Thai researchers have developed an artificial tooth root, improving public access to dental implant services by bringing down the price of implants tenfold when compared to imported ones of a similar quality, the government says.
The artificial root named PRK (standing for Phraramkao in Thai or Rama IX in English) was jointly developed by the Dental Innovation Foundation under Royal Patronage, Chulalongkorn University, Mahidol University and Chiang Mai University, said government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek.
PRK was chosen as the name in remembrance of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great and his dedication to the betterment of dental and oral health of Thais, she said.
Thailand is one of only two countries in Asia - the other is South Korea — able to produce artificial roots locally that meet international standards, she said.
So far, more than 100,000 artificial roots have been produced and implanted in about 50,000 patients under the universal healthcare programme and other projects, she said. “We can produce about 100,000 of them a year,” she said.
Under the National Health Security Office programme, patients needing a dental implant receive one free of charge, said Ms Rachada.
The cost of an imported artificial root can be 40,000 to 50,000 baht, while a locally made one costs only about 3,000 baht. “In the past, only those with a lot of money could afford dental implants,” she said.
With better access to dental implant services, people’s quality of life has improved, as better dental and oral health allows them to eat better and have better overall health, she said.