'I got my teeth done in Turkey during the pandemic – the results are worth it'

·5-min read
Dentist tourism has been big business in Turkey for years – here one woman shares her story - getty
Dentist tourism has been big business in Turkey for years – here one woman shares her story - getty

When Birmingham-based Ronnie wanted major dentistry, she decided to travel abroad to Turkey during the pandemic to get it

I’d been umm-ing and ahh-ing about getting my teeth done for about seven years. When I was in another part of Turkey seven years ago, I went to a Turkish dentist for a quote for veneers, because in the hotel I was in, about 40 per cent of the people staying were over to have just that done. 

I thought, “my god, this must be something that’s really good in Turkey”. My friend had also had an extraction done in the country, and it was about £20 – it was nothing. I was all set to do it, but then chickened out. 

This year, my daughter decided to get married and I want to look nice for the wedding next year, so I decided to finally go through with it. 

I was given my dentist Diyar Oynak’s name, and his clinic, Loyal Assistants, through a recommendation. He has a surgery in Liverpool as well as in Istanbul, which helped with the decision – if there’s a problem I can always go and see him in Liverpool. That’s what convinced me. That and the price. It was a fraction of the cost at home. 

I’m a real coward, so I wanted composite veneers, which is what the Towie lot all have. They stick veneers on top of your teeth and don’t file them down too much. Diyar refused to do these, saying “they don’t last, it’s a waste of your money and it’s a waste of my time. If you’re going to have it done you need proper porcelain veneers.” So, I went away, thought about it, and decided to bite the bullet. 

I was coming to Bodrum for a month anyway, so I contacted him and asked to do the procedure as part of my trip over, which wasn't a problem. 

Ronnie will be based in Bodrum for the next month for an extended holiday - getty
Ronnie will be based in Bodrum for the next month for an extended holiday - getty

Though there was a lot of trepidation, being a nurse helped a lot, as I have a general knowledge base of the procedure and what to look for. It was no hassle either because it was all inclusive, so everything was taken care of: my flights, my transfers, my hotels. Diyar offers a package whereby people fly over for a week and have their surgery, whatever it might be, breast implants, bum lifts, and everything is just taken care of. 

Worries over hygiene weren’t a concern either. In England, we’ve all the rules and regulations and you know exactly what the hygiene is going to be like. But, in my experience, they are just as clean over in Turkey – I’ve had some smaller dentistry done before while on a previous trip to Turkey. I knew the standards were high. 

The coronavirus helped, funnily enough, with the decision – I’d had three holidays cancelled this year because of the pandemic, so had the money to do the surgery. And by the time lockdown was over, I just needed to get away. I thought I may as well get it done while I’m here, and I’ll have the sun, sea and sand afterwards. I felt I wanted to reward myself after the procedure. 

You do have to be careful with that though. Interestingly, Diyar told me that when he first started, his clinic was in Bodrum, a holiday resort city. He said it was a big mistake because men were coming over, having hair transplants then going out drinking and lying on the beach, getting sand in their wounds and getting infections. People are stupid when they’re on holiday. It’s been far better for him in Istanbul.

They announced the reintroduction of quarantine for those arriving from Turkey to the UK after I arrived in the country, which is an issue. But, at the end of the day, I’m a retired mental health nurse, so I can work from home if they want me to. Or, I’ll just take two weeks off. 

The only other thing that’s been unusual is that usually I’d sightsee, but chose to skip this in Istanbul, due to the volume of people here. That isn’t to say people aren’t wearing masks, but I just didn’t want to put myself at risk. Besides, the city is only a 45-minute flight from Bodrum, which I love coming to, so I’ll see Istanbul properly when I’m next over.

The results are worth it. At first, I thought I’d made a mistake – they put temporary, plastic teeth on you as part of the procedure to cover your filed down teeth, and when I first looked at those, I thought “oh my god, I look worse than Rylan. There’s no way I can be seen in public like this.”

I sent pictures to my daughter and she was saying “oh mum, what have you done?”. I had that anxiety then until the final fitting with the proper veneers, but they were so thorough and they look amazing now. 

I came on my own and a lot of friends were worried about that, but Diyar has been so accommodating. There’s another English woman here too, having a breast augmentation at the same time as me in my hotel, which helped a lot. Now that I’ve done it, a few friends are now interested themselves.

I’ve asked for a quote for a facelift, I think I’ll have that next. I was going to go to a clinic in Lithuania for it, which has a very good reputation for it and surgeons which specialise in different procedures. But I showed the clinic here pictures of what I want, and have asked them to get back to me with a quote. I’ll decide from there.

As told to Emma Cooke