The Dentist.

When I was living in Nagoya I had the pleasure of visiting the dentist. At that time, the dentist told me (via translation, of course) that one of my teeth was really messed up. He said he could fill it for now but it may not last. He also said that if the filling came out I might need an expensive operation.

Well, yesterday I had just finished my lunch and was having a Hi-Chu when… out my filling popped. It didn’t hurt, but I was suddenly left with a gaping hole in my mouth.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to see a dentist yesterday. Instead, I was given directions to the nearest dentist and told to go this morning – by myself! To say I was terrified is a bit of an understatement. I had no idea what to expect, or how I was going to communicate.

Luckily, Hamamatsu is pretty well equipped for foreigners. I showed up at the dentist at 9:30, hoping to be seen before work. They didn’t have an English speaker today, but we managed to communicate with my broken Japanese and their English/Japanese manual. They would say something in Japanese and, if I looked confused, they would thumb through the book until they found a suitable phrase in English.

I was seen before 10am, which I was pretty impressed about. So, there I was, sitting in the dentist’s chair looking at an array of toys on display. Dentist Barbie was there, along with Woody and Jessie from Toy Story, some dentist Playmobil, and an assortment of stuffed toy teeth with various faces of anguish and pain. The nurse often asked me “だいじょうぶ?” (are you ok?). No, I was most certainly not . But I said “うん、だいじょうぶ” anyway.

After an x-ray and a little poke around the dentist spoke to me in fast Japanese. The nurse thumbed through her book and showed me the phrase “we’re going to pull your tooth”. “OK?”, she asked. “OK”, I sighed.

Pulling my tooth seemed like the best idea, but hadn’t the other dentist said it would require a big expensive operation? I didn’t really have a choice, though, and this place did seem a whole lot more professional, with its Mac computers showing me my x-ray and printing out information about my teeth.

So, they numbed my face, and yanked it out. And the whole time I had the dentist song from Little Shop of Horrors playing in my head…

Now, I’m sitting in Starbucks with an ice coffee to cheer me up as I wait for my face to wake up. I hope it wakes up before I start work. I have to go back to the dentist tomorrow morning to finish things off, and in the meantime I have a whole bunch of pills and mouthwash to keep me going.

So, the moral of this story? There are two. 1: choose your dentist in Japan carefully, but don’t worry too much about the language. 2: Hi-Chu are bad for your teeth!

(I wrote this post on my cellphone, so I apologise for any spelling mistakes or typos. I’ll fix it later.)

4 thoughts on “The Dentist.

  1. Ugh, just hate going to the dentist… everywhere in the world… I’ve had some ok experiences here, but also some not so great. (Same in the States though).

    Hope your mouth is ok!


  2. Eek! Hope you’re ok and have some strong painkillers. You will need them when their stuff wear off (I know from my own experience). UK dentists don’t give you any pills though – it’s left to you to work out what you need. Sounds like your dentist has been thorough at least.


  3. I really don’t want to go to a dentist in Japan. My teeth are so messed up that dentists love me because I have weird things going on that they’ve never seen before and I don’t want to deal with that conversation in a foreign language. Anyways… I had part of a tooth come out from Hi-Chu, lol. It was back in the US though. I had just visited the Japanese grocery and was eating it in the car on the way home and part of my tooth fell out. It was a baby tooth (yeah… I still have several) that was loose anyway. I ended up needing it filled. So Hi-Chu are bad for your teeth I guess! I’ll continue to eat them just because they’re good though. Maybe it was a good thing because it meant that I was able to have that tooth pulled before I came to Japan. 🙂


  4. I have traveled to a number of different countries and you can usually tell what kind of service you are going to get based on the available technology displayed in their office an the cleanliness. When you are in a major city in most countries you can find good dental practices but if you are outside the major metropolises you want to examine the dentist and his/her facilities before you let them examine you.


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