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.)