The tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth

Visiting the dentist in France…..

Chez le dentisteFrance is well known for its exceptional healthcare service, and used to be one of the leading lights in innovative dentistry. Today, dentists struggle with low prices imposed by the government for basic dental treatments and are often unable to afford cutting edge technology in their ‘cabinets’.

We spoke to English speaking dentist, Docteur Jacques (dentists are known as ‘Docteur)
in Laroque des Albères who gave us the following advice.

The majority of dentists are “conventionné” (charge standard fees). This means that a large percentage of the treatment that he or she offers will be carried out within the framework of the French health service and will be reimbursed at 70%, the rest being paid by your ‘mutuelle’ or top up policy.

Not all dental treatment is covered by your dentist, even if he or she is “conventionné”.

False teeth, crowns and dental implants are only partially covered and will cost you a pretty penny without a very good top up policy. For example, a porcelain crown may typically cost around 500 euros of which the sécurité social would reimburse 75 euros. The rest would be up to you and, if you are lucky, your insurance.  Prices can vary enormously for these treatments, so it might be worth shopping around. State dictated rates for basic dental treatment are considered so low by dentists, that they feel that the small percentage of treatment prices not dictated by the state are the only way they are able to make a decent living!
You should always ask for a ‘devis’, a quote before signing up for non-reimbursable dental treatment.

Interestingly, Jacques observed that he has noticed a marked different in British mouths over the past 20 years, since most dentists went private.

Most basic treatment
Treatment for gum diseases
root canals treatment
X rays…

False teeth
dental implants….


Children are offered a free dental check (BBD or bilan bucco-dentaire) every three years, between 6 and 18. A letter will be sent from the Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie which you should take to your dentist.

The profession of dentist hygienist doesn’t exist in France.


Chez le dentiste at/to the dentist
Cabinet dentaire dental surgery
Checkup une consultation initiale
tooth la dent
upper/lower tooth la dent du haut/bas
wisdom tooth la dent de sagesse
gums la gencive
dentures une prothèse dentaire
to bleed saigner
to rinse rincer
to pull out arracher
J’ai…… I have…..
un abcès abscess
une dent cassée broken tooth
une carie a cavity
(Je pense que) j’ai besoin d’….. (I think) I need..
une couronne a crown
un plombage (provisoire) a (temporary) filling
une piqûre an injection
un canal dentaire root canal treatment
un détartrage teeth cleaning
j’ai  mal aux dents I’ve got toothache
Ca fait mal that hurts
Comment appelle t’on le vieux tartre dans une vieille bouche?
Jurassic plaque
Patient à son dentiste: “Docteur, j’ai les dents jaunes, que  me conseillez-vous ?”
Dentiste: “Eh bien, vous devriez porter une chemise marron….! “

Information supplied by Docteur Jacque Respaut
3 rue Citadelle
Phone: 04 68 89 30 98

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