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Turkey Teeth

The true cost

Coined as 'Turkey teeth,' the rising trend of dental tourism has gained increasing popularity among the British population, largely influenced by social media. Many people are now traveling abroad for veneers, crowns, and implants, in the hope of achieving the perfect smile at a fraction of the cost in the UK. However, patients may be paying with their future oral health in the long run, as evidence emerges of botched procedures, with crucial steps missed and patients having long-lasting pain following their treatment.


Many young people opt to visit cosmetic dentistry clinics in European countries to obtain veneers due to their cheaper costs compared to the UK dental fees, given that cosmetic dentistry is not covered under the subsidised NHS prices. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that many consumers are in fact receiving full dental crowns without their knowledge, as opposed to veneers, thus sacrificing more of their natural tooth structure in the trade for a seemingly perfect smile.


A critical difference between crowns and veneers is the amount of natural tooth structure removed to fit the prosthesis. Veneers are a much more minimally invasive fix, whereby 0.5mm of enamel is shaved away to allow a porcelain cover to fit to the surface of the tooth. Veneers are primarily used to conceal enamel discoloration, variations in shades, and natural tooth shapes. The minimally invasive procedure preserves tooth tissue and can even be potentially reversible in cases where there has been no preparation to the tooth.

Crowns in the UK are vastly indicated for badly broken-down teeth and teeth deemed unrestorable. The preparation for a crown is far more invasive, with a significant amount of tooth structure irreversibly removed. This process sees teeth shaved down, with almost 2mm of the structure being irreversibly removed. Filing down teeth when they are otherwise perfectly clinically healthy can have dire consequences, and many patients returning to England have found themselves needing corrective work to rectify the procedures they underwent abroad. A study conducted by the Irish Dental Association revealed that 75% of those who travelled abroad for dental procedures required corrective work back home.


The harsh reality of this treatment is that it can result in severe infections, long-lasting tooth pain, inflamed gums, exposed nerves, and heightened sensitivity. The destructive process of crown preparations in clinically healthy teeth increases the likelihood of exposing the tooth's pulp as more tooth tissue is removed, making the tooth more susceptible to infection. If the tooth's pulp becomes exposed, a costly and uncomfortable root canal procedure may be necessary. In the long term, these patients are more likely to lose the affected teeth altogether, as irreversible damage has occurred to the teeth.


Another disadvantage of quick-fix dentistry abroad is the lack of follow-up appointments. In the UK, services such as occlusion checks are offered to ensure the bite is correct and that the veneers provide the desired result while lasting for an extended period. In contrast, dental procedures abroad are often expedited, sometimes limited to a single appointment as tourists return home swiftly to resume their daily lives. This can raise the risk of rushed procedures and a lack of follow-up to ensure the prosthetics' longevity. This has seen patients crowns falling off, and leaving their teeth exposed.


In a typical UK dental clinic, the process involves an initial assessment, a dental health check, trial designs, and finally, the fitting of new veneers. Teeth are meticulously assessed for potential issues, including periodontal disease, and bite evaluations are performed to ensure that the prosthetics do not interfere with the occlusion. This comprehensive approach differs significantly from the one-appointment dentistry often observed abroad.


Love Island's Jack Finham underwent the procedure and documented his experience across social media to thousands of followers. He later went on to reveal that in hindsight, he would not have chosen the procedure has he known its intricacies. Influencers are slowly turning to reveal the true costs of fast dentistry abroad, and it can only be hoped that consumers become better informed on the processes performed abroad, and are more well informed before making an irreversible decision for their teeth.


In conclusion, it is imperative for consumers to be well-informed when considering dental procedures, especially when faced with the allure of cheaper veneers, or rather crowns abroad. While the cost savings may initially seem enticing, the potential risks associated with overseas treatments, including inadequate follow-ups, irreversible damage to natural tooth structure, and a lack of comprehensive assessments, should not be overlooked. Opting for dentistry in the UK provides a safer and more comprehensive approach, with qualified professionals who prioritize patients' oral health and long-term well-being. While affordability is a significant consideration, the adage "you get what you pay for" holds true in the realm of dental care. Informed decision-making and prioritizing one's health should always take precedence when seeking dental treatments, ensuring not only a beautiful smile but also lasting oral health.


Written by Isha Parmar

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