Both Jim and I made our last American dentist appointments right before we moved to Toulouse in April. Since then, we’d continued to floss and brush, but had not found a permanent French dentist. That was until a dinner with our neighbors, where they highly recommended their dentist, who has an office not even two blocks away AND speaks English.
Armed with the dentist’s name, I googled him and discovered I could make an appointment online (which, honestly was a HUGE relief) via a site called Mon Docteur. The site seemed easy enough, as I was instructed to select a reason for our visit: (1) consultation dentaire, (2) consultation nouveau patient, (3) consultation enfant, and (4) détartrage. All of these options made sense aside from détartrage, which translated to “scaling.”
“Scaling” was a completely foreign concept; however, after chatting with my neighbor (“nettoyage” isn’t used for teeth cleaning in France – “détartrage” is used) and a little googling here to find it’s actually a common dental term, though one I’d never heard in the USA in all my years of visiting twice a year.
So I made an appointment for me and for Jim the Friday after Thanksgiving. We each had an appointment slot for 30 minutes. Jim’s was at 9, mine at 9:30am. Fast-forward to know that this was THE fastest doctor’s appointment either of us had ever had before, ever.
Let me start by saying, I could really get used to dentist and doctor’s offices here in France. The office was on a single floor of the building (much like our apartment) with various rooms for exams, his office, and a waiting room. This office was INCREDIBLY French and 100 percent gorgeous. The walls had so much intricate woodwork and decorative painting. If I could’ve dreamed up a French apartment to live in, it would’ve been this dentist office (minus the dental equipment, of course). It just feels better to be in such a home-y place with standard (non fluorescent) lights. In a word – charming or lovely.
It was a whirlwind visit and went by in a blur. Jim arrived a little bit before 9am and was already back at our apartment by 9:15am. He’d had a cleaning AND X-rays. I arrived in the office close to 9:25am and was back in our apartment by 9:32am. I’d just had a cleaning. Wow. We were both stunned. Easily the most painless and fastest appointment either of us had ever had at a dentist. Back in the USA, my dentist appointment would take close to one hour, especially if X-rays were involved.
So what happened in the office and why was it so fast? I’m honestly not 100 percent sure. I walked in and was greeted by the dental assistant, who quickly took me back to the cleaning room. I hadn’t even taken off my coat when the dentist was in the room, asking about dental history and if I would take a seat. The exam started out pretty typical as he examined each tooth and my gums and it took an interesting turn when he started the “cleaning,” which felt like more of a power washing for my teeth. Here in France was my first exposure to the water pik. After doing a little research, I discovered there is manual scaling and power driven scaling (with a water pik). Ah-ha! Apparently, the power scaling with the water pik is also significantly faster than a manual cleaning. After the scaling was complete, he polished my teeth and told me I didn’t need X-Rays (unlike Jim) and that my teeth were perfect (hah!). Then he escorted me into his office (where I paid) and we chatted a bit about how long we’d been in Toulouse, where we were from, how long we would be living in Toulouse, and how we heard about him. Then he walked me to the door, told me to have a nice weekend and he’d see me again in a year.
I texted Jim when I walked out and we exchanged similar thoughts/sentiments. Wow, so fast. Wow, what a gorgeous office. Wow, only once a year. Then we laughed about how haircuts and dentist visits are incredibly prompt, but I can wait in the checkout line at a grocery store for more than half an hour.
If anyone here is looking for a dentist – he’s great. We recommend him, and now I’m (kinda) thinking about getting one of those air floss toothbrushes…