Going to the Dentist in Japan

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To many people the sound of the dentist’s drill puts shivers down their spine, but sometimes putting off dental treatment is just not an option and a visit to the dentist is required. Besides, your oral environment can impact on your whole health so it is recommended that you have regular checkups rather than just visit when something is wrong. There are nearly 65,000 dental surgeries in Japan so finding one near you should not be a problem. However finding a good dentist close to you that speaks English may be a challenge and you may have to settle for one that can’t speak English.

Finding an English-speaking Dentist
A full list of English-speaking dental clinics in Nagoya is available at the Nagoya International Center Information Counter. Tel: 052-581-0100 e-mail info@nic-nagoya.or.jp. Tuesday – Sunday (09:00 – 19:00). Please note that even though these dentists can understand English, but other staff including the receptionist will most likely not be able to.

Photo: Wikipedia

The Cost
If you are enrolled in National Health Insurance (kokumin-kenkō-hoken 国民健康保険) or Social Insurance (shakai hoken 社会保険) through your employer, then you will pay only 30% of the total cost of your dental visit.

All surgical and conservative treatments and certain prosthetic treatments are included in the scope of benefits under the national health insurance program. However, certain prosthetic and orthodontic treatments, whitening, ceramic & gold crowns, and implants are not covered. In such cases, dental fees are negotiated between the dentist and patient, with the patient paying the entire sum directly to the practitioner.

Follow up treatment (for example for large cavities / root canals) is usually split between several visits and the dental clinic will charge you a basic follow-up fee 再診料 on top of the required treatment.

Model Cost Example
Minor molar cavity – cavity restoration treatment using composite resin – concluded over one visit.
The length and style of treatment may vary depending upon the oral health of the patient.
Data provided by the Japan Dental Association.

Model Procedure Total Cost (Cost paid by patient)
Basic Cost  – Initial visit fee

2180 Yen
Medical Management  – Dental disease management fee  (charged on first visit) (1100 Yen )
Digital Imaging Exam
Single image Dental X-ray (cost of film, procedure, and examination) 480 Yen
Digital Maintenance Fee 100 Yen
Injection – application of local anesthetic
Dental Restoration / Replacement
Immediate Treatment – (may include fee for  anesthetic, medication,  dental adhesive, tooth preparation, enamel etching, enamel bonding)
1200 Yen
Cavity restoration 1480 Yen
Materials 280 Yen
Polishing and finishing of filling
Total ※(          )price in brackets is the 30% share 5720 Yen (1716 Yen )

Useful Vocabulary

  • 自費治療 jihi chiryō or 保険外hokengai chiryō –  Treatment not-covered by insurance.
  • 保険治療/ hoken chiryō – Treatment covered by insurance.
  • 初診料 / shoshinryō - Fee for initial office visit.
  • 再診料 / saishinryō – Fee for follow-up fee.
  • 歯が痛いです。 I have a toothache.    Ha ga itai desu.
  • 我慢できないくらい痛いです。  The pain is unbearable.   Gaman dekinai kurai itai desu.
  • 触ると(とても)痛いです。 It hurts a lot when it is touched.   Sawaru to (totemo) itai desu.
  • 歯が折れました。    I broke a tooth.   Ha ga oremashita.
  • 歯ぐきが腫れて痛いです。  My gums are swollen.   Haguki ga harete itai desu.
  • 親知らずが痛いです。 A wisdom tooth hurts.    Oya-shirazu ga itai desu.
  • 詰めている物が取れました。 A filling came out.   Tsumeteiru-mono ga toremashita.
  • かぶせている物が取れました。  An artificial crown came off.   Kabuseteiru- mono ga toremashita.
  • 入れ歯が壊れました。   A denture is broken.    Ireba ga kowaremashita.

To learn more about the Nagoya International Center,
please watch our video.

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