Dentist highlights dental tourism risks, as Love Island returns

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A leading dentist has highlighted the risks of dental tourism, as Love Island returns to TV screens.

Following the launch of series 9 of the show in South Africa, Mr Woodhouse appeared on the Guardian podcast to discuss the potential dangers of going abroad for treatment to get a Love Island smile.

Love Island is famed for its glamorous, beautiful contestants, many of whom admit to undergoing cosmetic dental treatment before or after going on the show. Numerous participants have spoken about their experiences of going overseas for treatment, with Turkey a popular choice.

Mr Woodhouse suggested that the main risk is poor quality treatment, which ends up costing more than having treatment at home in the UK. Quotes can be up to 70% lower in some countries, but choosing “fast and cheap options” can be costly in the long-term, the TV dentist explained. There are many examples of patients who have been abroad for treatment and then required remedial treatment after returning to the UK.

A survey conducted by the British Dental Association (BDA) in 2022 revealed that 86% of the 94% of dentists who have seen patients after going overseas for treatment treated individuals with complications. One of the most common issues is patients who have crowns fitted, which are not bespoke. Rather than designing crowns to fit the individual and placing each separate crown, people are having generic sets of crowns fitted, often under the illusion that they’ve signed up for something different.

The target audience for shows like Love Island means that young people may be more inclined to consider dental tourism, Mr Woodhouse warned. Undergoing poor quality treatment at the age of 19-25, for example, can leave people with extensive dental issues and very little in the way of natural teeth by the time they reach their 40s. At this stage, most people will end up with dentures much earlier than the average person.

The advice from dentists for people considering dental tourism is to research extensively and choose clinics that are approved and fully registered and insured. Patients are also advised to ensure that they understand the treatment plan before agreeing to go ahead.

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