You’ve seen the smiles on TikTok or the pages of fashion magazines — “Turkey Teeth” are everywhere.
With attractive prices on offer, travelling overseas for dental treatment is in. But are the smiles all they seem? Is dental tourism actually as cost-effective as social media influencers make out? And, most importantly, is receiving treatment overseas safe?
Before you book a treatment with a dental practice overseas, it’s important you understand the risks and challenges you may face.
In this guide, we’ll explore dental tourism and discuss everything you need to know about the industry.
What Is Dental Tourism?
Dental tourism refers to the growing trend of patients travelling overseas for cosmetic dentistry treatments. The concept has existed for nearly two decades, but overseas dental treatments have become especially popular in recent years.
Popular treatments performed overseas include veneers and dental implants.
Why Has Overseas Dental Treatment Become So Popular?
Several factors are driving the dental tourism trend:
- Availability and accessibility of budget flights
- The low treatment costs offered by overseas practices
- The growing popularity of cosmetic treatments in general
- An increase in social media influencers promoting treatments
- Greater awareness of dental tourism through TV and other media
The combination of these factors has created a perfect storm which dentists overseas are keen to cash in on. To achieve this, they use targeted marketing to advertise their services.
Does Dental Tourism Actually Save You Money?
Whether you’re receiving your cosmetic treatment in the UK or overseas, the cost is always a factor you must consider. On paper, overseas dentists do charge less for their services. Most practices overseas will operate with much lower overheads, such as staffing and premises costs.
But the price of your procedure isn’t the entire cost associated with treatment abroad. You will also need to include flights, transfers, accommodation, food and drinks, and insurance.
Some treatments will involve repeat visits. This means you must make the trip on more than one occasion.
During your trip, you may have little time for sightseeing or relaxing, and any free time may be spent recovering from your dental procedure. You should not consider visiting another country for dental treatments as a holiday.
Many patients who have received dental treatments overseas experience complications or need further care when they return to the UK. This could mean additional costs.
What Should You Know If You’re Considering Getting “Turkey Teeth”?
One of the first things you should consider is how the dental industry is regulated in the country you plan to visit for treatment. In the UK, the General Dental Council (GDC) regulates all dental professionals. Not only do they set the standards UK dentists have to meet, they also enforce them. Dentists failing to meet the high UK dental standards can face repercussions.
Not every country has a regulator like the GDC, and legal systems will differ. In some countries, it may be difficult to take a dentist to task when things go wrong. And things can go wrong.
Alongside this, you should also remember that before any treatment, you will need a thorough assessment. No dentist should perform a procedure like implant or veneer placement without examining your teeth or taking scans and X-rays. Additionally, you should also consider the potential language barriers you may encounter.
What are the Dangers of Dental Tourism?
Overseas dental treatments don’t always go wrong, but UK dentists often treat patients who have experienced problems. These issues could include infections and failed veneers or implants.
One issue that’s often reported is how some overseas dentists place veneers. Dental veneers are thin porcelain shells which cover the fronts and sides of your teeth. Before placing veneers, dentists must remove a thin layer of enamel so the tooth doesn’t become too large. Many dentists overseas use crowns instead of veneers.
Crowns are typically reserved for repairing damaged teeth. When used instead of veneers, the dentist will often shave healthy teeth into small points instead of removing the small amount needed for veneers. This severely compromises the health of the teeth, increasing the risk of infection. The removed portion of your teeth can never be brought back.
Book Your Dental Consultation
Before you book your appointment with an overseas dentist, talk to a professional closer to home. We want you to make an informed decision about your dental care. Ultimately, you may save some money, but what will the real cost be?
Call us today to schedule your consultation.