Going to the dentist in France is like going at any health professional : fairly easy and most of the time reimbursed by social security.
A couple of tips before going
You don’t need a referral to go to the dentist
You may have heard about the “parcours de soin” and the “médecin traitant”. If you didn’t, please look at this article, it’ll help you lower your fees for your next visits to the doctor. In short, the parcours de soin (healthpath) is a set of steps that patients have to follow to go and see a specialist.
Good news, you don’t have to follow the steps to go and see a dentist. You can merely book an appointment, and off you go.
Is it expensive ?
France likes seeing people in good general health and doesn’t like that you have to pay a lot of money to get your care. So for most dental works, the cost, even if it may seem high (up to 50 to 100€) will be totally or partially covered. This means that you’ll get reimbursed.
However, it does not mean that every dental work is covered. Here are a couple of tips to avoid having to mortgage your house for your teeth :
- Opt for a dentist within secteur 1 or conventionné
- Check the cost and reimbursements options with the dentist first
- Make sure you have a “mutuelle” (private health insurance) that covers the extra fees.
What about kids ?
Children are entitled to a free dental check every three years from 6 to 18. The administration will usually remind you that the time for the check-up has come.
Most treatment for children is free but not all – for instance braces are not covered.
What does a visit look like ?
Book an appointment
How do I find a dentist ?
The preferred option is to use a booking platform. There are to main in France :
Personally, I use Doctolib. It’s very user friendly and you’ve got a lot of info, especially if the dentist speaks another language.
Where can I find an english speaking dentist ?
Both Doctolib (in French) and Maiia (in French) offer the option to search their directories by language spoken.
You can also skim through some expat groups on Facebook where people share their recommendations.
What documents should you take ?
- Your carte vitale (here is how to get one)
- Your previous prescriptions if you consult for the same reason
There is this myth going around that doctors are always late and that you can arrive with a 15 to 30m delay. Let’s not kid ourselves, it’s true most of the time but not all the time. And usually, if the doctor is late, it’s because they take the time to treat every patient with the care and attention they deserve.
Most doctors don’t have a staff or a secretary. Upon arrival, you just ring at the “interphone” and they buzz you in. Don’t forget to check the floor before you go.
You’ll have to look for the waiting room “ Salle d’attente”. It’s fairly common to greet the people that are already there with a “Bonjour”. This is just in order to not get weird looks.
What happens after ?
How do I get my medicine ?
At the end of the session, if need be, the doctor will give you a prescription (ordonnance) to get your medicine. Most of the time, it will be written in an indecipherable penmanship but don’t worry.
You’ll just need to take your prescription and your carte vitale and go to the closest pharmacy. The person behind the counter will; like magic, be able to read said prescription and give you what you need !