Following on from Part 1, Overseas Dental Tourism – Where To Go this article is the second part of our overseas dental tourism journey.
If you get to the end of the first article, you will see my shortlist. However, as much as I was inclined to go with Fatma Kuvvetli, as I believe she gives great advice and would do an excellent job, I decided on IDH, due to significant great reviews and as recommended by David Hodkinson on the Antalya and Izmir, Turkey Dentistry Questions and Answers group feed on Facebook based on the attraction of the Antalya beaches, which are pebble beaches.
As such, I reached out to them via their WhatsApp number. The overall communication was excellent, from booking the dates to being picked up at Antalya airport in the early hours of the morning. It was Gökhan Tunca looking after me, he was excellent from start to finish.
Gökhan Tunca and North Colorado Norman gets his mug in the article!
Once the decision to go with IDH was made, it was then time to think about how to get a good diagnosis and remediation strategy for my falling apart teeth. I had done an X-ray a few years earlier with a dentist I’d mention in my first article, but this would be out of date. Advice on the group feed suggested getting an x-ray done and sending it across. This would cost somewhere around £30-£50 but will serve you well if you have extensive teeth/gum damage by giving far greater information than the simple photographs most clinics ask for to give an initial view.
This was what I was planning to do, however, my wife, who has had expensive extensive work done in the UK needed a deep clean from her periodontist. Candy was quoted £400 – £500 for this by two separate clinics near us in the UK, as I was thinking I could do with a clean, it would add up to close to £1000 fairly quickly – and I don’t think the UK folks would discount against me for only having half my teeth!!
So, checking out flight costs, I theought I’d set up a reconnaissance-type trip to Antalya, visit IDH to get Candy’s cleaning done, get an assessment on what is going on with me, and spend a week’s holiday there while we’re at it. Flights were around £750 return for the two of us via Turkish Airlines out of Stansted Airport (near our guesthouse, Stansted Lodge) at the start of September. The best bit, is IDH putting us up in one of their apartments gratis – amazing right? So, I booked, around 3-4 months prior.
Leading up to our flight over things were hectic in our house, but we managed to put all aside and last-minute pack ready for an afternoon flight that got us into Antalya close to midnight, of course, our flight was delayed but only by 40 minutes or so. Now, if you are flying Turkish Airlines from Stansted Airport, check aisles B & D. This is where they’ll set up under the banner of AnadoluJet at times, and this can occur before the desk information goes up on the board, so by the time you get there it is a long line, keep your eyes and wits about you.
Things to take on the 4-hour flight:
- Good quality earplugs and/or headphones with enough movies/tunes on your device (lots of noise from others on these flights).
- Eye covering, particularly if you are looking for some shut-eye in the evening.
- Depending on which airline, you might grab a meal deal on the way to the gate.
Arriving in Antalya, customs and baggage collection are straightforward, recently I’ve been in the situation of the ‘man with my name on board’ waiting for me to exit the airport, and I’ve had no luck at all, you can read on my Egypt – Tips and Ideas article. This time, Rukshi was there with the board in hand. Driven in a clearly early 2000s luxury MPV to a very clean and functional apartment over the road from the IDH clinic. I don’t recommend changing pounds to Turkish Lira at the airport, the exchange rate was not great. You can grab a SIM card at the airport, but we waited until we were in town, we paid around £35 for 50 GB.
Finally getting my name board on an airport pick up!
If you follow our path, these are the items you will need for your stay at the IDH apartment:
- Towels, for bathroom and beach if you plan to go (you can get some towels if you ask).
- All bathing items, this is not a hotel, so don’t expect soap.
- Electric plug adaptors, you can get specific information from our Turkey travel guide page.
- Plates and cutlery (you can use plastic from the supermarket), garbage bags, and other kitchen items.
- The apartment is light on for cooking utensils, so bring a masher and peeler if you have to eat soft food.
- There is a washing machine, you will need to be imaginative for drying, but it is hot during the year!
- I’d hope the showers are hotter in the cooler months, it wasn’t the hottest for me.
There are several supermarkets around, check them all out as they do have varying degrees of items. We found if you walk to the main road more or less in front, and turn right, there is a Tahtakale 100 meters down. Lots of restaurants and places to eat nearby as well, not easy to find a licensed restaurant so takeaway with wine in the apartment had to work at times. If you’re a non-smoker, you may find it difficult to find somewhere to dine without the Shisha nearby to the IDH apartments. We dined at Kaleiçi Meyhanesi Konyaaltı one night and it was great.
If you have time like us, there is lots to do in and around Antalya, I’d suggest visiting Viator and getting some activities booked. The IDH apartments are just about walking distance to Beach Park, around 40 minutes. This is where I did some parasailing, £60, it was fantastic! Like all major cities, to get around you are best using Uber once you have data on your phone, this gives you the best and most reliable cost of travel.
In Antalya Uber basically gets you a taxi, we did a test going direct to a taxi, and he charged double what we knew the trip was via Uber and had the audacity to change the meter to something double as well, so use Uber. A few nights later we booked Uber to get home, the driver picked us up, and then cancelled the ride so he didn’t have to pay a commission. So, Uber finds us another driver, who we then have to cancel and pay a fee, another type of scam to beware of, don’t jump in this yellow taxi.
Don’t get in this car, he’ll scam you!
The Dental Prognosis & Ultimate First Treatment
We arrived at 9 am on the Monday, Candy was quickly whisked away for her clean, again, very honest, Candy was going to get a bleach, but they felt it wasn’t needed and could actually cause more teeth damage, so just a normal clean was enough, £50.
The first thing Gökhan did with me was take me for X-ray, a fairly elaborate machine that did 3-dimensional images evidently, once that was done a little wait until I was taken upstairs where Professor Süleyman would provide the diagnosis and come up with a plan.
He had a good look, and Gökhan informed me that their starting position is that any teeth that can be kept will be kept. I think this article will be helpful to folks, as I needed a bit of everything. They take some blood, take some (before teeth) photos, and that’s about it for the diagnosis process.
In summary, my ITP:
- General anaesthetic
- Sinus lift and bone graft on both sides.
- 2 Root Canals (which turned into 7 – 5 gratis evidently) Ü
- 10 Evoss implants
- 28 Zirconium Crowns
My individual treatment plan in detail is below.
After a few discussions, we go outside to go through my plan, and get to the important part, the cost. A few learning points here, if you’ve done your research, you should get a feel if the treatment is geared to make you happy or simply a money-making exercise. It felt the recommendations, were well explained and with good reasoning behind them, particularly when I’d heard opposing views, for example, screw or cement, bridge or individual, Evoss or Strauman. I elected to run with what was recommended by Professor Süleyman, Gökhan and I did go through all the questions to ask that are at the bottom of my first Article in this series.
I took over £3500 cash, just on the chance that I would get some treatment, as I paid cash, we got a 5% discount, and this was handed over and I was set for the general anaesthetic, root canal, bone grafts, and implants in two days!
We had a day spare before, so what should one do before major surgery for 6-7 hours? Well, you can not take a Turkish bath after, so take one the day before! This is a little off the track, Candy had a friend in Fethiye, so we popped across, had a few drinks, and the following day I spent 3 hours having the full works at Sultan Hamam Turkish Bath, it was fantastic, I’m going back one day to spend a whole day there! I recommend Sultan Hamam Turkish Bath!
You can’t eat or drink, even water, after midnight when you are having a general anaesthetic the following day.
Treatment day and we arrived just before 9 am. After signing God knows how many documents, I’m taking through into the changing area. They give you a diaper and robe, I missed the bit where Gökhan said I could leave my own clothes on and strode out as displayed, before returning quickly to put my clothes on.
Into the chair, more blood is taken, a few conversations, and lots of people doing things to the body, I see the mask hovering over my nose, and that’s it, I’m being woken up with Gökhan and Candy by my side. All work done by Professor Süleyman, was a successful operation.
At this time, I don’t know exactly how the conversation flowed, but as I’ve been called James Bond before so it could have been like this:
[Gökhan] How are you feeling?
[Quinton] Not sure, still coming too.
[Gökhan] You are not ready to get going?
[Quinton] Well if I was James Bond, I’d already be ripping this stuff off and going after the villains!
[Candy] Oh no, he’s been called James Bond before, and he just keeps going on about it!
[Quinton] Yeah, I am James Bond, I need to get after the boys from Spectre!
At this point, there is hysterical laughter from the lady next screen!
[Lisa] Are you really James Bond (laughter)?
[Quinton] Yes, and you are my Ms Moneypenny!
More hysterical laughter.
[Lisa] OK, but I shouldn’t laugh this much, I’m sure!
[Gökhan] No, you shouldn’t, Quinton stop it!
Gökhan exits quickly with Quinton in a wheelchair.
[Quinton] See you later Ms Moneypenny
Maybe not exact, but fairly close, I think.
I’m taken out to the lobby, Gökhan has my medication and points to the painkillers as these could be the most important. It is fairly amazing how quickly one comes around and starts to get back into the show. But your tongue is going ballistic trying to work out what world it is in right now, everything has changed! Try to avoid being overzealous at this time, the stitches have only just gone in, and you don’t want to annoy them too much.
Now, make sure you arrange to have someone get you back to your room post-operation, I was okay as Gökhan rode my wheelchair over the road, but Ms. Moneypenny was shuffled into a taxi and sent back to her hotel where she negotiated a few flights of stairs. For a general anaesthetic at IDH, I’d recommend staying at their apartments.
What to do and what to eat?
Here are some post operation ideas/tips:
- Try and have your questions prepared if you can, don’t get to hung up about the medication, absorb what you can.
- Use the ice packs they give you as much as you can.
- Do not have dairy products, these are not allowed for 7 days to allow for stitches to heal.
- Have non-dairy baby food, bananas, and oats made with water, honey, and soup. You can get some excellent advice here.
- Have some rubber gloves, make sure you grab some spare spit trays before you leave the clinic. Plenty of tissues.
- Water, have some at room temperature.
- You might like to have some sanity wipes available, and tea towels.
- Have a discussion with your spouse/partner before the operation on what the first 12 hours post-operation should look like and align expectations for treatment and activities . Line up some good movies you can both watch.
Post Operation Activity
The following day you return, usually first thing, I expected Gökhan Tunca to contact me, he did, but I was asleep, so he came and collected me. This is usually the day of temporary teeth insertions, for my ITP they had managed to take a cast off my front top, this was because I was keeping all of these, and they were shaved.
I had one left on my bottom to the very left, and implants to the very right, they made a call that I had enough jawbone to be able to take bottom temps, and they set about putting them in. If you have a good clinic, they will explain everything, why they don’t want the temps to line up, where you might have a touch on one side, and whether you even have temps fitted. It is all geared to ensuring the implants take hold, the less movement the better.
I’m not sure if I was fortunate or not, but I did get Professor Sȕleyman to look into my case quite a lot, and he did have to sign off the final temps’ insertion as it sat on top of the implants. He was very caring and informative, even when I raised the concern about screwed crowns as opposed to cement, he gave a very clear picture of things and highlighted some cons of having screws fitted. It was clear if I wanted screws, they would do it. My position was simple, why would I not take the recommendation of a professor who had been doing this nearly every day for 35 years?
Before surgery, and after surgery, temps were inserted.
Temps in and off home again, no dairy for the first week, but Professor Süleyman was happy for me to eat anything if it was mashed or blended, basically no chewing for at least 3 months. Due to the sinus lift and bone graft, I return in 5 months, which is the optimal time for healing, without the bone graft it would be 3 months.
For the next few days until I leave, I’m asked to go in for daily checks to see if all is okay. Professor Süleyman was happy with my progress, and really enjoyed me playing Neil Diamond’s Soolaimon to him!
Professor Süleyman and myself reviewing my ITP
Conclusion of Overseas Dental Tourism
In conclusion for this second part, I’d have to say that the treatment, care, and attention I’ve received from IDH and Professor Süleyman significantly outstrips the so-called dentist professor I was seeing in Bishop’s Stortford. I’m halfway through this treatment, but the heavy lifting is done. At this time, I have no regrets on my decision and look forward to getting my permanent teeth next.
A few Postscripts
Evoss implants vs. Strauman implants, and there is a selection of 4-5 in between. Evoss quoted to me was £280 each, Strauman were £780 each, the other were £300 – £500 in between. Gohkan highlighted that many years ago there was a big difference in quality, nowadays he felt the quality was more aligned, but Strauman carried the name.
Given I was getting a lifetime guarantee, Professor Sȕleyman has Evoss implants (I didn’t ask if he did them himself), and that it was £5k cost difference which could fund several trips back if there are problems, I went for Evoss. IDH gives you all the box wrappings for the implants, I just cut out the important information they might need in the future if there is a problem, it might be nice if they did this for you.
Limited holiday time, this time around, as I had major surgery, but I suspect the next trip, which they would like me to be around for 10 days to get the permanents fitted, I’ll have more free time to adventure Viator stuff.
Medication, there is a lot. Initially, I had two sets of antibiotics, vitamin B12, and allergy tablets for the sinus and bone grafts. You are given the painkillers first. After the second day, Gökhan gave me a prescription for more antibiotics to take in tandem, and some extra for what I already had. There were also some more painkillers for the bone graft if required. The key direction is to make sure you take it all until completed.
One Final Word
Be aware, that they don’t queue up in Turkey like they do in the UK!