Turkey teeth are the new social media trend that everyone seems to be jumping on. But what are they and why are they dangerous to your dental health?
If you are considering going abroad to have your teeth done, please do your research and at least read all of this blog post so you know what you’re walking into.
Cosmetic tourism is not a new thing. It’s been around for quite a while. It’s where you go on a holiday to have some sort of cosmetic procedure carried out, and you get to recover poolside in soome tropical climate. Usually these ‘holidays’ are cheaper than getting the work done in the UK, and includes everything from flights, transfers, hotel stays, food and drink, and everything that the actual cosmetic procedure requires. You can go for anything from having a rhinoplasty (nose job) to having your boobs done, or the newest trend, your teeth.
Turkey Teeth is the nickname for the newest dental tourism trend that’s sweeping social media. You’ve probably heard the term once or twice by now. Tiktok is full of yound 20 somethings going out to turkey and ‘braving the shave’ to achieve a ‘perfect hollywood smile’. But at what cost?
The first thing that worries us about this trend is that in most cases we’ve seen online, patients seem to think they are getting veneers. Now veneers and crowns are prepared very differently.
First, let me explain the anatomy of a tooth. Your tooth is made up of the enamel layer, which is the hard, white surface you see when you look at a tooth. It’s thin though, which is why it’s so suseptible to decay.
The next layer is the dentine layer. This layer isn’t anywhere near as tough as enamel, infact it’s quite soft. It’s usually when decay hits this area that you start getting pain, as although it’s thicker than enamel, it encases the tooth pulp, which is the nerve of the tooth. This is what gets inflammed and causes toothache.
For a veneer prep, we take a very tiny amount of tissue off the top surface of the tooth, which gives enough room for a very thin ‘veneer’ of lab made material to be fitted on top. This allows us to achieve the look the patient wants, changing the shape, size and colour of the tooth with minimal damage to the tooth underneath.
THIS IS NOT A VENEER PREP. All of these images below which I have taken off tiktok are images of crown preparations.
Crown preparations take away ALL OF THE ENAMEL LAYER. These spikes may look funny but what this shows is that the dentist has left just enough dentine to cover the pulp of the tooth.
I’ve seen in a few of these videos that because of the lack of tooth tissue now protecting the pulp, the dentist has decided to carry out a root canal treatment. They do this because they know there won’t be enough tissue to protect the pulp from hot and cold food, which can anger the pulp, inflame it and cause pain and discomfort. Honestly, this is just so scary on anyone so young.
Root canals should not be carried out on healthy teeth. They are used as a last resort to increase the longevity of the tooth. When you have a root canal, we are basically killing the tooth off, and leaving the tooth part as a shell. It makes the tooth much more suseptible to breaking, as it makes it weak. This is why most of the time, after we have done a root canal, we crown the tooth to protect it. But even then, we don’t give massive estimates on the life of the tooth as it may break at any time.
So the fact that these patients are reporting having as many as 18 root canals in one day is seriously alarming. A root canal done properly should take between 2 and 3 hours, and may be (not always) carried out over 2 seperate sittings on 2 seperate days. 18 in one day tells me that they aren’t being done properly. Oening up a root canal needlessly can cause infection to get into the root canal, and cause pain and discomfort and for that infection to grow around the root. IF YOU HAVE ALREADY HAD A ROOT CANAL, the next step is extraction.
I cannot stress this enough: CROWN PREPARATIONS AND ROOT CANALS ARE THE LAST RESORT TO SAVE A DYING TOOTH. They should absolutely not be carried out on a healthy tooth, just to make it look nice.
So say you do go ahead with this procedure, your oral hygiene routine will need to be absolutely perfect, as the gum tissue around these restorations will receed if you do not keep them perfectly clean. Any bit of food getting stuck between these crowns or in your gum will cause massive problems.
And for as long as they last, you will need to be replacing these every few years, that is if the tooth underneath survives. Everytime we prep for a crown, we need to take a little bit more tooth tissue away to enable to crown to fit and stick onto the tooth. The amount of tooth left by these dentists is alarmingly low, and if you can’t have anything put back on the ‘spike’, then the spike will have to come out and you will need a denture or a dental implant. You may also break one of these crowns when eating, as once the porcelain has chipped off a crown, you cannot repair it and the whole crown must be replaced.
The only option if any of these restorations goes wrong is to have the root and the crown removed. As I said above, then you will need to be thinking of having a bridge, a denture or a dental implant, which will cost even more money.
I think the most alarming thing about this is that in most cases we have seen, the patient could have easily have had their smile sorted to the same level with orthodontics such as invisalign, and a bit of tooth whitening. But it seems that they lure of a ‘cheap cosmetic holiday’ has proven too much for some and they’ve gone ahead with this barbaric treatment.
We’re not saying all dentists abroad are like this. I have seen some where they have actually done veneers or composite bonding and the result has been very nice, but most people are definitely being either mis-sold on what they are actually having done, or are just not aware of the damage that is being done underneath.
After all, you can have a stunning 10 bedroom house with 5 ensuites, a games room and a swimming pool, but if the foundations are poor, then your house isn’t going to last very long.
Please consider all the options before going abroad for dental work. Dentists often aren’t governed like we are and don’t have so many rules and regulations and policies to follow, so much of the time they are able to do whatever they want to your mouth. But alot of the time, it’s about them making money and not the welfare and best interests of the patients.
Quite often, all a patient needs is some tooth whitening. Or if the shape of the tooth needs to be changed, we can do composite bonding, which means we put composite on top of the natural tooth, preserving it.
Or if you’ve got crowing of the teeth, then we could look at some orthodontics.
Please feel free to send this to anyone who may be considering turkey teeth, and get them to think twice! And if you do have any questions, please drop us a message.Back to Blog