I went to see my dentist here in Japan for the first time about four months ago and it was really pleasant and my dentist is super cute and kind.

Everything was so different from what I was used to though. When I was living in Thailand, my dentist liked to laugh at me whenever I motioned my hands to indicate pain. But aside his questionable sense of humour, he spoke really good English. My dentist here in Japan, sweet as he is, cannot speak a lot of English but he tries so hard.

On my first visit, I was lying on the chair when he held up a piece of paper with the words written in English, “Nice to meet you. Where are you from?” I thought that was pretty sweet. In fact he did that about four times. Then the dental hygenist came in and put a really soft blanket over my body to keep me warm during the session. Even sweeter!

Before we started, I told him I am really afraid of pain. He couldn’t understand what I was saying at first so I started acting it out by grabbing a nearby tool and pretended to cry. I think the pretend-cry did one of two things or both – that I was a lunatic and that I have a serious illness. But he was ever so patient and asked me if I was in pain throughout the session. When we were about done, he said something about flossing and I said I haven’t been flossing because I’m concerned about the strings tangling up sea turtles (I’m not sure it’s a 100 percent true but flosses are plastic). He didn’t get it so I reached for my phone and started showing him pictures of turtles and there the poor man sat, looking at me in utter disbelief wondering if I was actually sane. When I finally stopped talking, he just said, ‘Floss.’

When he left, I thought I was done but that was when the sweet hygienist came in again and started playing a little tune and showed me how to brush my teeth with a bit of a dance. It was my turn to be stunned and pleasantly surprised. No one has ever danced for me in a dental clinic – hell – no one has ever danced for me anywhere ever. So I’ll take that dancing, thank you very much. I’ve been back a couple of times since but they don’t do the dancing thing anymore so I’m a bit sad about that. Now that I have established myself as the weird wacko at the clinic, I will certainly be visiting it again for my checkups but on a more serious note – I really need to learn Japanese because one simply cannot keep pointing and bowing and showing pictures on Google image.

2 thoughts on “My dentist experience in Japan

  1. Loved this. It is the ordinary, day to day things we do when living in a different country that make us realize how different it is. I’ll bet that dentist had a good story to tell his wife that evening.

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    1. He’s really kind and funny. I’m so humbled whenever I meet people making an extra effort to communicate with a foreigner. Definitely lucky I found this dentist. 🙂

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