Monday, May 15, 2006

Mental Dental

It's something of a cliché to blog about one's visit to the dentist in Japan. Everybody does it...enough, at least, to discourage me from doing the same. But as nothing else exciting is happening lately...

A while ago I started having problems with one of my front teeth. It looked a different color than my other teeth, and it was becoming sensitive to cold fluids. Taking into account that I hadn't visited a dentist in nearly three years, it occurred to me that I might be due for some real work. I considered my symptoms and made a little bet with myself that the tooth was dead and I needed a root canal.

Today I had my first consultation and found out that my self-diagnosis was correct. I won the bet, and paid myself the money (which will come in handy when the $1,000 dentist bill comes due).

I've read a lot of Japan dentist horror stories, but I think they must have all been written by people who just wandered into a random clinic in their neighborhood because so far, my experience at the dentist's office has been fine. I'll wait until my treatment is finished to give the final verdict. (One often-made point that I cannot refute; what is normally accomplished in one or two visits to an American dentist requires three or four visits to a Japanese one.)

If you see me in the next few days, don't hit me in the face. My tooth is stuffed with cotton and it feels fragile.

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