In a candid interview with The Costa Rica News (TCRN), Dr. Marco Muñoz Peralta, gave us his views about Health Tourism and the Dental problems facing the Baby Boomers!
TCRN: Couldn´t help noticing your full waiting rooms. Is this norm?
Dr. Marco: Yes, it is. Year after year with basically only ¨word of mouth¨ as our main publicity, we have seen a steady increase of patients. We expected the growth, but this almost feels like déjà vu.
TCRN: Déjà vu? How come?
Dr. Marco: Some 5 years ago, I read an article about the Baby Boomers in the USA rapidly approaching retirement age. A number in the article staggered me. From January 1, 2011 to the year 2030, ten thousand baby boomers a day will retire. 10,000 a day for 19 years. I thought to myself, ¨well, I will have plenty of work.¨ And here I am. I am now part of that newspaper story. Baby boomers are now my patients.
TCRN: That sounds like a fast forward déjà vu!
Dr. Marco: And a natural one for me. From a young age, even before I thought about becoming a dentist like my father, I learned all about fast forward. My father has been an example for me of forward thinking: wooing foreign patients to his Clinic before anyone talked about Medical Tourism; learning about placing implants in place of lost teeth, when in many ways implants were looked at as experimental; acquiring the latest in technology when other dentists in the country thought these were superfluous expenditures.
Those first foreign patients realized that the USA dentists were on par with my father, who was after all a post-graduate from a prestigious US University. The patients kept coming and referring us to friends and family.
TCRN: So do you feel you are ready for the Baby Boomers?
Dr. Marco: We are, because a great majority of our patients –for many years prior — have been in that age group. We have ¨practically specialized¨ in the treatment of the complex issues that surround the Baby Boomers. They are a special case. They come from the generation that got the braces, more visits to the dentist than any other generation and they are also the generation with the greatest longevity so far. But despite the fluoride in the water and the toothpaste, and so many other advantages that they had, 25 % of them lost their teeth before reaching the age of 60 and the other 75% that have only lost some teeth, have caps and crowns that are now failing because they have receding gums.
TCRN: Why would your gum recede despite good dental health?
Dr. Marco: because of the aging process, stress, high blood pressure, diabetes and so many other health problems that affect this generation like no other before. Baby Boomers are also experiencing dry mouth, acute sensitivity, cavities at the root level and exposed gums among others.
This is a generation on insulin, anti-hypertensives, cholesterol medication, antidepressants and analgesics which according to some studies increase their risk of cavities, but in the root, as the receding gums leave those roots exposed.
It is also a generation taking bisphosphonates for their osteoporosis, which is linked to implant failure.
TCRN: There is pediatric dentistry. Is there a specialty for the elderly?
Dr. Marco: Yes, and it is called gerodontics . But, we are not dedicated to exclusively one age group. We have patients of all ages coming to see us from as far as South Africa or Australia and New Zealand, and our practice covers a very wide spectrum of dental services with possibly the exception of braces – orthodontics. I am very proud of our practice and the way in which we are developing in the medical tourism in Costa Rica, but we will have to leave those insights for our next conversation!!
TCRN: To be continued………………..