The Durga Saptashati plays softly in the clinic, as foreigners in shorts and loafers wait patiently for their turn on the dentist’s chair. Staff dressed in blue scrubs play affectionately with a curly-haired three-year-old boy accompanying his father.
The reception lights up as Dr Priyanka Giroti walks in, chatting with her expat clients. One’s ears perk up when she says, “You’ll be back home with a new smile in time for dinner.”
That’s no empty promise. Priyanka, co-founder of the Sterling Dental Clinic in Delhi’s diplomatic hub of Vasant Vihar, is pioneering the concept of ‘one-visit dentistry’ in India.
Her clinic is the first in the National Capital Region to acquire CEREC technology, which allows them to create aesthetic ceramic crowns or implants within a single visit, a procedure that normally takes up to 10 days in most Indian cities, and often requires repeat visits.
Priyanka’s clinic has partnered with Dentsply Sirona, one of the largest and oldest dental technology companies in the world with over 15,000 employees in 21 countries. “I realised that if the technology is now available worldwide, there is no reason why it shouldn’t be introduced to India as well,” says Priyanka, who did her BDS from Pune’s Bharati Vidyapeeth, and was a resident at All India Institute of Medical Sciences before she headed to New York University of Dental Science to do a postgraduate diploma in aesthetic dentistry.
Born into a business family in Delhi, a fractured tooth at the age of 12 introduced Priyanka to the wonders of dental science. “I realised how important it was to have a good smile and healthy teeth,” she says in retrospect. Priyanka knew Tarun from childhood, and their families were delighted when they decided to tie the knot.
After completing their education and working in various hospitals, they started their private practice along with orthodontist Dr Anurag Bhagat 20 years ago, and eight more dentists joined them along the way.
In the meantime, Priyanka had two children, and began veering towards spirituality. Often termed the ‘soul’ of the organization, she brought in the human element to the sterile surroundings with her charity work.
She tied up with NGOs such as Nai Disha to send in underprivileged children who needed dental treatment, which she did for free. A practitioner of transcendental meditation, she also opened up her space for monks from the mountains visiting Delhi for treatment.
Travelling has been a large part of Priyanka’s professional and personal growth. Every June, for the past three years, she has travelled solo across North America in search of the perfect university for her firstborn, who will soon begin her undergraduate studies.
The Girotis have travelled to most major temples towns and pilgrimage centres, even Mount Kailash. This year, Priyanka also travelled twice to Germany for CEREC training.
“People are always afraid to visit dentists. I used to wonder, is there a way to use technology to enable treatment?” says Priyanka. Empanelled with the US embassy, Sterling attracts a large number of diplomats from nearby areas.
Setting a high bar for their profession, they were among the first in Delhi to use microscopes to aid laser treatment and root canals, and the Zoom machine for tooth whitening.
The new machines take their reputation forward with computer-aided design and manufacturing, making them one of only 20 such equipped clinics in India.
“A soon-to-be-bride came to us from out of town after a filling had gone bad, leaving her front teeth looking very odd,” narrates Priyanka. “She was petrified of what her wedding photos would look like.” Priyanka was able to scan her mouth, make new ceramic veneers in the very shade the girl wanted, cement it to her teeth, and send her back home the same day.
“There’s a huge sense of creative fulfillment of contouring and creating such a complex thing as a tooth with this kind of finesse,” says Priyanka, her eyes brimming with passion as she points to the gizmo. But above all, there is also the satisfaction of seeing a happy client that keeps her going.
As Marquez said, “No medicine can cure what happiness cannot.” Perhaps Priyanka’s loving touch works as powerfully as the technology she specialises in.
First published in eShe’s September 2018 issue