Turkey teeth: What is the worrying dental trend as Katie Price warns against 'fake teeth'

Katie Price smiles as she attends the press night performance of
Katie Price explained why she thinks people shouldn't get 'fake teeth' in Turkey. (Getty Images)

Katie Price has warned against getting "fake teeth", after her own experience with having dental work done in Turkey – a trend that has become known as "Turkey teeth".

The former model opened up about her dental work in a new interview in the Guardian, revealing her pearly whites were done in Turkey "for an Instagram post".

"I don’t recommend anyone has fake teeth," she added. When asked why, Price replied: "I can’t eat a chocolate eclair now in case I pull one out."

The star's comments come after a dentist attributed shows such as Love Island and social media for the rising number of young Brits seeking dental treatment abroad.

Dr Jon Hewitt says that the most commonly requested smiles include those such as Love Island’s Molly-Mae Hague or Jack Fincham, with many Brits are jetting off abroad for the treatment.

Read more: Katie Price thinks young women look like clones from too much cosmetic enhancement (Yahoo Entertainment, 2-min read)

According to Turkish provider Dentakay, which is planning to open a London-based consultation centre after it's seen demand for Brits seeking cosmetic dental care in Turkey soar, it expects to fit up to 23,000 crowns in 2023 alone, along with 3,800 implants.

The trend has also taken off on social media, with videos including the term "Turkey teeth" having 31.7 billion views on TikTok as many Brits share their experiences of having the cosmetic procedure done.

However, it doesn’t come without consequences. A 2022 study from the British Dental Association found that 95% of British dentists have examined patients who have travelled abroad for dental treatment, and of these 86% say they have treated cases that have developed complications.

What are ‘Turkey teeth’?

"Turkey teeth" is the term used for people who travel to Turkey for cosmetic dental surgery. The most common treatments are crowns and implants.

Hungary is also a popular destination for this kind of dental work.

Patients who visit these countries for dental treatment are generally seeking brighter, whiter smiles and straighter teeth.

Molly Mae-Hague attends the Pride of Britain Awards 2022
Celebrity smiles like Molly-Mae Hague's are being used as inspiration for Brits seeking straighter, whiter teeth. (Getty Images)

What does a ‘Turkey teeth’ procedure involve and how much does it cost?

One of the most common dental procedures British patients receive in Turkey is having crowns fitted. This involves having your natural teeth filed down to stubs before a tooth cap is glued on top.

Some patients may be promised veneers – which sees the teeth slightly shaved down before thin shells are placed around the teeth – but will actually have crowns fitted instead. If you are only hoping to have veneers, it’s essential that this is fully clarified with the dentist performing the procedure before it begins.

A full set of crowns costs around £3,000 in Turkey compared to £16,000 in the UK, yet there could be further cost implications down the line.

Read more: What are Turkey Teeth? BBC documentary uncovers dangers of dental tourism (Evening Standard, 3-min read)

"If you get crowns from Turkey, they will need re-doing every 10 to 15 years," Dr Hewitt says. “While the initial procedure might be cheap, they can cost from £800 per crown to replace if you get them done in the UK rather than going back to Turkey.

"If someone gets 'Turkey teeth' at 18 they might need four restorative cycles in their life."

What are the potential side effects of 'Turkey teeth'?

According to the Gentle Dental centre, some of the most common complications include severe infections and long-lasting tooth pain, infected gums, exposed nerves, rotting teeth, sensitive teeth that can make eating and talking difficult, and even some crowns that fall off.

Dr Hewitt says long-term damage of cheap dental care can even result in needing dentures later in life.

Dental teeth model on white background
Long-term damage of cheap dental care can even result in needing dentures later in life. (Getty Images)

What does the British Dental Association say about 'Turkey teeth'?

Of its survey of 1,000 dentists, the British Dental Association (BDA) said that two-thirds of respondents said it cost patients at least £500 to repair damage done to their teeth, and half said it had cost patients over £1,000. One in five dentists said this cost exceeded £5,000 with 40% saying the remedial treatment was provided by the NHS.

"Dentists are aware that many people are struggling to access care and may be tempted to go overseas for cut-price treatment," BDA chair Eddie Crouch said.

"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."

NHS advice on cosmetic dentistry

The NHS has issued a checklist urging all people considering treatment abroad to read so that they can make an informed decision.

It says patients should think carefully about their reasons for going, know the warning signs to look out for (lack of information, pressure to make a quick decision, no talk of aftercare), get a second opinion, and look into side effects.

What is the government's advice?

Under the health section on the government's FCDO’s Turkey travel page, it says Brits considering travelling to Turkey for a dental or other cosmetic procedure should carry out their own research as it is "unwise to rely upon private companies that have a financial interest in arranging your medical treatment abroad".

It also recommends referring to the HealthTurkiye portal website as this has a list of medical providers that are approved by the Ministry of Health.

It adds: "Individuals considering travelling for treatment should discuss their plans carefully with their UK doctor, dentist and/or hospital specialist before committing to any procedure abroad."

Woman wearing invisible braces.
Braces or Invisalign could be a good option for those wanting a longer-term solution to straightening their teeth. (Getty Images)

What’s the best way to improve your teeth without invasive treatment?

While some may think that veneers or crowns are the easiest way to get straight, white teeth – there are other procedures you can look into which will be better for your tooth health in the long term.

If you are wanting to straighten your teeth, you can get braces or Invisalign. For whitening, speak to your dentist about whitening treatments or procedures. While these options will cost you money – Invisalign tends to begin at £2,000, while professional teeth whitening can start from £200 – it could still work out cheaper in the long run over quick fix options like crowns or veneers.

Additional reporting by SWNS.

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