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Is “Turkey Teeth” a good idea?

7 March 2023

With the cost of living soaring and energy prices on the rise, it is no wonder many people in the U.K are embracing dental tourism, travelling to countries such as Turkey for their dental treatment. Whilst there might appear to be numerous benefits to seeking certain treatments like veneers or dental implants overseas, it’s essential to consider the potential disadvantages too as many are returning to face unexpected complications. This trend has seen #TurkeyTeeth reach more than 130 million views on social media.

Why might you choose to have your teeth done abroad?

The idea of having your teeth done abroad is a seductive one. Not only can you get treatment such as veneers and implants for cheaper than at a private dentist here in the U.K, but you can also combine this with a holiday too. Social media has also influenced people to travel for dental care; many celebrities and influencers post the smile transformations they’ve undergone abroad, and naturally, people wish to emulate this. However, it’s most often the advantageous side of this that tends to make it onto your news feed, rather than the genuine dangers that this can pose.

A recent story

As the BBC reported, one woman flew to Turkey for 26 veneers to improve her smile for her son’s wedding. Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that cover the front of your teeth; which can be ideal for concealing stained, chipped or crooked teeth or for reducing the gaps between your teeth. However, although less invasive than cutting down teeth for crowns, veneers also require grinding down or removing part of the tooth, including some enamel, to hold the veneer in place. A patient cannot return to their natural teeth after veneer placement; so having 26 veneers on potentially healthy teeth is quite a destructive approach to achieving a better smile.

When this woman returned home she discovered she had been given crowns, where most of her healthy teeth had been filed down to stumps, and crowns made to give a very white and straight smile. She had not given her informed consent for such a destructive treatment to her healthy teeth, and has faced ongoing pain and infection, needing root canal treatment to try and save some of the damaged teeth. However the only long-term options include dental implants or dentures. She had also signed a disclaimer in Turkey explaining there was no guarantee or follow up after treatment completion.

Eddie Crouch, chairman of the British Dental Association, warns “Patients need to provide informed consent for any treatment they have and be wary of a hard sell, as the reality is rarely as simple as it appears on Instagram. Sadly, many UK dentists are now picking up the pieces when things go wrong. We strongly advise people considering this to check a dentist’s qualifications and experience and whether they are insured if things go wrong.”

What happens if something goes wrong?

From the patients that have attended Cheltenham and Cotswold Dental following dental tourism there has been a common theme of continual pain, swelling, bleeding gums, infection, exposed nerves, jaw pain & an inability to chew. As there is no possibility of returning to your clinic in Turkey, you would have to seek advice at a private UK clinic.

What will happen if I am in pain?

Unfortunately, many dentists in the UK would not touch the recently completed work as it can be very unclear what has been completed beneath the zirconia crowns. These are often ‘splinted’ together which adds to the difficulties. In normal circumstances these cases would require a detailed pre-assessment in person, preparation work, provisional crowns for a month at least before the final construction. In Turkey, the likelihood is that you will meet the clinician on attendance at the clinic and everything will be completed within two days.

How does cost compare?

Dental treatment in Turkey can be up to 70% cheaper due to the nature of the materials used, clinician qualifications, the make of implants inserted and the greater reduction in chairside time and follow up. However, patients must be aware that if reparative work is needed in the following months/years there is likelihood that this maintenance will be ongoing & continue for many years and the costs can rise significantly.

If you have any concerns following treatment abroad or are considering going abroad to complete cosmetic treatment, please contact us at Cheltenham & Cotswold Dental, on 01242 269 498 or via our form, so that we can help you make an informed decision by discussing some of the advantages & disadvantages of the various treatment options.

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