Do dentists in France treat the patient well

Do dentists in France treat the patient well

Do dentists in France treat the patient well?

Going to the dentist for the first time in France? Are you worried about not understanding a word they say or being mistreated by them? Are you one of those people who are just terrified of getting their teeth treated by a dentist? We totally get you! Which is why we have put together an article explaining everything there is to know about a visit to the dentist while in France.

Going to the dentist ( ), regardless of your country of origin, is never fun. It can actually be a very stressful experience and even more so if you do not speak your dentists’ language. For expats living in France, a trip to the dentist’s office may seem a very daunting thing to do. Therefore, to help you out, you will find useful information in this article in regards to dental care in France and what to expect from it.

First time going to the dentist in France, what can you expect from the experience?

All in all, France is a country that can boast about its standard level of dental care. It is widely known across all of Europe that France offers a superior level of health care services, which obviously include dental care.

France has a long history in the dental field, starting with Pierre Fauchard who is best known for being considered the father of modern odontology. His contributions to the dental care industry have been major turning points for dentistry in general and his knowledge has been picked up and spread out throughout all of Europe. Even today we still use Fauchard’s techniques, albeit improved thanks to technology. So, France has some solid ground in which to stand on when it comes to dental care.

According to a survey conducted by the European Union Manual of Dental Practice in 2008, France has over 40 thousand professional dentists at the time. So, nowadays there should be twice that number, at the least.

Year-long, France is host to many dental conventions and conferences, where thousands of professionals in the dental industry fly away from their countries of origin in order to attend and be a part of the exhibitions and lectures that occur during the conventions.

France counts with the most advanced technology for dental treatments, as well as techniques. It has a very long list of world-trained professionals which are known for going the extra mile for their patients.

In regards to costs for dental treatments, France benefits from major reimbursements done by the government. Because dental care is included in the public health care system, French residents in possession of the carte vitale can access reimbursements sometimes up to 70% off the cost for their dental treatments. Moreover, if you would like a private dental insurance on top of your public one, France offers some great options that will reimburse you fully for treatments that are not always covered by public insurance.

What is the level of professionalism that you can expect from a French dentist?

In order to become dentists, students in France must finish the 12 years of primary education as well as the special degree in dentistry, which is regulated by the jurisdiction of a governmental agency called the Ordre National des Chirurgiens-Dentistes. Once studies are complete, the professional can only begin to practice once he has been given proper authorization by the Ordre National.

If the now licensed dentist wants to open a private practice office, there are a few detailed regulations that need to be met. These go as far as to include the looks and the content of the dental office’s sign. In 2008, the cost to register was a little over 300 EUR. In order to keep his license valid, each dentist needs to pay an annual fee to the Ordre National.

Even after completion of his educational studies, each professional dentist is required to continue on his dentistry training by taking 800 hours of continuing education over a five-year period, with a minimum amount of 150 hours per year.

Do dentists in France treat the patient well?

And so we go back to the article’s main topic. So far we have told you a little about French dental care and their professionalism, as well as the public health care system that applies to all French residents and its benefits. But, how about the actual way in which professional dentists treat their patients in France? Here we have compiled a few real experiences, both good and bad, that expat patients have had in their dental visits whilst in France so that you may know exactly what to expect from yours.

Like everything in life, experiences are subjective and what is considered to be “bad” for some is considered “good” for others. Needless to say, some experiences may be influenced by stress and anxiety about going to the dentist, so that is something to have into consideration. Especially if you are going for the first time in a whole new country. There might be some additional nervousness due to that fact alone.

One expat patient called Laura went to her first dental treatment in France after living 18 months in the country. She was nervous at first because, even though she had the carte vitale, she did not know very well how to get an appointment with a dentist. She googled for some reviews online to base her opinion on and found that Secteur 1 dentists are cheaper than the rest because they work under the French public health system framework. So, after doing some digging around she made an appointment within three weeks with a Secteur 1 dentist that she found on the Yellow Pages.

When the date of her appointment finally arrived, Laura was incredibly nervous. The receptionist at the front desk, however, was very kind to her and she led Laura to the dentists’ office. The dentist, a female in her mid-30s, was very nice to Laura. Even though she was having trouble trying to communicate what she needed to have done to her teeth, the dentist was patient and tried to help her out as much as she could. In the end, they were both able to understand each other, and Laura left the dentist’s office feeling very relieved and confident in the French dental care system.

Thomas, however, was not as lucky as Laura when he went to the dentist for the first time in France. He had been living in France for the past three months and had had his last checkup in the US, his country of origin, about a year before that. So he was in need of a checkup and a dental cleaning. However, Thomas preferred to have his teeth cleaned in the US rather than France. So, he made good use of a family vacation to Minnesota, his hometown, to get an appointment with his dentist and have his teeth cleaned. During the routine checkup, Thomas’ dentist did an x-ray on him and found that he had four cavities, two large ones, and two smaller ones.

Thomas decided to have the two large cavities fixed right then and there, and so he went back to France with two remaining cavities to be filled. When he made an appointment with a dentist in his town in France, he was sorely disappointed when he was made to wait for three months before being able to go to the dentist! Once the date came, though, his disappointment only aggravated when the dentist refused to have his cavities filled because he believed they were not big enough. Thomas was angry at this dentist, and so he chose to book an appointment with another. Regretfully so, the answer was the same, and so Thomas could not get his cavities fixed. He had to wait for a little over a year until his next family trip to the US to book an appointment with his dentist in order to have the two remaining cavities fixed. Needless to say, Thomas’ was not very impressed with the two French dentists whom he had the appointments with.

Ok, I really do need to go to the dentist. So, how do I make an appointment with a French dentist?

More commonly known as for the French words “dentiste” or “chirurgiens-dentiste”, finding a professional dentist in France is not difficult by any means. There are many ways in which you can find one. The easiest way, possibly, is to use the Yellow Pages ( Or, if you’d prefer, you can also ask your local Town Hall.

If you are in need of a dental surgery, you can use MonDocteur ( to find the nearest to you and book an appointment almost instantly.

Beware that depending on where you live in France, finding an emergency dentist can be quite the adventure. If you live in some of the bigger towns or major tourist areas, you may be in luck and find a dentist working on-duty on weekends or public holidays. Otherwise, you may try finding a dentist on-duty on hospitals, although such cases are sadly very rare. Your safest bet, should you need emergency dental treatment, would be to contact your local police station. They may refer you to a professional on duty. If that also fails, you can also try contacting on-duty pharmacies for information.

The Best 10 Dentists in Paris, According to Yelp Reviews

If you are still worried about going to the dentist without having a previous referral or knowing the professional that is going to have you checked up, do not waste a second longer in your worry. Yelp has come up with a list of the best 10 dentists in Paris that you can book an appointment with. They each have the highest reviews on the site and clients leave their comments based on their experiences with each professional, so you can rest assured that you will receive prime quality service for your dental treatment. Here’s the list:

  1. Georges Christian Moussally
  2. Eric Hazan
  3. Philippe Partouche
  4. Ohana Chpindel
  5. Ari Elhyani
  6. Eric Grosjean
  7. Gilles Elharrar
  8. Ralph Badaoui
  9. Steve Benero
  10. Richard Amouyal

So, I have successfully booked my appointment with the dentist but I do not speak a word in French. What do I do?

Fortunately for you, we have you covered in this particular area too! Here’s a list of the most commonly used words and phrases in the dentistry department. Learn them by heart and you will be well on your way!

  • Dental surgery = Cabinet dentaire
  • Checkup = une consultation initiale
  • Teeth = les dents
  • Wisdom Tooth = la dent de sagesse
  • Gums = la gencive
  • a broken tooth = une dent cassée
  • a cavity = une carrie
  • I’ve got toothache = J’ai  mal aux dents
  • root canal treatment = un canal dentaire
  • teeth cleaning = un détartrage
  • Local anesthesia - une anesthésie
  • Lower tooth - la dent du bas
  • Upper tooth - la dent du haut

Closing Thoughts…

All in all, France does offer great quality dental care service. Their professionals in the dental area are well trained and have to undergo many years of studies in order to receive their working license. French residents can benefit from free dental treatments as well as reimbursements of 70% of the cost in some cases, all thanks to the government and the public health system. Children of up to 18 years of age can enjoy free treatments.

Finding a dentist that treats you well and that meets your expectations, however, may come down to subjectivity. Language barriers may be a negative contributing factor to the bad experiences you may encounter during a dental checkup. So, it is advisable to learn the useful phrases depicted above.

And just like in any other country, there are good dentists and bad dentists. It will all come down to doing some previous research or maybe getting a family recommendation, rather than booking an appointment with a perfect stranger. However, France does have a very good dental care system and, generally, there should be no reason for you to be worried about.