Braving the Dentist in Japan
There will be a lot tired and disappointed soccer fans in Japan today. I have yet to turn on the box and see how badly everyone is taking it. I can only hope that soccer will disappear from our screens very very soon. I feel bad for the team since it all came down to a ball hitting the cross bar and bouncing the wrong way. I also felt bad for my husband who stayed up to nearly 2am to see Japan lose. He had to get up at 6:30. I stayed in bed and snored my head off until nearly 8am.
Today I made an appointment at the dentist. I hate to admit it but it has been well over a year since I last visited one. I had a very negative view of the dentists in Japan. I have mistakenly been blaming them for the state of the nations teeth. There are so many people with seriously terrible teeth here. Now I realise I can't really blame the dentist for that. They can't make people brush, floss and go for regular check ups. One thing that Japan lacks if fluoride in the water, that helps to strengthen teeth and prevent cavities. The other thing is that dental treatment is terribly cheap here, as it is covered by insurance, so most people don't go for regular check ups until there is something really wrong because fixing the problem doesn't cost that much really, so why pay for prevention?
I sometimes see small children with black teeth which makes me shudder. I have also seen Junior high school aged kids with missing teeth, teeth sticking out at all angles or teeth so yellow you would think they had been drinking coffee for 20 years.
So I have decided to get over my personal dislike of going to the dentist and made an appointment with one near where my new house is. My Ikebana teacher lives in the a same area so she recommended her dentist to me. Another benefit of this particular dentist is they have a reservation system. Many don't. You just show up and wait your turn. The last dentist I visited in Japan had 5 chairs in one room and you sat there and waited for someone to come and look in your mouth whilst listening to everyone else get their teeth drilled and what not. My new dentist at least has some partitions so you can have some privacy. I find that infinitely better although I would prefer to have a private room. Oh well. Another thing that is slightly annoying is that even a simple thing such as getting a filling done will take about 3 or more visits, instead of the 1, 2 max in NZ. I'm not sure about the whole process but it can be very drawn out, which must put people off too if they are busy. Who really wants to find time to go to the dentist 3 times! It is bad enough having to show up once every six months.