The Grand Daddy of all Championship matches in the United States is the Super Bowl.   Hands down it gets more viewers and attention than most other sports combined.  Why?  Because football is truly American, and a real thinking game with strategic and tactical considerations; and it is a full contact sport with a chance for serious injury on each and every play – something many Americans consider requisite for sports.  And it is this last fact that has some Dentists located outside the U.S. paying more attention to the game.

Truth is there are no sports that feed the dental industry as much as American football.  Sure, hockey, boxing, lacrosse, radical bike riding and motocross often get more attention as the graphics can be mighty impressive, but year in and year out football is like Old Faithful delivering patients to awaiting dental clinics.  And the players usually arrive for one of two things; teeth whitening or dental implants (replacement teeth).

Many players note that a set of white teeth is helpful for attracting dates and mates!  But game day usually brings patients to the dental office for a more serious matter – a new and unwelcome gap in their smile; usually a result of teeth that were knocked out by elbows and knees of other players.  Sometimes the damage is done by the player’s own teeth which take on a destructive nature of their own after players take serious hits from opponents and teammates alike.  The only things standing between teeth flying out of mouths and around the fields are common sense, good luck, and mouth guards.

Many people do not understand the barbarity of sports such as football, though evidence reveals they have been played for thousands of years.   Interestingly, many Americans are troubled and some even sickened by the thought of using helmets, pads and other protective gear.  They maintain that stuff takes the real fun out of sports and takes players away from their warrior roots.  It is believed military training led to the development and proliferation of sports; and there are those who would like to return to the earlier days of a less regulatory, less restrictive, and a more competitive environment.

So how does this fit in with Dental Tourism?  Well, teeth are expensive.  They are expensive caring for the ones you have, and more so when you need to replace them!   An average adult is going to lose at least some teeth during his/her life and athletes who engage in dangerous sports should expect to lose them at a faster rate!  Not that every player ends up getting his/her teeth smashed out, but the odds are much greater of an accident when you frequently have an opponent confronting you with their fists, feet, sticks, etc. looking to get the best of you.  And the best of you is sometimes your smile.

Yes, there’s nothing in competitive sports like taking the smile off your opponents face!  So, naturally, your teeth are somewhat of a target.  Not that most players would admit that they are out for blood, to break teeth, or to cause damage; but the truth is many are, and many do.  The American psyche may be a bit odd in this respect; we don’t see this brutality as a “mean” thing, just as a “healthy competition.”

Dental Tourism

Sure, we could stick with chile cook-offs and buffalo-wing-eating contests, but it is just not the same.  We Americans like our full contact sports; especially when there’s LOTS of action.  Blood, teeth, broken bones, we see it all as part of the American sports landscape.  We mean no true harm to anyone, and we are unhappy when any player is seriously wounded or injured; but many of us are inexplicably wired to want to see things that make us wince (like a roadside accident); and we are bred to compete to win.

Who knows?  Maybe we are products of Hollywood, violent T.V., gaming and the internet culture; and maybe we have something instinctive that make us want to ring Jimmy’s bell, clean Charlie’s clock or open up a can of hurt on anyone who faces us off.  It’s hard to say.  It’s obviously not just a “guy thing” as American women at competitive levels seem to have the same blood lust as men.  Women may have a lower rate of teeth loss in competitive environments, but they seem to be able to dislodge the teeth of others as well as any man can; and they have the same desire to repair or replace their own teeth if and when any are broken or knocked out.

It would be difficult to account for all the lost teeth throughout the age of sports, even just considering football mishaps, but undeniably there have been many.  And while Dentists have limited options to deal with major dental issues, technological advances have made repairing broken teeth and replacing missing ones commonplace.  In cases where a single tooth is missing a dental implant or partial denture is usually recommended; and bridges and full dentures are often used when your opponent really gets the best of you or vice versa.

Dental Tourism enters the scene as a venue for those with dental needs: bargain seekers, adventurists, people who have had bad experiences with U.S. Dentists, and those who travel for low-cost, hi-end cosmetic dental care.  Costa Rica Dental Implant Specialists are especially revered by North Americans. Interestingly, Costa Rica has developed a very deep bench of Dental Specialists which treat Americans and Canadians daily.  Tens of thousands of dental implants are placed overseas each year, and Americans are starting to learn they can have World Renowned Pros tending to them, as opposed to local dentists who often are more adept at handling fillings and simple dental maintenance.

Here’s a bit of dental advice.  Plan your Super Bowl well regardless if you are watching from home, or at the live event.  If you are a player, be VERY careful.  Wear your mouth guard religiously, and watch out for cheap-shots and late hits.  Keep your game face on and your mouth gently clenched around your mouth guard when the ball is in play.  And for those in the stands and on the fields, keep your eyes open for stray balls, players overshooting their mark, and the latest game time danger – drone traffic.  If you are at home, don’t think you are out of danger.  My experience shows that more people will break their teeth eating chicken wings, undercooked chile, apples, carrots and brittle than will those playing football at the Super Bowl!

If you ever want to talk about the Super Bowl, dental tourism, or your favorite game time treat, please email [email protected].