Dentists warn of 'Turkey teeth' dangers as thousands of Brits jet off in search of perfect smile

Video report by ITV Granada Reports journalist Rachel Townsend.

The rising social media 'Turkey teeth' trend has led to thousands of Brits jetting off abroad in search of the perfect, pearly-white smile.

But experts across the UK are warning of the dangers invasive oral surgery can have, with many dentists treating patients with serious complications.

In a recent report by the British Dentist Association, 86% of dentists surveyed in the UK reported that they treated cases that developed problems following treatment abroad

The #TurkeyTeeth hashtag on Twitter has almost 200 million views. Credit: TikTok

Dr Kailesh Solanki, a dentist in Manchester, said in most cases patients are promised a set of veneers, which are thin shells placed around teeth that are slightly shaved down.

But what they almost always receive are more invasive crowns, which involves the natural tooth being filed down to fangs or stubs, before a tooth cap is glued on top.

Dr Solanki said: "Around 20% of them [crowns] are going to die over five years.

"The nerves of those teeth are going to die, they're going to need root canal treatment. The life-time guarantees don't exist so they come to us."

Dr Kailesh Solanki shows the damage so-called Turkey teeth can have on someone's mouth. Credit: ITV News

The surgery costs around £2,000 in Turkey, compared to up to £20,000 in the UK. It is proving difficult for dentists to deter people away from travelling abroad for their teeth.

But why is cosmetic dental work so much cheaper abroad? Dr Solanki says: "Overheads in the UK are much higher.

"We provide porcelain work and ceramic work to a much higher standard and there's a lot of material cost."

He went on to say: "We are indemnified. We are protecting our patients. We go through lots of education to get to that point and we're governed.

"You've got a lot of clinicians now saying 'I will not touch someone who has had their teeth done abroad.'"

Katie Price documented her dental journey on Youtube. Credit: Katie Price / Youtube

The popular trend is all social media sites such as TikTok, which has a hashtag that has reached more than 130 million views.

Several reality TV influencers, including Love Islands Jack Fincham and Katie Price, have both went under the knife in Turkey.

Price reportedly needed emergency surgery after two of her teeth fell out.

Jack Griffith went to Turkey for veneers. Credit: TikTok

Jamie Griffith, from Preston, travelled to Turkey five weeks ago for veneers and since then almost 20 million people have seen his new smile on TikTok.

He documented his journey and says he is happy with the end result - but it took a lot of research.

"I don't have your stereotypical Turkey teeth, where everybody sees the little shark stumpy teeth and your natural teeth shaved down. I understand how bad they are. I have veneers."

The trend is spreading beyond Turkey, with places such as Thailand and Goa seeing an increase in British customers yearning for straight, white teeth.

Credit: PA images

The NHS advises people to think carefully before booking any treatment abroad, and issues a list of warning signs.

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

"Patients should be aware of the risks and alternatives to the treatment desired, and get advice on what they should do in the event of problems occurring when they return."We strongly advise people considering this to check a dentist's qualifications and experience and whether they are insured if things go wrong." 

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