This month, Manrina Rhode, the Aesthetic Dentistry Expert, discusses ‘Turkey teeth’ and the reason why UK cosmetic treatment is more expensive.
In case you managed to miss it, Trishala, a young dentist, created a documentary for the BBC about travel tourism. Specifically, it focuses on UK patients travelling to Turkey for discounted smile makeovers.
She spoke to Jack Fincham from Love Island, a lady who had ceramics in Turkey twice, and two dentists in the UK. One of which was me.
As a known dentist who does a great deal of smile makeovers, she came to see me for a consultation to see what I would suggest for her. After the consultation she shared with me the results of hundreds of online consultations with other dentists in Turkey and the UK.
The results are shocking. At this moment the documentary is still trending on BBC Iplayer so if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a watch.
The news channels picked this story up about ‘Turkey teeth’. Therefore, it got good coverage that most of my patients and friends heard about and it started a conversation.
It also started quite a conversation between dentists on several different forums. Many were shocked by the results shown in the documentary. Others believe the public had every right to get twenty discounted zirconia crowns if the aesthetics improved their quality of life. In addition, there were those who felt the title was offensive to our Turkish counterparts.
I have strong opinions on all these topics. Perhaps it’s not the right place to share them in this blog.
However, it also brought an influx of patients to me looking for ‘Turkey looking teeth’, but without excessive preps. They understood the issue with twenty zirconia crowns and wanted to know their options in the heavily governed and therefore more ethical UK.
I did several interviews this week on various platforms about the pros and cons of treatment abroad. I discussed how we can make these treatments more affordable for patients who are unhappy with their smiles as they are.
Dental tourism itself isn’t a problem. Patients frequently seek me out and come to see me from abroad. It’s discounted, invasive treatments that can leave patients with long term health issues that are more of a concern.
It’s not cheap – and it shouldn’t be
The reality is, completing a beautiful minimally invasive smile makeover using porcelain veneers isn’t cheap. This is because, for the ceramics to look natural and fit well, we use a ceramist who’s able to create beautiful yet hard wearing, thin ceramics which allow treatment to be minimally invasive.
Those ceramics aren’t cheap. Neither should they be. They have spent years mastering their art to be able to create these little shards of art and charge accordingly.
The materials we use that allow us to be minimally invasive but still get brilliant bond strengths aren’t cheap. With the Ivolcar products I use, you can hang a rhino off my veneers and they will not de-bond.
Learning the skills that allow us to be great clinicians and successfully complete what I believe to be the most complex procedure we do in Dentistry aren’t cheap or easy to gain either.
A worldwide problem
I started my veneer course, Designing Smiles, for exactly this reason.
There were far too many UK dentists cutting teeth down to crowns when they could have used minimal prep veneers. Usually, this was because they didn’t know how to prep, cement or design these smiles. In addition, they didn’t have great ceramists to work with the create these shards of art.
The documentary shows UK dentists have a much higher level of ethics than the Turkish clinics contacted. Nevertheless, it’s a problem everywhere.
In conclusion, if you haven’t watched the documentary, watch it. It’s on BBC Iplayer and called Turkey Teeth. I come on after 16 minutes and go through the interesting results from other clinics. I recommend watching the whole show – it’s a great watch.
When patients come to you asking why your cosmetic treatment plan is so much more expensive than twenty crowns in Turkey, explain to them that the long-term cost of a minimally invasive treatment will cost them much less in the long run. This is in both monetary and in biological expense.
Hope you are all enjoying the sun. Adios until next month!
Catch up with previous Aesthetic Dentistry Expert columns:
- Can veneers fix crooked teeth?
- Choosing aesthetic dentistry
- New year, new you
- Restoring a single central incisor
- Broken veneers.
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