Always trust your gut
So earlier this summer, one of my childhood fillings broke partially and I needed to get it replaced. My wonderful dentist was on vacation, so I had to find a replacement dentist and ended up booking an appointment with one just above my gym. I was surprised to see how young she was, but she was very friendly and had immediate availability - which maybe should have been my first clue.
She took a look at my broken filling and said "Oh la la - that one is too close to the nerve and can't be replaced. We are going to have to do either an inlay or a crown". Given the cost of those (300€ and 1000€ respectively), and that she was pushing me to replace all of my other fillings as a preventative measure, I said "No thank you. Surely there must be other options?". She finally said she could do a resin filling for 47€ and I said "Sold!". I had sort of a weird feeling about it though, like I didn't really trust her to do a good job since she had been pushing so hard for the crown. But my dentist was gone for the whole month and I was leaving for the US soon and certainly didn't want to get it done there, so we proceeded.
She started drilling....and drilling....and drilling. I was starting to wonder if she was going to come back and say she had no choice but to do a crown, but she eventually stopped and put the resin on and I was good to go. She warned me though that I would feel a lot of pain afterwards and maybe for a few days. And boy did I.
Unfortunately the pain has continued off and on for the past two months, but with my busy schedule, I haven't had a free day to make a dentist appointment. I finally got around to it this week, and lo and behold, that biatch left a hole in my tooth! And because of that, a cavity had started. Great, huh? My real dentist was shocked, and that pretty much confirmed that she did it on purpose so that when I came back saying it was still hurting, she could insist on the crown.
Apparently dental studies are now quite costly in France and many students end up taking loans, similar as in the US. And so when they are starting out and have to repay them, they charge their patients a fortune and do all kinds of necessary procedures in order to do so. My dentist told me of a story of one patient whose dentist had insisted she get a very costly procedure. She didn't feel right, so she came in for a second opinion and it turns out it wasn't necessary at all. My dentist called the other dentist to find out why and his answer was "Hey, what do you expect, I have a loan to reimburse".
I don't know about you guys, but this floored me. I guess I would maybe expect this in the US, but I was naive enough to think these kinds of things didn't exist in France. So the takeaway for me is 1) avoid young dentists if you can, 2) always get a second opinion if something doesn't feel right or seems too expensive (my dentist charges 600€ for a crown instead of 1000€!), and 3) it really is worth trekking across town if you've found someone you can trust.
And maybe there should be a 4) in there saying to avoid Dr Laurène Pollak on rue Vaugirard in the 15th....