Viral “Turkey Teeth” Issue and Dental Tourism in Turkey
Each year, thousands of people around the world pack their suitcases and fly overseas to receive dental care. In this article, we will look at the reasons why dental tourism is booming and try to objectively evaluate its pros and cons.
We will focus on dental tourism in Turkey and the reality behind the viral “Turkey Teeth” phenomenon that has been the topic of heated discussion on the internet in recent years.
Why Do People Go Abroad for Dental Treatments?
Before we go into more detail, it is important to understand what motivates people to travel abroad for dental treatments.
Because of the constantly rising fees for dental treatments in countries where the cost of living is high and difficulty in finding timely appointments, many people postpone going to the dentist to treat their problems. When people cannot access dental care regularly, it often results in them requiring even more expensive and complicated dental treatments later on.
One solution that has been proven beneficial is to travel abroad to get the work done for cheaper in order to save money on pricey dental treatments. Medical and dental tourism, in which individuals travel abroad for less expensive medical or dental care, has been around for decades. However, we can see that there is an increasing interest in this phenomenon in recent years as thousands of people fly to cheaper medical and dental care destinations every month.
There are a few reasons why medical and dental tourists travel to other countries. Of course, the most obvious reason is affordability. Getting less expensive dental treatments is the number one motivation behind the boom in dental tourism. It is known that dental tourists can save up to 50-70% when they choose the right country and the right clinic. How are patients able to save so much money by getting dental treatments abroad? In a place like Turkey where living expenses are far lower than they are in countries like the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, or many European countries, the cost of running a dental clinic is also much lower. This is reflected in the treatment prices as well and Turkish dental clinics are able to offer more reasonable fees.
Another factor behind the popularity of dental tourism is convenience. When you arrange a dental treatment abroad, you will typically be able to travel on the dates that are most suitable for you without queueing for weeks, or months to get an appointment. Most of the time, you will also be offered full dental holiday packages which include all accommodation and transportation expenses as well. Thanks to these services, international patients can receive dental treatments quickly and without hustle.
Availability of treatments is yet another factor. Many people travel overseas because their home country does not offer a certain operation or treatment. Or if the dental treatments are not very good in the home country, people can travel for getting higher quality dental care abroad.
Lastly, many patients schedule dental appointments around vacations. You might have heard about “dental holidays” which is a trend that combines dental treatments and enjoying a vacation overseas. As patients can save up to thousands of euros by getting dental care while traveling to cheaper destinations, they are able to spend money to make their time more enjoyable during their stay abroad. Since dental procedures usually last 1-2 hours and rarely necessitate a long recovery time, patients are free to enjoy themselves after they leave the dental clinic. Because you don’t need to spend most of your vacation avoiding the sun, alcohol, and late nights, it is much simpler to arrange your holiday around a dental treatment. In many instances, you can take a vacation while receiving dental care overseas for less money than the price of the procedure alone in your native country.
What Are the Risks of Going Overseas for Dental Treatments?
While less expensive prices and convenient services sound great, there are also risks associated with getting dental treatments abroad if the patients don’t do enough research beforehand.
Cheap Materials: Some dental clinics may use cheaper and lower-quality materials for dental treatments to save on expenses. Inferior quality dental products such as dental veneers, crowns, or implants tend to be damaged more easily and may need replacement just after a few years.
Language Barrier: One of the biggest problems you can experience abroad is miscommunication due to differences in language. Understanding everything that is going on in the dental clinic is your basic right. If the dental clinic you choose doesn’t provide language services, you may not be able to communicate clearly with your dentist which can lead to many issues. When you cannot communicate clearly, you may not be able to express your needs to your dentist, or your dentist can perform different procedures that you are not aware of.
Multiple Visits: Depending on what kind of dental treatment you are receiving, you may need to travel to your destination country several times. Restorative dental treatments such as dental implants require the bone and gum tissue to heal for several weeks or months before the treatment can be completed.
Complications: Just like any medical procedure, complications can arise after dental treatments. If you experience problems after you have returned to your home country, your only options are to either fly back to your dentist abroad or find an appointment in your home country to fix the issue. Both options can take time and cost money.
In the case of a major complication, it might be difficult to get a refund or take legal action if your dental clinic is located overseas.
There are many dental clinics around the world and in Turkey that are advertising to foreign patients. The rule of thumb is to not believe blindly in the promises of perfect, problem-free, and cheap dental care.
Realistically speaking, every dental treatment procedure has its risks. At CureHoliday, we believe that oral health is directly related to our quality of life and for this reason, we are working with just the dental clinics that we trust to provide world-class dental treatments which drastically lowers the likelihood of experiencing the aforementioned risks.
What Are “Turkey Teeth”? Will My Teeth Be Botched if I Go to a Turkish Dentist?
Due to its convenient location in the Middle of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, Turkey has always attracted many tourists and recently, Turkey has been a popular destination for dental tourists from all corners of the world as well. Thousands of international patients visit Turkish dental clinics each year to receive treatments and the numbers are increasing further thanks to social media influencers who spoke about their experiences getting low-cost dental treatments such as dental veneers.
The problems begin here. Unfortunately, with the increasing number of foreign patients, the stories about bad dental treatments in Turkey have also spread around the internet. The treatment that has since become notorious is now unofficially referred to as “Turkey Teeth”.
You may be wondering what exactly is “Turkey Teeth”. The term first became widespread in social media sites such as TikTok or Instagram, then it went on to become a discussion topic that was even turned into a BBC article. In the viral videos and articles, foreign patients show their teeth that have been filed down to tiny knobs, resembling fish teeth. These individuals talk about how they did not know their teeth would be filed down so much. They go on to explain the painful side effects and their disappointment in Turkish dentistry, some even say that their Turkey Teeth dream turned out to be a nightmare.
After watching these videos about Turkey Teeth, it is only natural that you may feel horrified.
To understand what has gone wrong with these procedures, we must look at what type of dental treatments necessitate “filing down”, in other words, tooth preparation.
Tooth preparation is a necessary step in cosmetic dental treatments such as dental veneers or dental crowns. It entails reducing the size of the natural tooth to make space for the veneer or crown and to remove any dental decay that might cause problems later on. For dental veneers, typically a thin layer of tooth enamel is removed just from the front surface of the tooth. Dental crowns are more invasive in these aspects: they necessitate the removal of dental tissue from all sides of the tooth. Tooth preparation is performed using special tools and requires great attention to detail on the dentist’s part.
Depending on what kind of treatment the patients need, the tooth is prepared until the desired shape and size are achieved. This procedure is irreversible as tooth enamel or dentin does not grow back.
While it is possible to get a single or a few dental veneers and dental crowns for minor corrections, the Turkey Teeth issue is a problem that is associated with multiple veneer or crown treatments. All the foreign patients who have complaints about their treatments traveled to Turkey for a treatment that is known as Hollywood Smile or Smile Makeover. This treatment is a cosmetic dental treatment that aims to correct the appearance of all the teeth that are visible when smiling. Some patients wish to get just their upper teeth done while some people go for both the upper and lower teeth. This required a considerable amount of tooth preparation. When done professionally, Hollywood smile treatments create a bright white and attractive smile just like famous actors and actresses on the big screen.
The viral Turkey Teeth videos show an example of this type of treatment and tooth preparation gone wrong, especially during dental crown treatments. As we have observed, there seem to be two distinct problems;
- Problems arising from miscommunication.
- Over-preparation of teeth.
In the first case, in some of the testimonials by foreign patients, they explain that they did not know how much their natural teeth would be changed for the treatment. Generally, all dental veneers and dental crowns need tooth preparation to some extent (there are some treatments that don’t involve tooth preparation too) so that the dental prosthetics can fit comfortably on top of the natural teeth. However, the difference between tooth preparation for dental veneers and dental crowns is drastic. This is why good communication and honesty on the side of the dental clinic are of great importance. If the patient doesn’t know that they will be given dental crowns instead of dental veneers, they can be shocked by how much their natural teeth are changed. For this reason, all details of the procedure need to be discussed thoroughly before the operation day and the consent of the patient needs to be taken. This is the usual case in all reputable and established dental clinics. If you feel that you are not being informed enough about your treatment and cannot trust the service 100%, you should not go through with the operation at that specific dental clinic so that you are not disappointed later.
The second reason behind Turkey Teeth issue is the over preparation of teeth. Dental veneers and dental crowns are great solutions for various cosmetic and functionality issues. There are basic guidelines that dentists need to follow when preparing teeth prior to the installation of dental veneers or dental crowns. A methodical, planned approach to tooth preparation helps to guarantee that the tooth is properly shaped. However, not all dentists can handle this procedure as competently. If the dentist does a poor job at tooth preparation and removes too much tooth substance, it can undoubtedly lead to tooth sensitivity, discomfort, or pain. Some dentists can also remove more dental tissue than necessary as it does not require as much attention to detail and can create quicker and more drastic results. This is the reason why people end up with tiny teeth or Turkey Teeth. This is why it is important to choose an experienced dentist that understands just how much tooth preparation is needed.
If the patients experience either of these issues during their Hollywood smile makeover treatment, they can be very disappointed. While neither of these problems is unique to Turkey, the term is now known as Turkey Teeth due to the viral nature of the social media posts. When a patient experiences these problems, fixing them can require more money and time. The best thing you can do is to find a trustworthy dental clinic in the first place to prevent these problems from even emerging.
How to Avoid Bad Dental Treatments Abroad? No More Bad “Turkey Teeth”
Typically dental treatments help patients smile more confidently for a long time and are great experiences with minimal discomfort. It is a shame that some people have awful experiences because they are not informed enough or they picked the wrong dental clinic. Here are some tips to help you avoid getting bad dental treatments as a dental tourist.
- Do your own research on dental treatments. Different dental issues require different specialists.
- Look up dental clinics online. Search for photos, reviews, testimonials, etc.
- Find out who your dentist will be and look up their achievements and how long they have been practicing. Learn whether they have any specializations.
- Be sure about which dental treatments you want. Your dentist can recommend you other dental treatments as well after checking the condition of your teeth. Ask any questions you have about the recommendations to your dentist and discuss your options.
- While the most attractive point about dental tourism is affordability, do not sacrifice quality for low costs. Remember that when you pick a reputable clinic, you are paying for the expertise of the dentist, world-class dental products, and great service.
- Don’t be afraid of changing your mind at any point of the treatment if you feel that the service you are getting is not up to standards. You should be comfortable with your dentist and the medical staff.
Can Turkish Dentists and Dental Clinics Be Trusted?
In Turkey, dental training is a five-year program offered at public or private colleges around the nation. Students are required to practice intensely and participate in internships. Graduates who complete their course satisfactorily are awarded a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. They can later continue their education and pursue specializations in fields like prosthodontics or orthodontics.
The Turkish Dental Association requires that all Turkish Dentists Register (TDB). TDB is the body in charge of overseeing, assessing, and furthering dental education in Turkey. Additionally, all dentists in Turkey are required to get a certification from the Turkish Ministry of Health. You may be sure that Turkish dentists are very experienced and skilled because they have all of these credentials.
Another important factor that is important to mention about Turkish dentists is their great amount of experience. Turkey has been a hub for dental tourism for many years. They treat more patients than many European countries combined. As large numbers of both domestic and international patients visit Turkish dental clinics each year, Turkish dentists have the chance to perform a lot of treatments and gain experience. Because of this they can optimize their abilities and increase the success rate of dental treatments.
Of course, not all dentists in Turkey have the same level of skill or expertise. Usually, unqualified dentists are responsible for issues like Turkey Teeth. This is why researching the dentist and the dental clinic is very important.
What Do Turkish Dentists Specialize in?
Like all medical fields, dentistry also has many different branches. Depending on what your dental health problem is you may want to receive dental treatments from a specialist dentist. To ensure you receive the proper care, you should learn more about what types of dentists there are. To help understand the different types of dentists, here’s a basic guide to dentists in Turkey.
General Dentists: This group constitutes the majority of dentists who are actively practicing dental treatments. All graduates with a degree a dental practice can work as general dentists. Family dentists are usually general dentists. Instead of focusing on a specific area, general dentists offer overall dental care. They perform regular check-ups, evaluate dental and gum health, treat cavities, and clean your teeth. Additionally, general dentists are in charge of restorative dental care, which includes providing teeth whitening treatments, restoring chipped, damaged, or missing teeth, and treating tooth rot by replacing it with artificial fillings. General dentists can help with many problems but they will refer you to a specialist dentist depending on your condition.
Orthodontists: Orthodontists are experts at realigning misaligned teeth for both cosmetic and practical reasons. They prescribe personalized oral hardware including braces, clear dental alignment trays like Invisalign, mouthguards, retainers, etc. Seeing an orthodontist may be recommended if you want to fix an overbite, underbite, crossbite, or misaligned teeth.
Endodontists: The pulp is the inner portion of the tooth that lies below the gum line and is shielded by the tooth’s hard enamel and dentin layers. Endodontists concentrate on treating complicated dental issues that mostly affect the tooth pulp. They treat tooth pulp and root tissues using cutting-edge methods. These experts concentrate on treating your tooth pain while preserving your natural tooth. Endodontists specialize in performing root canal treatments.
Periodontists: Periodontists are dental specialists who focus on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum diseases and the surrounding tissues of teeth. They treat conditions like gum infections caused by periodontal disease. They are also experts in gum drafts, root planning, and the placement of dental implants.
Prosthodontists: Prosthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry focusing on the creation of dental prosthetics (artificial teeth) for the replacement of damaged or missing teeth. Dentures, dental implants, crowns, and bridges are some of the most popular prosthodontic procedures. The prosthodontist is also heavily involved in the use of dental implants for tooth replacement. Additionally, prosthodontists with specialized training work with patients who have abnormalities of the head and neck to replace missing facial and jaw components with artificial prosthetics.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons: An oral and maxillofacial surgeon can perform a wide range of surgeries on the entire face including on the mouth, jaw, and face. Accident victims who sustain facial injuries and trauma are treated by oral and maxillofacial surgeons, who also provide reconstructive and dental implant surgery. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons can perform more invasive surgeries. The most common procedure an oral and maxillofacial surgeon does is wisdom tooth extraction.
Pedodontists (Pediatric Dentists): Pedodontists specialize in dental care and treatments for infants, children, and teenagers. They are responsible for monitoring and treating all aspects of oral health care for developing children. They can diagnose, and treat problems with decayed, missing, crowded, or crooked teeth and refer to appropriate specialists when necessary.
What Dental Treatments Are Done in Turkey?
In Turkey, a wide range of regular, restorative, and cosmetic dental treatments are available. Below is the list of the most common treatments that are requested by international patients visiting Turkish dental clinics each year.
- Dental Implants
- Dental Crowns
- Dental Bridges
- Dental Veneers
- Hollywood Smile
- Dental Bonding
- Teeth Whitening
- Root Canal Treatment
- Regular Dental Check-up
- Tooth Extraction
- Bone Grafting
- Sinus Lift
What Are the Advantages of Getting Dental Treatments in Turkey?
Foreign patients who choose to get dental treatments in Turkey can enjoy all the benefits of dental tourism. The main advantages of receiving treatments in Turkey are;
Good Dental Care
When you choose the right dental clinic, you can be confident that you will receive excellent quality dental care from an experienced and well-trained dentist. This is perhaps the principal reason why many people who visit Turkey for dental treatments come back later for the same purpose and recommend it to their family and friends. The popularity of Turkey as a dental holiday destination is in part thanks to this good word of mouth.
Price is the biggest advantage of dental treatment in Turkey. Generally, dental treatments in Turkey are roughly 50-70% less expensive compared to countries such as the UK, the US, Australia, and many European nations. Even in comparison to other popular dental tourism destinations, Turkey still offers some of the best prices worldwide. This is possible because of the low cost of living and the favorable currency exchange rates. People coming from countries with stronger currencies can receive treatment for attractive prices.
Usually, many dental clinics will offer to organize accommodation and transportation as a part of their dental holiday package deals. As everything is taken care of arranging a dental treatment plan abroad can be very easy.
No Waiting Lists
If you have a problem with your oral health, long waits can cause the condition to worsen. In many countries, getting an appointment for dental treatment can take weeks or even months in some cases. As a dental tourist, you will be able to jump the queues and receive treatments quickly. You can virtually get an appointment whenever it is suitable for your schedule.
The opportunity to combine dental treatments with a holiday is one of the biggest tempting points of dental tourism. People travel overseas for dental care to kill two birds with one stone, meaning, they plan to get affordable dental care and enjoy themselves at the same time. After receiving dental treatments, patients can usually comfortably go on with their day. This means they can just savor being in a different country as a regular tourist in their free time. In Turkey, there are reputable dental clinics we are working with in tourist cities such as Istanbul, Izmir, Antalya, Fethiye, and Kusadasi where you can enjoy nature, history, local cuisine, and shopping.
How Long Will I Need to Stay in Turkey?
Exactly how much you will need to stay in Turkey will be determined after you see your dentist for the initial consultation. There are treatments that require only a single dentist visit while other treatments might take from 4 to 7 days to be completed. This means you might need to stay in Turkey for about a week.
Depending on what type of treatment you will receive, we can inform you about roughly how long you will need to stay in Turkey after consulting the dental clinics we are working with.
With the growing popularity of dental tourism in Turkey over the recent years, at CureHoliday, we help and guide an increasing number of international patients to receive affordable dental treatments. If you are interested in getting dental treatments in Turkey, have concerns about Turkey Teeth, or are curious about dental holiday packages, you can contact us directly with your questions through our message lines. We will answer all your questions and help you arrange a treatment plan.