A viral trend or a dental disaster?

Rafael Benites

Representational image. AFP

‘Turkey Teeth’ is a recent viral trend soaring high on social media. It got all the attention when the hashtag #TurkeyTeeth touched 130 million views on TikTok. It is referred to as a trend in which people are travelling to Turkey for dental procedures at discounted prices. Most people that are travelling are visiting the country with the purpose of beautifying their teeth or getting veneers placed. The trend is made famous by social media influencers like Katie Price and Jack Fincham. While it seems like a good way to get perfectly white teeth and a perfect smile at a fraction of the cost, many people are complaining of complications after the procedure.

The reason why #TurkeyTeeth is in the news

BBC News surveyed 1,000 UK dentists, of which 597 said that they had treated patients who had experienced complications after visiting Turkey for dental work. Most patients flew to Turkey thinking they were getting veneers, and only a tiny bit, like half a millimetre, is shaved off from the tooth front. But often, they get crowns, which requires tooth shaved down to little pegs, or ‘shark teeth’ as the social media influencers call them.

What are Turkey Teeth?

‘Turkey Teeth’ is a neology to describe pearly-white, beautifully shaped-square teeth, which millennials, in particular, are keen to get. It is a dental implant procedure that involves filing the natural tooth down to a stub and fitting customizable crowns and veneers. Getting Turkish teeth has become increasingly popular in the UK, thanks partly to its TikTok fame.

Advantages of the procedure:

  • The procedure allows patients to choose the shape, size, and colour of the caps they wish to wear.
  • The procedure is relatively cheap when compared to other dental implant procedures.
  • Suitable for people above 75 years of age who have left with few teeth.

The downside of the procedure:

Well, the disadvantages of the process outweigh the advantages and include

  • Looks fake and not real
  • Severe complications as 60-70% of teeth are being filed down
  • Nerve damage, Nerve sensitivity
  • Excruciating pain, swelling, redness
  • Difficulty in chewing food
  • Weight loss due to loss of lack of appetite that arises from toothache
  • The pain can culminate into an infection, abscess, and pulpitis
  • Long-term treatment options include dental implants or dentures
  • A root canal has to be done to fix this problem which could add to the expenses later
  • In addition to these complications, veneers or crowns are temporary and must be replaced every 5-15 years, which could be very expensive

Before getting veneers or crowns, one should do a lot of research. One should follow this rule regardless of the place/ country they are getting their dental treatment done. Before getting a dental procedure done, it is always essential to ensure that the veneers, implants, or crowns are in good condition. Care should be taken to prevent any infection. Here are a few things that should always keep in mind:

  • Ask the dentist to show how to demonstrate how to clean the new dental veneers/crowns/implants with floss, little brushes, water flossers, and other essential products.
  • Get regular appointments twice a year or every three months to see a Dental Hygienist/Therapist who can clean the areas that are difficult to reach
  • Maintaining and keeping veneers/crowns is crucial for cosmetic work to last long
  • Make sure to discuss all options, and take time to think it through. Our teeth have to last us till we are 99, and once the tooth is shaved off, it can’t be undone.

There are many other options that are available that can help in keeping teeth healthier, perfectly straight, and shiny white. It is advisable to not give into fads and look at a long-term perspective. Additionally, one should consult with an experienced dentist before opting for any cosmetic dental procedure.

The author is founder and chairperson, MyDentalPlan. Views are personal.

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