medical tourism, serving many patients from abroad.
However, it should be noted that the medical tourism sphere still has untapped potential. DENS operates mainly through satisfied clients and personal contacts. “That is exactly why we need a dedicated team in Georgia that will organize and wage a PR campaign for dental services in our country. There is no such intermediary at the moment, and medical tourism is still successful. Just imagine how successful this sphere could be if we had someone promoting it. I believe that in the presence of an intermediary, the scale of medical tourism would significantly increase and make a major contribution to economic growth. We would be delighted to see exhibitions and trade shows dedicated to the sphere of medical tourism, where other dental clinics would have the opportunity to participate and acquaint European countries with their services,” added Kochiashvili.
The services that DENS clinics offer tourists are very simple and convenient: appointments can be made online, and computer imaging can be sent via email. “We prepare the treatment plan in advance and provide the cost estimate. Appointments with the doctor are planned two weeks ahead, and tourists know how long the treatment will take and how much they will be charged. This gives them a chance to better plan cultural and sightseeing tours,” said Kochiashvili, adding that “the treatment plan is prepared online, and we already know what kind of treatment will be necessary before the tourist arrives in Georgia.”
Regarding the difference in prices, at DENS clinics the price for implants varies from $200 to $1,000, while the standard service using the exact same materials and protocol in Germany would cost between $2,500 and $10,000. “Our prices are 70-80% lower, mainly due to a low profit tax in our country. For instance, compared to Finland, where the profit tax is 56%, Georgia’s is only 18%,” said Kochiashvili. The dental clinic chain manages to maintain low prices compared to European countries at the expense of staff salaries and rent and not by cutting costs with the materials used in dental care. The dental materials used by DENS clinics are analogous to the materials used by dental clinics abroad. The fact that medical technologies are exempt from taxes in Georgia, and that medical clinics do not pay VAT, has significantly contributed to the development of private sector medical care. All of these factors explain the high demand for dental, ophthalmological, gynecological and other medical services from neighbouring countries.
NOVELTIES AND FUTURE PLANS
In 2018, the DENS dental clinic chain opened a cafeteria for patients at its head office. The cafeteria gives patients a comfortable space where friends and family can wait while the patient is undergoing treatment, or they can simply wait for their appointment and enjoy a cup of coffee while discussing their treatment plan with the doctor.
“We are leaders in periodontics and implant dentistry. We started using implants 20 years ago when this was all very new and no one else was doing it. Today, implant dentistry is a very successful and popular sphere in Georgia,” said Kochiashvili.
At DENS clinics, it is possible to have one’s teeth pulled, dental implants placed and teeth restored in a single visit. There is also growing demand for digital implant technologies (also known as guided implant placement without incision). This is the latest method of implant placement, and patients do not have to suffer the discomfort of stitches and the 10-day wait to have them removed. The new method allows placement of implants without incision, which is very comfortable for patients, since they do not suffer from swelling, hyperaemia or other inconveniences. The main advantage of this method is that the digitally planned implant axis is highly compatible with the axis of the natural tooth, which helps ensure that the implant will be long-lasting.
The periodontology unit specializes in the diagnosis of gum disease using digital methods, and the treatment is carried out based on Swiss Guided Biofilm Therapy (GBT) protocol.
DENS has its own dental technical laboratory, which allows the dentists to complete their work in the shortest possible time.
The clinics also have German standards for sterilization: all instruments are wrapped and autoclaved. The sterilized instruments are opened in front of the patient just before the beginning of treatment. DENS also has an ISO management standard, which means that all the offices offer services based on the same protocol and use the same materials.
As for warranty: “We take full responsibility for the dental services provided in our clinics, and we provide our patients with relevant warranties that come with mandatory recommendations which must be carefully followed in order to ensure the durability of the treatment. This approach increases our reliability,” said Kochiashvili.
The dental clinic chain plans to open a new office in the Saburtalo district of Tbilisi next year, which will be equipped with the latest technology, highly professional staff and an extremely pleasant environment for its patients.