Alpha Omega’s Covid Year – A (Covid) Year in Provence

31/07/2021

Dr Thierry Meyer

To my Alpha Omega friends,

For those of you who do not know, there are nine AO chapters in France. I am part of the Marseille Chapter in the South of France. AO Paris and AO Strasbourg have been the most active chapters even during the Covid crisis; with AO Paris brilliantly organising and hosting almost all the webinars for the French chapters.

Those two chapters were the first to host live events again since the end of the second lockdown. Most of the others are waiting the return of normal life. Mandatory masks and catering individual trays do not go hand in hand with a warm, friendly, and fun atmosphere which are the DNA of AO. Whilst webinars have been very handy, most of us are totally fed up with them and want live events back! Our sponsors do not want to pay anymore for webinars, they want to meet the dentists.



The official AO re-opening for most of the chapters will be in September. We are hopeful that nothing happens to derail this and that our members feel safe in returning to meetings in person.

As health workers, dentists are leading the way in encouraging people to get the vaccination as there was a lot of debate, as usual, in France. At least they were just debates and there were no strikes this time! The vaccine and PCR tests are free in France and people are able to choose what brand of vaccine they want. When you are vaccinated, you still have to do PCR tests to travel, so many are hesitating and asking why they have to get vaccinated.

In my dental practice we have eased some of the very strict rules but most of them are still part of our daily routine, but patients appreciate our efforts, especially our South Korean vacuum device for aerosols, they can’t miss it anyway.  Bleaching and veneers are popular treatments for many patients, potentially a side effect of the pandemic?!? People want a better smile for a better life.

Many French dentists around the age of 65 have decided to retire earlier because of the fear of Covid, the protocols, the heavier administrative rules, and also flat fees for private dentistry; (as low as 400€ for a zirconia crown, 33€ for tooth removal, 110€ for a molar endodontic treatment, 43€ for a clean-up, 80€ for the repair of a removable partial denture.) There is always a way around these, but for some dentists the easiest way was to leave the world of dentistry. Even though the Government encourage dental clinics, as non-profit organisations, they spring up everywhere but not in areas needing dentists, only in premium city spots! Behind the non-profit label, there is of course a “hidden cash machine” but hush, hush, hush…

Anyway, where we are going with the vacation is the main concern with patients for now! Curfew stopped at the end of June and restaurants reopening were fully booked. Dining out makes you feel like you are on vacation somewhere far from home. Joy and big smiles on every face!

Let’s hope the Covid crisis is really behind us now because watching the world we know, we have to be cautious. Only time will tell us the truth about facts & numbers vs logic & rationality in this pandemic. For the moment let’s hope that vaccines allied to science will enable us to avoid more lockdowns and get us back to normal life with our friends, families.



I want to add some words about another dangerous virus sweeping the world: anti-Semitism. The recent events have confirmed to me that whatever Israel does to protect its citizens the battle with the media is lost. The media’s indignation is selective and passionate when it’s about the only democracy in the Middle East. The instantaneous emotion disseminated by social media gives a biased reality which is feeding hatred against Jews all over the world; even though they are not Israeli citizens and have absolutely nothing to do with this conflict, their only fault is to be what they are: J.E.W. That’s antisemitism!

To conclude, I’d like to quote Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks  ztz”l.

“ I think of Judaism as an ode to joy. Jews have known suffering, isolation, hardship and rejection, yet they never lacked the religious courage to rejoice. A people that can know insecurity and still feel joy is one that can never be defeated, for its spirit can never be broken nor its hope destroyed.”

Dr Thierry Meyer,

International Director – AO Board
Past President Alpha Omega Marseille Chapter France

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