Ask the Dentist: Dental tourism look persuasive – but if it looks too good to be true it probably is…

“NEW smile that lasts years, includes temporaries so you can road test the final result to ensure you love it; doesn’t come with hotel rooms, flights, city tours or lifetime guarantees, but does include peace of mind, comfort and you’ve more chance of keeping your teeth until you need to say goodbye to this world.” This is my advert to counterbalance the shiny dental tourism ads that are flooding the internet.

Dental tourism ads look persuasive – you can get things done super-quickly for super-low cost – but if it looks too good to be true it generally is. Not even a humble garlic press will last a lifetime so it’s a big statement to claim that any crowns, bridges or implants that are in continual function, are subjected to high-stress forces while being bathed in all sorts of foods and biological chemicals, will last forever.

My heart goes out to Belfast’s Amanda Turner, whose story about going to Turkey to have her teeth done has been all over the press. She has been left in agony after having 28 crowns fitted. The treatment was done in a couple of days and cost £3,050 including airport transfers and hotel accommodation.

The treatment to fix the situation has been estimated at costing £18,000 and will undoubtedly take a lot longer than the two visits taken to put the crowns in initially.

The style of dentistry that involves cutting teeth down to points, not using temporaries and crowning up to 30 teeth at one time is not taught by the top dentists worldwide – and it is not taught for many good reasons, which Amanda is now suffering from.

There are ways to achieve a better smile that are kind to the teeth and reduce the chances of pain afterwards. For example, there are composite veneers that are bonded straight onto the front of the teeth and will whiten and straighten teeth without the need for aggressively reducing the teeth down.

Composite bonding and bleaching treatment is, in general in the UK, a bit more expensive than ‘Turkey teeth’ in the short-term but the risks involved are way reduced.

Think twice, thrice and then a fourth time before gambling with your teeth, health and mental peace.

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