The president of the Irish Dental Association has warned people to do “proper research” before travelling abroad for treatments – after a patient lost all her teeth following a procedure in Turkey.
r Caroline Robins said social media has played a significant role in people wanting to have their teeth done abroad but she advised that overtreatment can lead to serious issues.
The Irish Independent spoke to women who are now being quoted up to €25,000 to repair work done abroad.
In some cases, they were made sign disclaimers stating they would not post negative reviews about the companies online or seek to have corrective surgeries done for free.
Between 150,000 and 250,000 people flock to Turkey from other countries every year to have dental work done, according to the Turkish Dental Association.
However, it has warned that some rogue operators in the country are using cheap materials which may compromise the quality of treatment.
Dr Robins has seen both good and bad work done in clinics abroad.
To keep costs down, some places in Turkey will fuse four crowns together
Recently, she treated a patient who incurred problems after having 28 crowns fitted.
“I’m 27 years a dentist and I would struggle to think of any of my patients who would need all their teeth crowned,” she said.
“They ended up having to be taken out and she lost all her teeth. Her teeth weren’t strong enough to get the work that she got done.”
She added that a common problem with the treatments abroad is “cost-cutting”.
“For example, if I did four crowns in the front, I would do four individual crowns so they can hygienically still floss and clean between their teeth.
“To keep costs down, some places in Turkey will fuse four crowns together. Or there might be two fused together, so you can’t floss or clean underneath. It becomes quite unhygienic.”
The trend is growing so much that sponsored advertisements for the dental works abroad now regularly appear on Instagram and Facebook.
Dr Robins, who runs Kiwi Dental in Co Carlow, urged people to consult with their own dentist in advance to see if the “foundations are healthy”.
The number of girls in their early 20s coming in who want them all bright white, all one length and yet they’re already smiling with beautiful teeth. Sometimes I despair
She warned that while Hollywood smiles may look good in photos, in later years the work can cause problems.
“I can understand how it seems cheaper to go over there but it’s hard to compare,” Dr Robins said.
“We arrive there with our euros and it buys a whole lot more. I was looking up online the average rate they pay nurses, and it’s less than half what I pay my nurse.
“If I worked in Turkey, my crowns would probably cost a lot less too as that’s relevant to the economy.
“I wouldn’t tarnish every single clinic overseas with the same brush, though. I have seen nice work come back, and I’ve seen absolutely terrible work.”
Another big issue she is seeing on the ground is young women wanting to have significant work done when their teeth are in good condition. “People often don’t understand what they’re getting into. Once you cut a tooth, it doesn’t grow back. A bad haircut grows back, a bone will heal, but it’s not the same with teeth,” she said.
“The number of girls in their early 20s coming in who want them all bright white, all one length and yet they’re already smiling with beautiful teeth. Sometimes I despair.”