The "Love Island look": Dentist addresses the rise in ‘Turkey teeth’

11 March 2023

John Hewittt, a dentist from Leeds, has released comments to Leeds Live stating that programs such as Love Island and social media are leading to a dramatic rise in patients requesting "teeth like Molly Mae".

John explained that patients often bring in photographs of celebrity smiles to demonstrate what they want their smiles to look like.

He said that patients often comment, "if you can't help me, I'm booking a trip to Turkey". John added, “When I do cosmetic work, people often come to me saying they want the 'Love Island look'. In Turkey they do it for much cheaper and faster upfront compared to the UK, so people go there.

"But they don't realise there can be real long-term damage using that method. When you get a full set of crowns, the teeth are permanently filed down to pegs - like that infamous Katie Price photo. It might be cheaper upfront, but people going to Turkey also don't think about having to get them restored every 10 to 15 years.

"The driving force behind it is social media - seeing celebrities smiling with white teeth which are all the same length. I also noticed a jump after lockdown thanks to people seeing themselves in the camera on a Zoom call.

John commented that he has seen individuals as young as 18 wanting a dramatic smile makeover. He added, "Young people tempted by the 'Love Island look' need to be aware of the permanent damage it can have when using this method."

Patients seem to be opting to receive treatment abroad due to the cost of treatment in the UK. John said, "In the UK to do that we would straighten and whiten the teeth. Then we use composite bonding which does minimal damage to the teeth." He estimates this treatment would cost around £8,000.

John added, "If you get crowns from Turkey, they will need re-doing every 10 to 15 years. While the initial procedure might be cheap, they can cost from £800 per crown to replace if you get them done in the UK rather than going back to Turkey. If someone gets 'Turkey teeth' at 18 they might need four restorative cycles in their life."

He warned that this could lead to significant long-term damage which could lead to the patient requiring dentures in later life.

Some patients immediately regret their decision. John told Leeds Live, “I had one young lady come to me in tears saying, 'please help me, I know I have ruined my teeth'.

“Her gums were so unhealthy that after the hygienist had cleaned them, there was significant bleeding which was concerning to see. Another client came who had been to Turkey and her teeth were literally fused together - you couldn't even pass floss between them."