Noreen Keegan Kavanagh (57) was lured by the promise of a Hollywood smile at knockdown prices when she underwent extensive dental work in Kusadasi, Turkey.
The devoted mum, who lives in Blessington, Co Wicklow, paid more than €2,000 to achieve her dream smile, but her experience soon turned to a nightmare when she suffered facial swelling and extreme pain after her treatment went horribly wrong.
The Mayo woman’s horror ordeal comes as the social-media fuelled trend of ‘Turkey teeth’ sweeps the internet, with celebrities including Katie Price and Scarlett Moffatt leading the craze that involves filing down teeth to pegs and then replacing them crowns or veneers.
As Irish people continue to travel in their droves for cut-price cosmetic work, Noreen wants to warn people of the long-term impact of the invasive treatments after she had to fork out €4,000 for corrective treatment.
More than a decade later and now with a set of crowns, the mum-of-two is still having complications with her smile.
“I initially got 12 of my top teeth done. They pared all my teeth down within a couple of hours and within the same week I was fitted with my new teeth. At the time I paid €120 a tooth.
“The next year I followed up with my bottom teeth but after a week I was in agony.
“I had two root canals that had already been done in Ireland and failed so I had two gaps, so they just put a bridge over them and the infections just kept coming.
“I was holding my jaw because the pain was so intense. My entire face and under my eye completely swelled up and I was watching the clock to see when I could take more painkillers. It was absolutely agonising. I can’t even begin to describe the pain I was in.”
After recurring infections Noreen was referred to a specialist five years ago.
“Treatment like this can haunt you for years. I went to a dentist in Clane that specialises in root canals and he said, ‘I think every one of your teeth will have to be done eventually.’ He told me,‘this is some case, I have never seen the likes of it.’
“He teaches in the dental hospital, and he told me that he actually used my X-ray as an example of what can happen if things go wrong.
“He told me that the dentist pared my teeth down too far and the pain that I had was the nerve dying. I had to get seven root canals at the bottom in total and two more on top. The cost of it all came to about €4,000.”
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Issuing a stark warning to other people who may be thinking of travelling abroad Noreen said: “I am going to have trouble with my teeth until the day they have to put me into the ground.”
Regina Mahony (38) also revealed how her botched cut-price treatment abroad has shattered her confidence.
The young mum from Cork has said her gums are now wasting away after she was fitted with a set of veneers in Hungary four years ago.
“My gums grew up over my teeth and I was told by my dentist that it was just bad work.
“I now always have smelly breath and have to go back to the dentist every two to three months to get them cleaned just to keep up with the hygiene because I can’t floss and that’s €80.
“Everyone says they look natural but I always have trouble with my gums; they bleed and are red and swollen. They took a week to do; I had no teeth in after they filed them down so I got every infection. Even breathing was so painful.
“If I ever get them done again I’d need to win the Lotto, I hated my smile before and now I hate it even more. I would never recommend anyone to get it done. I only paid €3,000 but your smile is priceless.”