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What you need to know before getting 'Turkey teeth'

The Problem with ‘Turkey Teeth’

Social media is full of stories about ‘Turkey Teeth’. The phrase refers to the trend being followed by thousands of people who are saving money on cosmetic dental procedures by travelling to Turkey for treatments.

For some patients, the experience has been a good one. But many others have not been so fortunate. It’s important to point out that most Turkish dentist clinics are ethical and provide appropriate treatments; however, many others are not and are doing inappropriate and unnecessarily invasive treatments that have lifelong consequences for each patient. 

The issues with unethical Turkish dentists

So while some ‘Turkey Teeth’ patients have been delighted with their results, others have taken to TikTok to share their horror stories. Many patients wanting veneers or straighter, whiter teeth have been given dental crowns on every single tooth instead, without being given any information about the treatment or asked for informed consent. A dental crown is an invasive procedure where the dentist removes 60-70% of the natural tooth – most of which is healthy tissue – in order to create a peg on which to attach the crown. In many cases, a crown is not the most appropriate treatment. Many patients who have been given crowns unnecessarily have subsequently suffered serious complications, for example, intense, long-lasting pain and abscesses which will often require root canal treatments. In the longer term, patients are likely to lose the affected teeth. 

Eddie Crouch, chairman of the British Dental Association (BDA), told the BBC: “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.”

Do your research 

The issues were explored in the BBC documentary Turkey Teeth: Bargain Smiles or Big Mistake? The documentary highlighted the methods by which Turkish clinics persuade people to sign up for treatments they don’t need, and filmmakers also spoke to patients who have had happy outcomes and others who have had unhappy outcomes. If you’re contemplating visiting Turkey to get cosmetic dentistry, please watch this documentary before making a decision. 

Professor Damien Walmsley, writing on the BDA website about dental tourism, warned: “That treatment advertised overseas might seem cheaper, even if you factor in travel costs, but what value do you put on safe treatment, and your health? We hear time and again of patients who have gone abroad for dental treatment, but then face issues with continuity of care when they come back. If things go wrong, you need to know there are safety nets in place and that problems will get sorted, without facing another bill. My advice is: don’t gamble with your teeth or your health.”

Affordable smile makeovers in the UK 

Be aware that there are alternatives to ‘Turkey Teeth’ that don’t involve such risks, and you certainly don’t need to travel abroad for such an invasive procedure just to get a winning smile. Far from it in fact – and UK cosmetic dental treatments are safer because dentists registered in the UK are subject to more rigorous regulation by the BDA.

Our celebrity dentist Dr Richard has combined forces with Diamond Whites Aligners to offer invisible aligners that will give you straighter, whiter teeth at an affordable cost. With a home impression kit, treatment can be carried out entirely at home. You will get full support from your dental team, who will monitor your progress throughout the process. And if there’s a problem or you’d prefer to see a dentist in person, there are 60 dental clinics specialising in DW Aligners nationwide, including the Dr Richard Clinic near Harley Street in London. It’s a high-quality, low-risk treatment available from just £1,500.