If you’re a fan of "Love Island," you’ve likely seen Jack Fincham’s new smile thanks to his recent cosmetic dental procedure. The reality star flew to Turkey to give his teeth a super white and super square look.
This trend, called “Turkey Teeth” is growing rapidly on TikTok. While it may conjure up an image of a turkey smiling with tons of teeth (just us?), Turkey Teeth actually refers to people flying abroad for this treatment. But how safe is it? Can it cause long-term damage to your teeth? We spoke to a few dentists to find out more.
What is Turkey Teeth?
Turkey Teeth is a term that has become popular among patients who are willing to travel to Turkey to get lower-cost dental treatment.
First, the reason that dentistry is at a higher cost in the Western world, especially in the United States, is liability, Sargon Lazarof, DDS explains. Every dentist in the United States is liable for the quality and the material they use in patients' mouths. Take away that liability, and dentists in the U.S. can certainly compete and even beat any prices that countries such as Turkey may offer.
View the original article to see embedded media.
Why Dentists Don't Recommend Turkey Teeth
Although the cost may be lower, the materials that are used can be toxic and unsafe, according to Dr. Lazarus. And there are a lot of potential complications: If a procedure is not done properly, it can cause tooth decay, gum inflammation, excessive pain, and in some cases, people have been given crowns instead of veneers.
"Crowns require significantly filing down your teeth to the point that they resemble shark teeth in order to place the pearly white caps," Dr. Victoria Veytsman DDS, explains. "This is not the case with veneers, but some patients are being misinformed overseas while receiving the Turkey Teeth treatments. For these reasons, I strongly recommend against the Turkey Teeth trend, and would advise seeing a specialized dentist before considering veneers or crowns."
And when it comes to actually giving a patient a filling, a crown or a veneer, the accuracy of these procedures is what prevents damage to the gums, bone and nerves of teeth.
When these procedures are performed, the accuracy of the procedure and fit of fillings and veneers is measured in microns and only seen under high magnification, Dr. Lazarof states.
If you take away a millimeter of extra tooth material or don't have accuracy in the fitting of these procedures, it can result in nerve and bone damage that is often seen months and years after the procedure is done. When placing dental implants, the accuracy of the placement is extremely important. If this is not performed properly, you can cause immediate nerve damage and long-term bone and gum problems.
It's worth noting that even in the U.S., there are physicians and dentists who don’t stick to these rules and cut corners, but they are liable for any damage caused by them, Dr. Lazarof adds. There are also well-trained dentists that perform higher-end dentistry in other countries (like Turkey), but those dentists are more likely to be charging higher prices more in line with the western world.
“I always say ‘I can’t afford to buy cheap stuff’ since in the long run, they always cost more,” says Dr. Lazarof.
Costly Follow-Up Treatment for Turkey Teeth
You may think you’re getting a deal, but you aren’t: When it comes to your health, quality matters.
Technically, crowning and/or veneering teeth for purely cosmetic reasons is a 'bad idea' because it is invasive, medically unnecessary, and it obligates you to a lifetime of follow-up treatment. This treatment is often quite costly, Jordan Weber, DDS, explains. “However, as with any cosmetic procedure, the rewards may outweigh the risks, especially for anyone who is self-conscious about their appearance.”
"Turkey Teeth" present a risk to a patient because he or she will likely be unable to return to the same dentist for follow-up treatment. If you travel to a foreign country for dental work and then have issues upon returning home, you will likely have to pay out-of-pocket for all follow-up treatment.
It's also important to understand that veneers generally don't last for a lifetime. Instead, it is common to need to re-cement and/or replace veneers periodically, oftentimes, even within the first five to ten years. So, before trying Turkey Teeth, make sure you are budgeting for a lifetime of follow-up treatment, Dr. Weber adds.
Can You Get Similar Results from Other Treatment Types?
Depending on the issue you want to correct, there are other options to improve the appearance of your smile.
For crooked teeth, orthodontics is generally the safer, cheaper and better treatment option. For stained and esthetically-compromised teeth, whitening ("bleaching") is a safer, cheaper and better option, Dr. Weber states.
For anyone that wants the full movie star smile makeover, consider completing this treatment with a local dentist that will be available for any necessary follow-up treatment. Although the upfront fees will be higher, follow-up treatment will be far less expensive, and the risk of damage to your teeth should be far lower, Dr. Weber explains.