John Kuriakose is the Managing Director of DentCare Dental Lab, a company focusing on fabricating dental prostheses. DentCare has acquired global leadership by providing high-quality prostheses to its clients. It was founded in 1988 in Muvattupuzha, a small town in central Kerala, with six employees. It has grown into a world-class dental laboratory with 4000 workers spread over an area of 250,000 sq. ft.. DentCare has gone global by marking its footprints in the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom (UK), Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East, with several National and International Certifications of quality.
John shared his ‘rags to riches story with the Senior Citizens’ Forum, Kottayam, in one of its fortnightly meetings. He believes that his life proves that miracles exist if one has steadfast faith in God. The story was so heart-touching that some of our members were moved to tears.
John was born in Aroor, a backward village near Muvattupuzha in the Ollickal family, who have been victims of mental illness for generations. His father was an itinerant labourer and a farmer tilling the small rocky piece of land his family possessed. John’s mother, who had lost her parents in childhood, also came from an impoverished family. His father dreamed of owning a piece of land with electricity, road and other facilities, for which he saved money through his labour. When he found a piece of land, a quarter of an acre, he paid his hard-earned money to the owner of the land. However, before the owner could be registered, the man got into a drunken brawl, was caught by the police, and sent to prison. The mental shock sent John’s father into a bout of mental illness.
John was a poor student. In the 10th class final examination, he could get only 250 marks out of 600, far below the 360 required for admission at the Nirmala College in Muvattupuzha. By this time, he had lost faith in God, believing that a just God would not have cursed him and his family into insanity and extreme poverty.
His mother was grieving, thinking that her children also would become mad. The marriage had brought only more suffering for her, whose parents had departed when she was a child. She attempted suicide three times. That was when she heard about a Christian Fellowship prayer meeting led by a preacher. She had to borrow decent clothes from her neighbour to attend the meeting. She went with a heavy heart to the meeting but returned smiling as she believed Jesus Christ had blessed her.
John’s mother inspired him to attend the prayer meeting. The preacher asked during the meeting whether there was anyone who had lost hope. He said such people must make a conscious decision not to commit any sin in their life. John thought he had led a pure life without thinking of sin. But when it was explained that even our thoughts should be pure, he was shocked since he had nurtured a deep hatred for his relatives who treated his family with contempt. So John decided to give up all thoughts of hate and anger, and he felt an enormous burden being lifted from him. He then started to take his father to the prayer meeting, and after a short while, he realised that his father was miraculously cured of his illness.
John started his working life as a rubber tapper. Within a short time. He got a job as an attendant in a dental clinic in Muvattupuzha at a monthly salary of Rs 250. He continued attending the prayer meetings, where he would be urged to dream of a promising future. John wondered what he could dream with his meagre salary. But he was a hard worker and would reach his place of work by 6 am and finish his job cleaning up the place by 8 am. His boss noticed John’s motivation and asked him to learn setting the dentures. John became an expert in this and started taking up extra denture setting work from clinics around Muvattupuzha. Each setting fetched him Rs 70, and he could make up to Rs 400 daily. He saved the money except for buying some clothes for his mother and a watch for his father. With incessant hard labour, he saved him close to Rs 4 lakhs.
He was dissatisfied with the quality of dental prostheses given at the clinic, particularly crowns and bridges. His work experience in setting dentures made him realise there was great scope in fabricating crowns and bridges with precision and perfection. He went to Shree Balaji Dental College in Chennai to train as a dental technician, where he passed out with the highest mark. After the training, he invested his savings in a venture called DentCare in 1988 in a 290 square feet office in collaboration with his brothers and six workers. At present, Mrs. Jessy John, his wife, is the company’s Executive Director, and she compliments her husband’s abilities as a capable leader. Joshua, Joel, Job, and Jonathan are their four sons. John’s brothers and their wives are also directors of the company.
To keep up with technological advances, John attended seminars and sessions worldwide to learn more about the dental scenario and trends. During the last 25 years, John has attended over 200 training sessions and participated in several National and International dental conferences, including the International Dental Show in Cologne, Germany. In addition, he has been honoured with many national and state-level awards.
The growth of DentCare is synonymous with the acquisition of advanced technologies. The BEGO induction casting machine from Germany was the first imported casting machine in India. In 1991, he paved the way to the metal-ceramic revolution in South India by importing bio-compatible layering materials Vita (Germany), Ivoclar Vivadent (Switzerland) and Shofu (Japan). The Ceramic Division of DentCare is the first in south India. 1993 saw the creation of an exclusive division to fabricate dentures using Cobalt-Chromium. Post-2007, he adopted computer-aided design (CAD) and manufacturing techniques to manufacture zirconia-based metal-free prostheses. The CAD/CAM technology enables the entire system with 30+ CNC milling machines employed in manufacturing. DentCare Introduced BPS (Biofunctional Prosthetic System), an injection moulding system, in 2009. Later in 2013, 3D dental model printing that allows the digital additive 3D printing of dental models from scanned intra-oral images was introduced. In 2017, Dentcare introduced the latest CAD/CAM Denture in India. There is an exclusive Division for ‘Research and Development on novel prostheses or renovating the existing ones. An export unit of DentCare has also been launched to cater to the varied needs of dentists and patients around the globe. The DentCare foundation introduced a training institute, DentCare Institute of Dental Technology (DIDT) in 2021 to enhance the knowledge level of technicians/Doctors across the nation.
DentCare is also an active partner in various social activities. The Swashraya Training and Rehabilitation Centre, Janaseva Shishubhavan etc., are witnesses to their generosity. Marriage of poor girls, rehabilitation of the destitutes, education of children, and helping the homeless build home; are among the innumerable philanthropic activities undertaken.
John Kuriakose has won numerous awards for his work. It started with the Award of Excellence by Indian Dental Association, Kerala, in 2013. He was declared the best Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014 and 2015. Best Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year (Tieton Kerala) award came in 2017. He won the Excellence Award for outstanding and dedicated service to the dental field. In 2018, he won the KMA Excellence Award for Outstanding Manufacturing Innovation. The following year he became the TiE Kerala Entrepreneur of the Year.
The guiding light of DentCare is the management policy which John clearly states: “We never compromise on quality. Our aim is to provide best-quality service to our customers. Our strong faith in God and firm commitment to the safety of our patients who use our products are our greatest strength. Our employees are our valuable asset and they consider this lab as their second home and so we call the DentCare as ‘DentCare Family”.