A mother who claims she was left with “rotten” gums after flying to Turkey for fresh teeth says it was the worst decision of her life.
Sarah Watson, from Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, wanted to get her teeth fixed after cancer treatment saw them ‘fall apart’ and she was too embarrassed to smile.
But unable to afford the £27,000 price quoted for her by a London dentist, the 51-year-old decided to spend £3,500 to fit veneers in Marmaris, Turkey in September 2020.
The mother-of-two was initially pleased with the results after the dental team assured her that some obvious gaps between her teeth would disappear as her gums healed.
But within weeks of returning to the UK, Ms Watson said she was ‘scared’ to eat, as doing so would cause her teeth to shift, meaning food would get stuck between them.
The owner of the cleaning company eventually turned to a dentist in the UK after he couldn’t eat anything, who discovered that the clinic in Turkey had plugged holes in his gums with cement and left them to ‘rot’, says Ms .Watson.
Now he is urging others not to travel abroad for the same procedure.
Sarah Watson (pictured before getting dental work in Turkey), from Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, wanted to get her teeth fixed after cancer treatment saw them ‘fall apart’ and was too embarrassed to smile.
But unable to afford the £27,000 price quoted by a London dentist, the 51-year-old (pictured after the procedure) decided to spend £3,500 to get veneers in Marmaris, Turkey in September 2020. .
Ms Watson had been diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2018.
After surgery, he underwent 18 rounds of intense radiation therapy and was taking chemotherapy drugs, which ‘ruined’ his teeth, leaving them ‘broken’ and ‘loose’.
Cancer treatments can cause changes to the lining of the mouth and the salivary glands, which produce saliva. This can upset the balance of bacteria in the mouth, which can lead to mouth sores, infections, and cavities.
Ms Watson said she “just wanted a nice smile” and would have done “anything” to look and feel better.
He initially thought about getting veneers (new linings for teeth) in the UK, but thought it was too expensive, so he decided to go to Turkey.
The procedure involves removing part of the tooth and placing a thin layer of porcelain over the front of the tooth.
Ms Watson said: ‘I was so excited about the procedure.
“My teeth were horrible at this point and I had been through a very difficult time with cancer.
“My husband had told me not to go to Turkey to make them, but my cousin had just come back from making hers and they looked good, so I had no reason to question it.”
She flew out in September 2020 with her sister Bridie Murphy, 49, to undergo her teeth makeover.
Ms Watson said: ‘He was told he had to pay cash for the procedure and my husband took it out of our savings.
‘[In the Turkish hotel] I slept with the money under my pillow at night because I was terrified that someone would take it while I was sleeping.
The day after arriving in Turkey, Ms Watson visited the dental clinic opposite her hotel and was told to hand over the £3,500 in cash.
Ms Watson claims that “within seconds” of paying, she was told to sit in a chair and dentists were injecting her mouth and extracting some teeth, leaving her “shaking and crying”.
She said she was left with eight teeth on the top row and 10 teeth on the bottom, which were then shaved for the next step in the procedure.
A temporary bridge was placed on her upper teeth and then she returned the next day to have the same procedure done on her lower teeth.
Ms Watson was then given a three-day break before returning to dental surgery to have permanent veneers fitted.
She immediately noticed gaps on the top and bottom of her front teeth, but she says the dentist told her it was normal and would go away when her gums healed from the procedure.
She flew home that night.
Mrs Watson said: ‘[After having your procedure done] someone else is already in the chair at this point getting their teeth done.
They removed the temporary ones and brought me the permanent ones. In two minutes they were ready. They just pushed them into place.
“I have never seen so many people waiting to get teeth. Everyone in my hotel was there for the same reason to get teeth.’
The mother of two (pictured before dental work) was initially pleased with the results after the dental team assured her that some obvious gaps between her teeth would disappear as her gums healed.
But within weeks of returning to the UK, Ms Watson (pictured after work) said she was ‘scared’ to eat as doing so would cause her teeth to shift, meaning the food would would get stuck between them.
Ms Watson said she was initially pleased with her new teeth which looked “beautiful”.
But after he returned to the UK, they got progressively worse.
Three months later, her teeth began to shift, leaving thumbnail-thick spaces around the edges of her teeth, she says.
This caused the food to get stuck in the holes and rot, says Ms Watson.
She became ‘scared’ to eat because she feared her veneers would fall off and constantly used mouthwash to gargle and ‘blow’ food out of the spaces between her teeth.
Ms. Watson contacted the Turkish dental company. She offered to fix the problem, but she said it would cost £3,000.
Too worried to visit the clinic again and with Covid restrictions in place, Ms Watson spent almost two years enduring her sensitive and gap-filled teeth.
She said: ‘Towards the end [when my teeth were at their worst] I couldn’t eat meat and I was so afraid to eat anything in case [my veneers from Turkey] he left. I couldn’t even eat my dinner.
“I was trying to eat a baked potato and I felt one of my teeth shift and I was hanging on the last string.”
It was only when his teeth got so bad that he couldn’t eat anything that he approached a UK private dentist in May 2023.
At his first appointment, his dentist told him that he had never seen anything like it and he wasn’t sure he could fix it, according to Ms Watson.
She said: ‘My dentist is absolutely horrified and shocked by what he found in the holes in my gums.
‘When I was lying there [at the dentist]he said “look at this” and put the holes out with cement.
“They had made the holes from which they had taken the teeth and filled them with cement.
He said this had been rotting in my gums for years.
‘I also knew there must be a smell following me due to food getting stuck in the spaces between my teeth.
‘When my dentist took the first shot, he said the smell was unbearable.’
Now, almost three years later, he’s shelled out between £10,000 and £15,000 to have his teeth fixed by a UK dentist.
Ms Watson is now warning others not to go to Turkey for the same procedure.
Mrs Watson said: ‘I never would have gone if I could reverse time.
“I would tell them to please don’t do this and do it there.
“I’m not saying that all dentists in Turkey are the same, but when you get your teeth fixed in a week from start to finish, there is a problem.”