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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 travel to Turkey for cheap cosmetic dental procedures because they think they’re getting a bargain.

For some patients, the experience has been a good one. But for many others, the harsh reality is very different… sometimes with dire consequences. It’s important to point out that many 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 the patient.

Why do people go to Turkey to get dental veneers?

Let’s be honest here, it’s a combination of cheaper dental treatment and the ‘lure of a quick fix’. People think that after a week or two in Turkey, combining a holiday with the treatment, they’ll return to the UK with a perfect smile and a bit of a tan too. But the reality for a significant minority of these cosmetic tourists is that they return home in agony and the prospect of years of pain and expense to repair the damage done. This means the total cost of your new smile is significantly more than if you’d have gone to a British dental clinic in the first place.

Then there’s the added frustration of having nowhere to turn to – in Turkey there’s no trade body like the British Dental Association (BDA) to ensure high standards and ethical practices. And as an additional kick in the teeth, many UK dentists won’t touch patients who are having problems as a result of botched dental work.

The dangers of medical tourism

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 dental 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 your natural teeth in order to create a peg on which to attach the crown – in the case of cosmetic treatments, this aggressive tooth reduction means you lose perfectly healthy tissue. Therefore in many cases, a crown is not an appropriate dental procedure. 

Many patients who have had Turkey Teeth have suffered complications, such as sensitive teeth, the crowns or veneers falling out, infected gums, and sometimes even intense, long-lasting pain.

Hygiene has also been a problem for those who’ve had cheap cosmetic dentistry abroad. Many people have subsequently suffered with severe infections and abscesses which will often require root canal treatments. In the longer term, these patients are more likely to lose the affected teeth altogether.

Do your research

The problems caused by Turkey Teeth 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 cosmetic procedures they don’t even 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.”

Is it worth going to Turkey to get teeth done?

Getting dental cosmetic treatment abroad is a big risk and like all UK dentists, we would caution against travelling abroad, especially if your motivation is to save money. The treatment may sound cheap, but if something goes wrong, the costs are extremely high… and last a lifetime. The price you subsequently have to pay as a result of poor treatment goes a lot further than just the money you’ll need for remedial work – it involves pain, infection, the possibility of losing your teeth altogether, and the additional treatments that will be needed in future years that would not otherwise have been necessary.

An additional consideration to make before you have any kind of cosmetic dental work is time. Many dental treatments need to factor healing time as part of the dental treatment. This is especially the case with dental implants – if you don’t allow the jaw to heal between some of the treatment stages, you risk losing the dental implant altogether. This is something that cannot be done with just one visit.

Eddie Crouch, chairman of the 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.”

The Dr Richard dental clinic WILL treat Turkey Teeth

Unfortunately, many UK dental professionals will not treat Turkey Teeth because of the complexity of many of the procedures. Many people think the NHS will help if something goes wrong, but this is not the case. Although the NHS “will provide any clinically necessary treatment needed to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy and free of pain”, this does not include repairing the damage done by a botched cosmetic treatment.

The good news is that the dentists at the Dr Richard Clinic will treat Turkey Teeth. In addition, we are able to offer payment options and financing to help you pay for the treatment. We also provide emergency treatments such as lost crowns or veneers, abscesses and toothache. If you would like to talk to us about the way forward, click here to book a free consultation. We will discuss your problems, talk about recommended treatment, and tell you about our financing options.

Before you book your flight, investigate affordable smile makeovers in the UK 

If you haven’t had your Turkey Teeth treatment yet, please be aware that there are alternatives that don’t involve such risks. You certainly don’t need to travel abroad for an invasive procedure just to get a winning smile at a price you think you can afford. The main consideration is that UK cosmetic dental treatments are a lot safer because dentists registered in the UK are subject to more rigorous regulation by the BDA. 

British dentists will never do unnecessary treatments, will not hurry treatment, and will always be available and accessible for follow up advice and treatment. And that could save you a lot of money in the long run. 

There are plenty of ways of achieving a beautiful smile without the need for invasive treatment, and we will always discuss your treatment plan so you make an informed choice about your teeth. And with 0% financing available, your brand new smile can be much more affordable than you’d think. 

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 in the Harley Street area of London. It’s a high-quality, low-risk treatment available from just £1,500, but will still give you the social media smile you’ve always wanted.