I had to do the inevitable the other week and finally go to the dentist here in Japan.
First things first, I am absolutely terrified of going to the dentist. Like shaking, feeling sick level of fear. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I don’t frequently go… I just really hate it. Back home in the UK, every time I went I would always come out with more problems than I had going in. Not to imply anything directly, but I think the fact that my dental care was FREE until I graduated University might have had something to do with it.
So while I was at work training the other week, I bit into some Lawson karaage (basically chicken nuggets) and had a sharp pain go straight through one of my front teeth.
Number 2 in this diagram.
It spread into a headache and was hurting non stop. I thought that I had shattered it, so I knew that I had to go to the dentist. Unfortunately it was a week of national holidays, also known as Golden Week. Over these days, most business, especially dentists, are closed. I had to wait to get an appointment. Which made it very hard to eat, sleep and basically do anything through the pain. Pain killers here are pretty weak too. But I persevered and got help with booking the appointment. I would be going there alone however.
This is a tooth that has gone through so much with UK dentists. It’s been drilled into, filled, cemented to the one next to it, separated, filed, buffed.. It’s no surprise that when I got to the dentist here, I was told that I would need a root canal.
Not what someone who hates dentists wants to hear…
So, in the first appointment I had to fill out a questionnaire about what was wrong (in Japanese of course), had to be seen and had to find out what was wrong. The dentist spoke really quickly and I could barely understand (and tbf my Japanese is pretty good), so I just said yes a lot. Next thing I knew I was being prepared for work to be done. The dentist did notice that I was a little confused so showed me what he was going to do using root canal diagrams.
He drilled a hole into my tooth (after giving me a local anaesthetic of course) and then that was it. Nothing. I moved on to the reception with a numb face and paid for my visit.
In Japan, it’s common for dental work to be spread out over multiple visits. For the money and also not to overwhelm the patient…. (of which I certainly was). I booked another appointment for a week later and left with a huge hole in my tooth.
Eating was still hard. But surprisingly enough, the tooth stopped hurting.
Today, (a week later), I had my 2nd appointment. I was fully prepared for the filing and cleaning to be done….However, he ended up just shoving some antiseptic covered cotton wool in the hole and sent me on my merry way. All of which took no less than 5 minutes.
I have part 3 booked for next Tuesday evening, so we’ll see how that goes. Until then, I have to overcome eating. I did buy soft food and honestly some baby food. I have to eat at school with the kids some days this week and I have to set an example… I can’t just sit there with a yoghurt. Gotta get creative yo.
Fingers crossed I won’t have to go more than 4 times this month…