We're off to Edinburgh next week, so you might think that we're off to see round the castle, eat haggis, and track down JK Rowling scribbling in her corner caff. But no, none of that. I've just spent the day ringing round dentists. Why? Because I think that I'll be able to pay for the whole trip with the savings I'll make by going to a dentist in the UK rather than to one here in France.
That was certainly the case last time I went to London; instead of shelling out for the 1,300 euros worth of inlay and ceramic crown which 3 different French dentists has assured me was the only solution, I had my chipped filling repaired in 15 minutes for a total cost of £45.
This time round it's another filling which the French dentist says will need a root canal and a crown for a price which once again wouldn't leave any change from 1,000 euros. I don't think so. From a look at the x-ray, which I sent over to Edinburgh by email, the dentist thinks it looks like another patch-up job for much the same money as the last one.
Finding a dentist in the UK is much easier than the papers would have you believe. You just look up the lists onwww.yell.co.uk and ring round. Naturally as an expat you won't need to register for NHS treatment, and private dental costs in the UK are much the same as in France. It's also worth noting that if you have a French mutuelle you can usually claim for dental costs incurred in the UK, and of course if you were to have a dental emergency abroad, your basic French health insurance would also reimburse some of the cost.
This is not to say French dentists are worse than UK ones, just different. And perhaps it is better to crown everything in sight if you can afford it. What do I know? I've got a set of nashers but I'm not a tooth-puller. Plenty of people go to French dentists and are very happy with the results. I go myself, for cleaning and check ups and x-rays and as far as I can tell they do all of those things in France exactly the same way as they do in the UK.
But if I'd had all the crowns and inlays and root canals that my French dentist has recommended over the years, I'd be around 8,000 euros poorer now. (Always assuming I'd ever had that sort of money in the first place of course.)
So if all goes to plan in Edinburgh, once I've had my dodgy back-nasher patched up, with the savings on my dental bill I expect we'll be going round the castle, pigging out on haggis and exploring the shops with a vengeance.
Or maybe I'll get my French glasses prescription filled in Spec Savers and really make some economies...
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