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Dentistry in France

Updated: Sep 17, 2022



Find out more about dentistry in France by reading up on topics such as the difference between public and private dental treatment, how to locate a dentist, the fees, and insurance options.


It is well recognised around the globe that France provides exceptional levels of medical treatment to its patients. Dental care is included in this category. However, since you are a resident of another country, you are required to get familiar with the procedures for registering with a dentist, scheduling visits, as well as determining prices and insurance coverage.


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Through Cigna Global, you and your family will have access to the highest quality dental care that is available in France. Specialists in international healthcare have a variety of plans that cover a wide range of medical services, from general practitioners and dentists to specialists. Get a quotation from Cigna Global immediately to ensure that you can move into your new home with complete confidence.


The French COVID-19 base


Everyone has had a rough time during this period of the COVID-19 epidemic. A significant number of people who go abroad find themselves cut off from their friends and loved ones back in their native country. As a foreigner, it might be difficult at times to discover essential information on the prevalence of coronavirus infection, local measures and limits, and now, luckily, vaccines. Vaccinations are now available.



Visit the official Coronavirus (COVID-19) website to get information on the overall coronavirus situation in France, including vaccination regimens and the most recent restrictions.


Consult our guide on the COVID-19 pandemic in France if you would need information specifically about how the COVID-19 pandemic impacts France.



The country's national healthcare system


Protection Maladie Universelle is the name of France's national programme that provides healthcare to everyone (PUMA). Anyone who has been living in France for more than three months is eligible to sign up for health insurance that is sponsored by the state. The exemption to this rule is comprised of international students. The vast majority of students are required to make contributions to the student health insurance programme known as the sécurité sociale étudiante (student social security).


(Photograph by Pascal Bachelet courtesy of BSIP, Universal Images Group, and Getty Images)


The state will pay for 70% of the patients' standard out-of-pocket expenditures for doctor consultations. Additional insurance is provided by mutuelles, which are private health insurance firms, to cover the majority of the remaining 30%. Dentistry, which is practised in France, fortunately, falls inside the purview of these healthcare provisions.


In addition, private health insurance may provide coverage for specialised medical care as well as alternative or complementary treatments, which are often not included in publicly funded medical care. Because of this, overseas residents who do not have coverage via the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or another kind of insurance will be required to enrol in a private health insurance plan within their first three months of living in the country.


Discover all there is to know about the healthcare system in France.


Therefore, if you have been living in France for more than three months, you are eligible to register for the public healthcare system in France. Simply go to the Caisse Primaire Assurance Maladie (CPAM) or primary health insurance fund page on the Ameli website to locate the office that serves your area (in French).


Before you may register for French healthcare, you will first need to get French social security set up by your employer. If you are self-employed, you are required to get in touch with the Regime Social des Indépendants (RSI).


After registering, you will be given a carte Vitale that may be used to submit a reimbursement claim for the majority of your medical sessions.


Dental care in France

According to the statistics maintained by the OECD, the number of dentists practising in France has been on an upward trend over the last several years. At present, there are well over 42,000 dentists actively practising in the United States. This is a greater number of dentists per capita than in the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), or Australia, but it is a lower number than in the majority of other nations that are members of the European Union (EU).


In principle, your state social security covers 70% of the cost of most dental treatments, and supplementary private health insurance may cover the remaining 30% of the cost of dental care. However, dentists set their fees at levels that are far higher than the state-recommended tariffs for the majority of services. As a consequence, many people skip dental care because they are unable to pay the out-of-pocket charges.


Despite public subsidies, socioeconomic disparities are reflected in dentistry in France, according to research published in 2015 by De Gruyter. People with lower incomes are more likely to forgo dental care due to budgetary constraints than higher-earning members of the community. On the other hand, the percentage of people who stop receiving therapy has been going down.


State dental care in France

The public healthcare system employs the vast majority of dentists. Oral health has been recognised as one of the national objectives by the French Ministry of Health and Social Affairs (le ministère des Solidarités et de la Santé) as of the year 2007. This entails obligatory and cost-free dental checkups for youngsters between the ages of six and nine, twelve and fifteen, and eighteen. Dentists also suggest getting checks once a year, but you have to make sure you do not forget to schedule them.


Through their card Vitale, French citizens and residents who are eligible for social security may have access to significantly discounted dental treatment. In France, the official prices of fundamental dental services and healthcare are determined by the government. The patient is responsible for making an initial payment to the dentist, but the state's healthcare system will reimburse them for 70% of the official rate. These include extractions, fillings, and other common dental operations such as treatment for gum disease and other oral infections. This coverage at the state level was extended to encompass dental prosthesis in the year 2021, including bridges, crowns, and moveable prosthetics. Your optional top-up insurance, also known as a mutuelle, will pay the whole or a portion of the outstanding expenditures. It depends on the coverage you have.


Private dental treatment in France

Dentists may be classified as either contracted or non-contracted within the context of the healthcare system (conventionnés or non-conventionné). The conventionnés group is now composed of two distinct subgroups: Secteur 1 and Secteur 2. Non-conventionné occurs under Secteur 3.


Dentists who are conventionnés Secteur 1 are required to charge state-mandated fees for all routine dental procedures. Because social security pays for 70% of these dentists' fees, their services will be the most affordable option. The prices charged by dentists who are known as conventionnés Secteur 2 are higher, but they comply with state rules. Because their prices are not controlled, non-conventionné Secteur 3 dentists charge the highest fees of all the dental specialities. You will need to have decent dental insurance or deep funds to pay the balance of their bills since state security will only reimburse you for a tiny portion of their fees.


Dental Insurance

In France, it is common to practise purchasing optional dental insurance to cover all or a portion of the remaining 30% of the cost of dental care that is not covered by social security. Most private insurance (mutuelle) carriers also compensate for non-routine dental care treatments. The following are some reputed insurance companies in France that provide a variety of coverage options:


● Cigna Global

● ZAVA FR

● APRIL International

● Globality Health

● Allianz Care


However, it is possible that your private dental insurance may not cover all of your procedures. Research on oral health found, for instance, that the majority of insurance plans cover medical procedures like scaling and root planing, the removal of dental calculus, and surgical implantation only in part, if at all (2022).


In addition, certain dental insurance plans will have a maximum yearly reimbursement amount, known as a "mutuelle dentaire avec plafond." This means that the coverage will only pay up to a certain sum each year. Your dental insurance may also set a limit on the number of teeth that may be fixed or the number of crowns that can be replaced in a given year. Therefore, if you anticipate needing a substantial amount of dental treatment, you may want to consider purchasing an unlimited dental insurance plan known as a mutuelle dentaire sans plafond. These monthly premiums will, of course, be far more costly.


You also have the option of subscribing to supplemental health insurance (surcomplémentaire de santé) if your private health insurance does not cover all of your dental care requirements. This supplementary plan provides the third layer of coverage in the overall structure. Be careful to read the small print, though, since some of these plans need a membership that lasts for a full year before you are eligible to submit any claims.


You might also have access to specialised insurance choices for treatments such as orthodontics or dental implants, with coverage of up to 2,000 Euros for each implant.


You may use an online comparison tool such as LeLynx or LesFurets to examine the many dental health insurance plans available to you and choose the one that best meets your requirements.


Finding a dentist

You may locate a dentist in France by using the Doctolib website, just as you can locate any other kind of health practitioner. Search for a dentist or surgeon and include your postcode in the search. If you require a paediatric dental practitioner, look for dentiste pédiatrique.


Be careful who you choose as your dentist. You must get many quotes for the dental work that you want since the fees that dentists charge for more involved procedures may vary greatly. However, the provision of high-quality treatment should always take precedence above cost, so you should not just go with the most affordable dentist you can find. Inquire with people you know, such as friends, coworkers, or neighbours, about their experiences and suggestions for certain dental facilities in France.


Finding an English-speaking dentist in France

The Doctolib website enables you to search their directories using the language that you speak, which is helpful if you do not feel comfortable addressing your dental issues in French. On the website of the Australian Embassy in your country, you will also discover a helpful list of dentists who speak English. Last but not least, you may join social media groups such as "Americans in France" or "Expatriates in Paris and Suburbs" to inquire about specific suggestions from other members.


Visiting a dentist

You have the option of phoning a dentist's office directly or using the online platform Doctolib to schedule an appointment with a dental professional. Be warned that the waiting lists for initial visits might be rather extensive (months), provided that the matter at hand is neither time-sensitive nor an emergency. You may need to get in touch with many dentists before you discover one who has additional openings. It is also worthwhile to look at less densely populated locations, such as those located on the fringes of large metropolitan centres.



When you arrive at your appointment, you will be required to provide your carte Vitale as well as any other insurance cards, including private ones, if you have them. If you do not have private insurance, you will be required to pay the whole cost of the consultation or treatment out of pocket and then submit a claim to your state insurance for reimbursement. Take into consideration the fact that dentists may charge a fee as a penalty for any missed appointments.


Following the first examination, a dentist is required to provide you with a written estimate of the cost of the dental procedure, which must include the following information:


A clear and comprehensive explanation of the therapy that is planned and/or the components that will be used


The total amount that will be charged for this treatment


The amount that is paid back by the health insurance provided by the state


After that, you should check your private dental insurance to see what portion of the remaining cost they will cover and how much of it you will be responsible for paying out of your pocket.


The cost of dental care in France

Scaling, the treatment of cavities, and root canals are examples of regular and fundamental procedures that have their prices regulated by the French social security system. However, because they are self-employed professionals, dentists in Secteur 1 are free to choose their pricing for more involved operations. Because of this, the cost of receiving prosthetic treatment, like dental crowns, implants, or dentures, may be rather high. This is due, in part, to the fact that the dentist often outsources the creation of bespoke prostheses or implants to other dental experts.


According to the laws, the fee that a Secteur 1 dentist must charge for a routine consultation is €23. The remainder, which must be paid for by either yourself or your health insurance, is covered by the €16.10 that is reimbursed by social security. Dentists practising in Secteur 2 or 3 often charge a significant premium for their services. However, the state health insurance will only repay the same amount, thus the remaining balance will be your responsibility to pay.


You may get an idea of the minimum state-set tariffs for various regular dental operations by looking at the following (all of which are paid on top of a consultation fee), and social security will reimburse you for them at a rate of 70%:


● Scaling: €29

● Treating cavities: €17–29 depending on the type of cavity

● Revitalizing an incisor or canine tooth: €34

● Extracting a baby tooth: €17

● Extracting an adult tooth: €33


Dentists are free to charge whatever fees they see fit for prostheses, and these fees might vary widely from one practitioner to the next. For example, although the state-mandated cost for a ceramic crown is €120, the vast majority of practitioners charge far more than that.


The following are some of the costs that are partly covered by social security, up to a certain limit:


Dental crown: €184


Denture (up to three teeth): €193


Full denture (14 teeth): €510


Three-piece bridge: €525


Low-cost dental treatment in France

Various dental care solutions are either free or offered at a reduced cost in France. On the other hand, these centres often depend on untrained students, might be overcrowded, and are typically directed at the most vulnerable members of the community (i.e., no or very low income or with no legal status). These are the following:


Dentistry faculties located inside university hospitals (CHU): fifth-year students provide patient care while being supervised by an instructor.


Free dental clinics, sometimes known as "dispensaries," are run by dentists who donate their time or are paid by dental groups.


M'T Dents is a programme that is managed by the state that offers free dental checkups to expectant mothers as well as youngsters.


Free or reduced-cost dental treatment is made available through dentists' groups. Some are available to anybody and everyone, while others may only be accessed by patients who are already receiving benefits or who are supported by the social welfare system. These are the following:


● Le bus social dentaire (a mobile clinic in the Paris region)

● l'APAD, Solident (Grenoble area)

● Implant pour tous (for dental implants at a reduced cost)



Children’s dental care in France


Although dentistry in France is mostly subsidised by the public healthcare system, which provides all children with access to high-quality health services, dental care in childhood nonetheless reflects socioeconomic differences in the country. Children in preschool who come from households with higher incomes have approximately three times fewer dental cavities than children who come from families with lower incomes, as stated in a report published in 2016 by INSEE (in French, page 188). This disparity may be attributable to improved oral hygiene practises, such as going to the dentist more frequently.


When you register for healthcare at your neighbourhood CPAM (Caisse Primaire Assurance Maladie) office, all that is required to have dental consultations for your kid covered by state security is for you to add them to your carte vitale. From there, they will be covered by state security. Even if the social security administration fully pays for certain consultations (most notably checkups once every three years), other treatments might be much more expensive. For the dental treatment of children, the following are some examples of tariffs that are established by the state and are reimbursed at a rate of 70%:


Cavity treatment costs between €19 and €34, depending on the kind of cavity being treated.


It costs €38 to devitalize an incisor or canine tooth, €58 to devitalize a premolar, and €94 to devitalize a molar.


When it comes to orthodontics, you are required to seek permission for reimbursement from the state health insurance programme (Assurance Maladie) in advance. This programme will typically pay between 70 and 100% of treatment costs for children under the age of 16. Again, keep in mind that state insurance only applies to tariffs that are established by the state, and the majority of practitioners will apply charges that are higher than this baseline, therefore it is important to acquire quotes from different providers.


Emergency dental treatment in France

If you find yourself in need of urgent dental care in France, you have two options: phone your neighbourhood dentist to find out if they have any emergency appointments available that day, or travel to the nearest university hospital (CHU) that houses a dentistry school.


Cost-sharing protocols must be followed for every emergency service. This indicates that the patient is responsible for covering the remaining 30%, often via their private health insurance. State insurance typically pays 70% of the cost. These kinds of emergency treatments include consultations, X-rays, the extraction of teeth, and root canal therapy, among other procedures.


Useful resources


● A website containing healthcare information and recommendations, known as Ameli. You may also get information on French healthcare insurance by calling an advise line that operates in English by dialling 3646 from inside France or +33 811 70 36 46 from outside the country

● Service Public is the official website of the French government. It includes a section on health and dentistry in France.

● Find a local dental care facility near you by consulting the National Federation of Health Centers (also known as the Federation Nationale des Centres de Sante, or FNCS).

● Aide Sociale is a resource that provides information on social help in France, such as dental treatment that is either free or offered at a reduced cost.


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