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General Articles

A Fortunate Encounter with a Nice Dentist

By Annie Sweet

The concrete rose to meet me at Marseille Airport and my mouth took the brunt of the fall. I’d had such a wonderful journey down from my hilltop haven in Aups, a gentle warm day in January, no traffic, no one behind me on the mountain trying to do sixty on a hairpin bend, no one up my backside trying to run me off the road. So when I arrived in a sedate and reasonable time to pick up my son Andrew at Marseille, all was well, until I came a cropper.

I went down so hard, I couldn’t even sit up for a minute, and I watched drops of blood fall onto my yellow coat and felt around to find whether my teeth were still all there. My god did they hurt, although they seemed to be in place. I got up, limped across the tarmac, through the hut that passes for Terminal 2 and shuffled into the lady’s room to examine the mess that was my mouth. I looked like Little Rabbit Foofoo with bits of gravel stuck on for good effect.

Andrew tapped me on the shoulder to surprise me, but it was he who got the shock, and his face had so much concern I wanted to let go and finally cry. However, when life is centred around eating and food, as mine is, this was a penalty too far. Why did I do it? If we are all responsible for whatever happens in our lives, and we create all of it, what the hell was I up to?

The following two days I dined on soft mushy bread bits, soup and coffee with a straw. As the days wore on I looked more like a bad case of cheap plastic surgery, with pouting, uneven lips. Although the pain in my face was receding, one front tooth still hurt like crazy and was slowly dropping, so I had one tooth longer than the other. When you’re as vain as I am, that’s not good.

What to do? Fly back to my UK dentist? Look in the local village? It kept me up at night wondering what on earth to do. My friend told me to beware of untested dental surgeons, who could leave the vulnerable patient with one tooth a different colour from the other, or with a black rim at gun level. Scary stuff. Finally, I took up a suggestion from Andrew and we looked up a dentist in Nice. I felt better already A dentist in Nice. I am so cool. I was staying in Nice overnight to pick up Wolfi, my husband, who had flown in from Heathrow very late Sunday night, so I got a Monday morning appointment at 9am. I told the Uber driver that I had flown in to see my dentist in Nice.

We walked up three flights of stairs in a wonderful fin de siècle building and clanged a bell on a huge couple of doors. Opening it was a tiny little girl, aged about 12, who bad us wait in the waiting room. She turned out to be the dentist. Her name was Dr Fanny Quinier. I think she was working as a Bond Girl on the side. She was under five feet tall, and a size 4, with long brown hair and big brown eyes. She was quite stern, as you’d have to be with a name like Fanny.

She worked totally alone. She answered the door, she worked as the dental nurse, she was the dentist. But she was amazingly proficient. Xrays of my tooth revealed a break in two places, and so she numbed me out and set to work with some gigantic drill that sent plumes of smoke up into the air. It turned out that part of the tooth was salvageable and so, after an hour, she was able to build up a temporary crown for me so I looked half way reasonable. ‘But do NOT bite on this tooth’, with a violent shaking of her head. ‘Never, never, NEVER, because it is very delicate and it will NOT last. ‘And do not fall over again please’ she smiled. I’m definitely going back. She did a great job and I love having a dentist in Nice.


Annie Sweet and her husband Wolfi have recently moved to Provence from the UK, and specialise in how to have wacky and wonderful relationships over 50. If you’d like some va va voom in your relationship, look no further than the Sweets’ Seven Steps to a Magical Life.

The Sweets will be holding an event near Nice very soon.


Saturday, 1 April 2017    Section: General Articles
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