India: The Street Dentists of Bundi

For those unfamiliar with the wonderful insanity that is India, one of the most fascinating aspects is the huge street economy. You can find anything on the streets of India. Haircuts, shaves, massages, ear cleaning... or a new set of teeth.

Street dentists are plentiful throughout the subcontinent. They can be found in most markets alongside tea stalls, barbers and repair men.

By the side of the road in Bundi in Rajasthan we saw several dentists laying out their gruesome wares to attract the interest of passing trade. There are no fillings or veneers done here. No car magazines to peruse in the waiting room.

The skills, the rusty pliers and probably many of the teeth are passed down from father to son.

Hopefully the file is only to help make the dentures fit their new owners.

Hopefully the file is only to help make the dentures fit their new owners.

In a country where half the population survives on less than $2 a day private healthcare is beyond the reach of most. An extraction at one of these roadside stalls can cost less than a days wages and (thankfully) takes less than a minute.

It pays to shop around.

It pays to shop around.

The generations old instruments might be washed in detergent at the end of the day but they are never sterilised and the dentists 'surgery' is a breeding ground for hepatitis B. 

I'd like to think he is having a gentle flossing but I suspect not.

I'd like to think he is having a gentle flossing but I suspect not.