Dental deliberations: Kyoto

Who here is bad at remembering to schedule dentist apppointments? (Me!) Yes, I will admit it has been well over a year since I last got things cleaned up. I don’t even have a real excuse, as- despite living in a foreign country- I have found a clinic full of professionals that speak English.

If you live in Japan, hopefully you are aware of something called the AMDA. This organization offers help to those living in Japan whose native language is not Japanese. They will assist you in finding hospitals and clinics in your area with translators available. (Disclaimer: the translators may not be there on the day you want to go or may not be able to speak aa fluently as you expect, so bring a dictionary and expect less rather than more.) I have used this service once or twkce but now feel comfortable enoigh using big search engine sites to find what I want.

Enter Nakai Dental Clinic.

Located in Kyoto City by City Hall, this is an easy to find, friendly place that I have visited a few times now. Staff communicate in English unless you indicate that Japanese is fine. You can call or, for people like me who don’t care for phonecalls, you can email to book an appointment.

Something to keep in mind: while I have yet to experience this for myself, I have heard of dental clinics in Japan who will try to make you come in multiple times over the course of a month for the consultation, x-rays, and cleaning, all on separate days. If you are concerned about getting things done in a timely manner, it never hurts to indicate you want all services done at once.

After you make the appointment, the procedure is pretty similar to any other dentist I have been to. Give your name and your insurance card, along with the dental clinic card if you have been there before- oh yes, the card.

This may be something other countries already do but I never experienced in the States. The first time you go to a hospital or  clinic in Japan, you register your basic information with them. When you finish, you are presented with a patient card for that place, which you use to check in from then on. I have, uh… at least eight such cards, two of which I use with any regularity. Others I have picked up out of necessity while traveling and needing something checked out.


When that is all done you wait in a teeny lobby until your name is called and you are taken in to have your teeth looked at. They check for cavities, gingivitis, the whole works. They will spend a few minutes going over your results with you, then send you to another room for your cleaning/xrays/whatever you’re there for.

The dentist who runs the place tends to see you after the hygienist is done with you. After which you pay and are sent on your merry way. Barring any unforseen circumstances, you’ll be sent a postcard reminding you to go back in for your “maintenance cleaning” six months later.

I am a very fortunate individual who has never had a cavity in her life, but who generally botches up regular visits, so I have never paid more than a thirty dollar copay (3,000¥) each time. What you pay may vary.

Why am I sharing all of this with you lovely readers now?

Bdcause the hygienist remembered me and gave me a thorough scolding for not coming in after so long.

“Have you been busy?” she asked sweetly as I settled into my chair.

“Uhh, kind of.”

“Well, as long as you’ve been flossing every day and brushing three times a day I am sure there is.nothing to worry about.”

We looked at each other for a moment, her with her too-sweet smile and me with a much more awkward one. We both knew that hadn’t been the case. I let out a non-committal chuckle and left it at that.

How often do you go to the dentist? Do you get scolded? Or are you praised each time?


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