A woman has revealed how she nearly had £6,000 worth of unnecessary dental work done in Turkey before a concerned UK dentist stepped in.
Ellie Webster, 30, from Berkshire, was born with a genetic condition that meant that she was born without any adult eye teeth.
Consequently, after losing her milk teeth she was left with obvious gaps where new teeth failed to grow.
When she was about 13 or 14 an NHS orthodontist did a fantastic job of closing the gaps and filing the fang teeth down so that they looked like the missing eye teeth.
However, Ellie, who works as chief stewardess on a superyacht, remained extremely self-conscious about her teeth and avoided showing them in photographs or smiling.
She was close to spending a total of £6,000 to have extreme dental work in Turkey, after a friend recommended it.
When she was 13 or 14 Ellie, from Berkshire, had work done to close the gaps between her teeth, but she was never happy and wanted to the perfect smile for her wedding day. She is pictured here on her wedding day, post dental work
Ellie Webster, 30, was born a genetic condition that meant that she was born without any adult eye teeth. She is pictured here, with her now-husband, before having ultra thin porcelain veneers fitted
The clinic in Turkey quickly sent back a suggested treatment plan, which allowed Ellie to choose different veneer options at varying price points.
The Turkish dentist recommended that she have 16 ‘veneers’ done, with eight on the top and eight on the bottom.
Keen to have the best smile for her wedding day, Ellie accepted his advice and spent £4000 on the veneers and approximately £2000 on flights and accommodation.
Her father and step-mother agreed to accompany her to Turkey in case she needed support whilst there.
Ellie was ready to have expensive cosmetic dental work done in Turkey, before UK-based dentist, Dr Sam Jethwa pleaded with her not to go
Ellie said: ‘I know they weren’t keen on me going to Turkey for treatment, but they knew how much I hated my teeth and how important it was for me to be able to smile on my wedding day.’
However, as the trip got closer Ellie started to wonder if she had made the right decision.
She explained: ‘Having eight lower teeth ground down for veneers when it was only the ones at the top that I didn’t like seemed a bit extreme.’
So instead she began researching for UK alternatives and came across The Vice President of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and leading cosmetic dentist, Dr Sam Jethwa.
The Turkish dentist recommended that Ellie have 16 ‘veneers’ done, with eight on the top and eight on the bottom. She accepted his advice and spent £4000 on the veneers and approximately £2000 on flights and accommodation
Ellie’s step-mother and father were going to join her in Turkey whilst she had the treatment done. But after speaking with Dr Sam she decided against the veneers in Turkey and put the money towards having the work done in the UK instead
During a consultation Dr Sam Jethwa pleaded with Ellie not to go to Turkey for dental work that was not only unnecessary but also putting herself at huge risk.
He was extremely concerned that the work the Turkish dentist had recommend wasn’t actually what they were telling Ellie.
The dentist is Turkey had advised that Ellie have ‘veneer’s but when she explained the process to Dr Sam, he quickly pointed out that these were in fact crowns.
The Turkish dentist described the treatment as wrapping a veneer around the whole tooth claiming ‘they are stronger and better for the bite’.
Dr Sam said that was ‘basically a cheeky way of describing a crown but calling it a veneer.’
Also they wanted to place a lot of crowns on lots of healthy teeth, which Dr Sam subsequently got looking great just with whitening around the ultra thin veneers.
‘He told me that there was absolutely nothing wrong with my bottom teeth,’ explained Ellie.
‘And that he could transform my smile by adding ultra thin porcelain veneers to my top six teeth, which would leave me with a natural-looking smile rather than a big Hollywood shiny one.’
So with the holiday to Turkey booked, in September 2020 Ellie flew from airport to Bodrum airport with her dad and step mum.
They stayed in a villa in Fethiye for a week, but instead of going to the clinic to get her teeth done there, Ellie cancelled the appointment and put the money towards having the work done in the UK instead, which cost £7,000.
This graphic shows how a tooth is shaved down slightly to make room for a thin veneer
‘We still had a lovely holiday in Turkey but I never stepped foot in the clinic,’ said Ellie.
‘Then when we got back in the October (2020) I went to see Dr Sam Jethwa for the treatment with him.’
‘Misled millennials are signing up for a lifetime of unnecessary and painful treatments’
Experts at the Harley Street Smile Clinic in London say they have been inundated with young people who are seeking remedial work after taking part in dental tourism.
In an alarming blog post, the clinic says mislead millennials are committing to ‘a lifetime of unnecessary, expensive and painful treatments’.
It adds: ‘Our clinic has been inundated over the last couple of years with young people who have been misled by bargain cosmetic dental centres in Turkey.
‘Having been left with the harsh reality of a lifetime of dental work, costing far beyond the cost of having veneers done in the UK, often our clients have no idea what work they’ve actually had done, or what’s involved in rectifying the issue.’
Dr Maurice Johannes, Principle Dentist at Harley Street Smile Clinic, added: ‘I can’t stress enough that people need to be 100% clear about exactly what they are signing up for when they go abroad for cosmetic dental treatment.
‘Although patients are under the impression they are having veneers, in reality they are having crowns placed, which means much more aggressive tooth reduction.’
Source: The Harley Street Smile Clinic
Dr Sam hand crafted, using his signature smile sculpting technique, a temporary trial smile for Ellie to wear whilst her bespoke ultra thin veneers were being produced by his master ceramist, so she could preview the result, and then she returned to have the six ultra-thin porcelain veneers fitted to the front top teeth.
‘The result was incredible,’ said Ellie.
‘My teeth looked natural but amazing and for the first time in my life I didn’t feel self-conscious about them.’
Ellie tied the knot in September this year south of Barcelona and smiled proudly for her wedding photos.
She said: ‘I’m so glad I didn’t go to Turkey for my teeth, if I had done I would have had teeth ground down unnecessarily and been left with a fake, Hollywood smile.
‘Thanks to Sam my teeth look perfect but natural and from someone who used to hate smiling, now I can’t smile enough.’
The Vice President of The British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and founder of leading dental training academy and clinic, Bespoke Smile, Sam Jethwa explained: ‘When Ellie reached out to my team, I immediately knew I could help her using our smile sculpting technique, and ultra thin porcelain veneers instead of what she had been planned for abroad.
‘Much like most people thinking about heading to a destination for cosmetic dentistry, I felt that she could achieve her dream smile and confidence, without causing irreversible damage.
‘To carry out a treatment like Ellie’s, with an ultra thin porcelain veneer not only demands high levels of skill for the dentist, but also my ceramist too.
‘It is always worrying when we hear that a smile can be transformed in a few days abroad, using veneers.
‘My advice is to confirm that a crown will not be placed in any circumstance, with any clinic operating in the way Ellie has described.
‘The last thing I want is for people to make a decision, and regret it later, which leads to a huge amount of distress and repeat treatment that was unnecessary in the first place.’
Transport for London faces backlash for advertising ‘Turkey Teeth’: Dentists attack ‘predatory’ marketing on Tubes and buses
Sadiq Khan’s Transport for London was today accused of ‘unethically’ advertising ‘Turkey Teeth’ procedures.
TfL, under control of London’s Mayor, has been running advertisements for Istanbul-based dental clinic Dentakay, which offers the ‘Hollywood Smile’ treatment.
The controversial dental procedure, made popular by stars such as Katie Price and Love Island’s Jack Fincham, involves filing down natural teeth to pegs then replacing them with crowns or veneers.
But numerous Britons say they have been left in pain and suffering complications by having the treatment abroad, where it is cheaper.
The resulting trend has been dubbed ‘Turkey Teeth’, though MailOnline is not aware that Dentakay has received any complaints from patients regarding the work they received and critics of the advertising said it was not an attack on the company, but the concept of encouraging treatment overseas where UK safeguards are not applicable.
UK dentists have previously warned the complications can leave patients with huge medical bills to fix work, with some even refusing to touch patients treated abroad because they do not want to take responsibility for them.
Dentakay’s ad, which has run on the Tube and buses, features a photo of a smiling woman with the text: ‘If you can’t smile back, you should fly to Istanbul. Book now.’
British dentists slammed TfL for running the advertisements.
Dr MJ Rowland-Warmann, lead clinician for private dental practice Smileworks Liverpool said: ‘Ethically, I think it’s wrong.’
Transport for London, under control of London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, has been criticised by UK dentists for hosting advertisements urging Britons to head overseas for cosmetic dental treatment
‘Questions should be asked on if TfL have done their due diligence on keeping potential patients safe,’ she added.
She said the fact that cosmetic dentistry was being advertised to thousands of people who use TfL services, without any warning, was not right.
‘People are being taken in by predatory marketing,’ she said.
‘It’s companies that are trying to make money on impressionable and often vulnerable people, who are unaware of the ramifications of what they are getting themselves into.
‘I’m not allowed to advertise like that to the under-18s yet you have a treatment there which isn’t general dentistry, it’s not your six month check-up… this is very aggressive, “keep it for life or have problems with it forever” dentistry.’
Dr Rowland-Warmann called for such ads to have a disclaimer on them warning people of overseas dental or cosmetic work.
‘It should come with a disclaimer the way gambling does,’ she said.
TfL did not confirm to MailOnline how much it earned from Dentakay’s adverts, but it is likely to be in the thousands.
The transport network outsources its ad space to independent companies and then takes a cut of the money.
One of these company listed the cost of TfL ad campaign of ‘significant impact’ of costing at least £5,000.
A TFL spokesperson said the advert aligned with their policies but added they were now seeking further clarification from the UK’s advertising watchdog.
‘This campaign was reviewed by our advertising partner and complies with the policy,’ they said.
‘We have also written to the Advertising Standards Authority for guidance on whether any additional disclaimers for such advertisements are required.’
A spokesperson for Dentakay said: ‘We avoid the over-invasive interventions that some clinics offer, and are proud of the natural look that we achieve for our patients.
‘We have received over 4,000 reviews online from patients who give us an exceptional rating of 4.95 out of five. We have extremely low numbers of patients experiencing problems, and work to remedy any that arise.’
They added that British dentists shouldn’t criticise the standards of Turkish dentistry.
‘We have seen disturbing examples of patients let down by NHS care and unable to afford the high prices of private dentists in the UK,’ they said.
‘We have seen people who have been waiting years for treatment using alcohol to prevent tooth pain, and we have treated many who have resorted to pulling their own teeth out.’
The spokesperson added that as some 70 per cent of Dentakay’s customers now come from the UK it was natural that the company advertise there.
‘The content of the adverts is entirely uncontroversial,’ they said.
‘We recognise people have concerns about the safety of health tourism – though we would note that some of the criticism comes from expensive UK private clinics who are seeking to protect their own business and justify their high prices.
‘There are good and bad clinics anywhere, and we would suggest people should avoid clinics without a dental tourism certificate from the Turkish Ministry of Health.’
They added that all of the business’s dentists and had a minimum of five years experience and that the company insisted on world-class standards so criticism of them was ‘totally unwarranted’.
Turkey Teeth sprung to national attention this summer amid reports thousands of Britons were getting the procedure in their quest to get a celebrity-esque smile.
Interest in the procedure was fuelled on social media by the hashtag #Turkeyteeth on platforms such as TikTok where has been viewed more than 250million times.
But some people have claimed to have been given crowns by overseas dentists instead of the veneers they requested and being left in agony as a result.
While both veneers and crowns can improve the look and function of your teeth, the latter is far more invasive.
A veneer is a very thin layer of porcelain, but can be made from other materials, and is usually chosen more for cosmetic purposes.
Only a bit of the tooth is shaven down for the veneer to be placed on top of.
Whereas a crown is roughly twice as thick and covers the whole tooth. Most of the tooth is removed to make room.
Dentakay boasts on its website that it can offer the treatment within a single day, and at far cheaper cost than dentists in the UK.
Similar procedure in the UK can cost up to £500 per tooth, whereas Dentakay says that in Turkey it can cost as little as £850 for an entire set of teeth.
Dr Rowland-Warmann added that it was important to highlight the issue was not with a single company but with the industry as whole.
‘We’ve got to be careful about not letting xenophobia or nationalism cloud our opinions,’ she said.
‘Not all dentists in Turkey are bad, the vast majority are wonderful and ethical.
‘It’s bad dentistry that we’re talking about, not foreign dentistry.’
Dr Rowland-Warmann added that UK dentists are held to a high ethical and regulatory standard which allows patients financial support if things go wrong, a system not always present overseas.