A dental surgeon, commonly referred to as a "dentist", is a medical health professional who provides care for the dental organ, jaws and surrounding tissues. The specialty practiced is called dentistry or dental surgery. There are currently more than 40,000 dentists in France. They are not doctors in the strict sense of the word, since they do not study medicine, but follow a different curriculum at a faculty of dentistry.
Dentistry is a medical specialty that is practiced almost exclusively in a liberal mode. Only about 5,000 French dentists are hospital or other employees. As with other health professionals, there are strong geographical disparities in terms of density. While 100,000 inhabitants of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region have more than 70 liberal dentists at their disposal, the same number of Normans manage with about thirty. While their average density in France remains stable, the total number of active dentists is still increasing.
On average, a dentist sees about 900 patients in the course of a year and receives 271,000 euros in fees. With more than 1,200 patients per person per year, dentists in Normandy are the most in demand by far. On the other hand, a dentist in Corsica sees 720 patients a year.
In total, dentists in France perform around 18 million radiology examinations on their patients in metropolitan France every year in order to find cavities or other hidden dental problems. Furthermore, they perform over 10 million dental protheses procedures. The accompanying dental specialty is called "prosthodontics" and focuses on the rehabilitation and maintenance of oral functions like chewing as well as the overall aesthetic appearance of a patient's teeth. Interestingly, the idea of improving oral health through protheses placement was pioneered by Pierre Fauchard, a famous Frenchman (1679-1761) widely considered to be the "father of modern dentistry".
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