I suffered 6 months of agony, couldn't eat & lay in bed crying after getting Turkey teeth – but worst is yet to come | The Sun

EVERY year thousands of Brits flock to Turkey for cosmetic surgery, lured by cheap treatment with a holiday thrown into the deal.

But for Lisa Martyn, from Ireland, her dream of returning from the sunshine with a new set of pearly whites turned into a nightmare.

She suffered six months of agony, two abscesses and needed two root canals after her cut-price dental work – and has now come to terms with the fact she'll likely need dentures.

Documenting her treatment on social media, she told followers: “What the f*** was I thinking getting these teeth done?”

Lisa's story features in a shocking new BBC Three documentary, Turkey Teeth: Bargain Smiles or Big Mistake.

It explores the trend which has seen a growing number of young people travel to the Mediterranean country to get a brand new smile by shaving down their natural teeth.


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Lisa first flew to Turkey for crowns 10 years ago, believing they came with a "lifetime warranty".

But she returned last year to have 26 new ones fitted. 

Her videos reveal that, 20 days after the treatment, she still couldn’t eat as normal.

The one she filmed 25 days afterwards is captioned: “Pain pain pain pain WTF.”

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A later one shows her with a swollen jaw due to an infection as she admits: "I've just been laying in bed crying, as to what the f*** I was thinking getting these teeth done."

Concerned by how much her face had swelled weeks after getting her Turkey teeth, Lisa visited a UK dentist.

"I could feel this lump gathering in my chin and I was like, oh my God what is it," she recalls.

"I went to the dentist, he took an x-ray and I could see the abscess, and he was like, this is big… that day I booked the root canal."

I've just been laying in bed crying, as to what the f*** I was thinking getting these teeth done

In tears, she tells host Dr Trishala Lakhani, a dentist and Miss Universe GB beauty: “I’ve resigned myself to the fact I am going to have dentures.

"I don’t know that but my teeth are gone. They are filed down so much.

“I thought once they put them in, you’re never going to have any problems. They never said your teeth could die.”

Lisa also revealed she only found out a few months ago that dentists had fitted her with crowns, not veneers, as she thought. 

Both procedures require filing the natural teeth down and fitting a gleaming white cap over the stumps, but crowns involve much more filing. 

When such a large proportion of a tooth is filed down, it can cause big problems in the future. 

Trishala tells her: “Having a crown means taking away 60 to 70 per cent of healthy tooth tissue.

"There is then a higher risk of nerves in teeth dying and a higher risk of root canal.” 

Treatment plans from selfies

Having qualified as a dentist in 2020, Trishala was surprised just how many patients asked her about going abroad for cosmetic dental work and wanted to research it.

As part of her investigation, Trishala contacted 150 dentists in Turkey and 50 in the UK asking what they would recommend about her teeth.

Of the 120 Turkish dentists who replied, 70 recommended a treatment plan that involved crowns or veneers. 

One replied: “Crowns? I think you need it.”

Another suggested changing ALL of Trishala’s gleaming white teeth with 26 zirconium crowns – something one British dentist said would see her struck off for doing for aesthetic reasons. 

She says: "It's crazy. If I wasn't a dentist and I had a professional telling me I need all this work, I would accept what they were saying."

What shocked me the most was that just from seeing a few selfies I'd taken on my phone, they were able to say I needed 26 crowns

None of the 34 UK dentists who responded advised treatment. 

Trishala, who won the public vote at the Miss Universe Great Britain competition, said: "What shocked me the most was that just from seeing a few selfies I'd taken on my phone, they were able to say I needed 26 crowns.

"Then the first time I go there, I'm in the chair getting those 26 crowns.

"You should have a thorough examination, a thorough history, take X-rays, look at the person's oral health and hygiene, conduct any extra tests that might be needed."

TikTok trend

So-called "Turkey teeth" TikTok videos have racked up more than 100m views. 

Trishala explains: "It's a massively growing market, not just with young people, but people of all ages. I think a big part of it is the influence of social media and reality TV."

Ex-Love Islander Jack Fincham had his done in the capital Antalya – dubbed Dentalya for its influx of Brits seeking dental treatment – five years ago, about six months before he entered the reality show in 2018. 

This season Casa Amor beauty Mollie Salmon admitted she paid seven grand for her gleaming white veneers, – permanent shells attached to natural teeth to make them appear more straight and uniform. 

'Dentist will no longer treat me'

In a survey of 1,000 dentists, all but 17 cited cheaper costs as the reason patients went abroad for dental work. 

Having a holiday thrown into the deal is an added bargain.

Tilly Entwistle, 22, was quoted up to £10,000 to get crowns on the top row of her teeth in the UK but paid less than a quarter of that for 16 crowns in Turkey. 

She says: “Ever since I was young, I was bullied for my teeth. 

“I was called Bugs Bunny. I wouldn’t eat in front of people, I’d laugh with my hand in front of my mouth. I wanted to look at myself and not hate myself."

My dentist shouted at me and said, 'I’m making you aware we will never touch those teeth you’ve had done in Turkey'

She says having cosmetic treatment has changed her life and only wishes she had done it sooner. 

“I’m smiling a lot more, it’s given me my confidence back. I’ve got ‘Turkey teeth’ and I’m proud of it."

However, when Tilly returned to the UK, she was shocked to learn her usual dentist would no longer treat her. 

She says: “She shouted at me and said I’m making you aware we will never touch those teeth you’ve had done in Turkey.

“I want dentists to understand why we have it done and be a bit more sympathetic.”


Half of the dentists surveyed – 597 – reported seeing complications in patients who had crowns fitted in Turkey. 

One British dentist reveals she receives two to three calls a day from patients who have been treated abroad and are suffering pain or problems like inflamed gums or crowns stuck together. 

Trishala says: “There’s nothing wrong with going abroad for dental treatment. There are some of the best dentists in the world in Turkey.

"Just do your research thoroughly. Ask questions. Are there any other treatment options? Can you get a second opinion?

"This is your health, you need to think of the long term consequences."

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The BBC contacted the clinic where Lisa was treated but did not receive a response. 

Turkey Teeth: Bargain Smiles or Big Mistake is available to watch on BBC iPlayer from Thursday, July 14th.

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