For a while now, I've had in mind doing a post about dentists, or the shortage of dentists, here in the French countryside. The problem is that writing about our dental adventures requires a lot of typing, and with my finger brace that's not so easy.
Two or three years ago, the dentist we had been going to since we moved here in 2003 went into retirement. He was very good, and we were sorry to lose him. For me and Walt both, he repaired a couple of broken fillings. Those are the only tooth problems we've had, but Dr. Christian Bigot (his real name; Christian is a common first name in France, and Bigot is a common last name here in the Saint-Aignan area) was also great when it came to regular checkups and cleanings (a cleaning is called a détartrage in French).
There are two other dentists in Saint-Aignan at this point. One is a man who doesn't gladly take new patients, and if you can get an appointment with him it's six months out. The other is a woman, Dr. G, who has a bad reputation, as I've since learned. She is gruff and brusque in both manner and practice. I went to see her at least twice, but it wasn't a pleasant experience either time. Walt felt the same way about her. He said the détartrage she did for him was pretty painful.
I went to see her about a year ago because one of my teeth had become very sensitive, and I periodically felt a tingling sensation coming from that area. It's a tooth with a crown on it. I went to see the fearsome Dr. G. about it. She asked me which tooth was bothering me. I told her I wasn't sure because the tingling and the sensitivity seemed to be happening between two teeth, and I couldn't tell which one was causing it.
"Well if you can't tell which tooth it is," she barked at me, "how do you expect me to know what to do about it?" I looked at her, a little stunned. "I guess I can do an x-ray," she said, exasperated. I told her (this is all in French, of course) that I was kind of hoping she might suggest that. I guess I could have just asked for an x-ray to begin with, but I figured it was the dentist's job to tell me what needed to be done.
I didn't want a small dental problem to turn into a major toothache. I'm happy to have pretty good dental health, but I owe that to several good dentists I've been lucky to find over the past 35 years. I also had a very bad experience with a dentist in Paris back in the early 1980s, and I don't want to go through that again.
Read part 2 here.