Jul 6, 2016

How Much Does Dental Care Cost in Japan?

How Much Does Dental Care Cost in Japan? photo

In an earlier post here on City-Cost, 'Dental Care In Japan: About As Much Fun As … You’d Expect?!', we took an expat look at the oft maligned facet of life in Japan.  Ultimately though, however one feels about the standard of dental care in Japan, if you're here and your tooth hurts, then you need to go to the dentist.  Fortunately, someone once told us that there are more dental clinics in Japan than there are convenience stores.  Not sure if this is true, but you can be sure there are a lot.  What we want to try an do now, is answer the question; How much does dental care cost in Japan?  All costs are in Japanese yen.

Cost of dental care in Japan works on a points system.  Each type of treatment, the tools used, the materials added to one's gob, and the man power required to do it, all has a points value.  Much in the way that on game shows points = prizes, with dental care in Japan, points = yen.  More specifically 1 point = 10 yen. 

National heath insurance in Japan (社会保険, shakai hokken / 国民保険, kokumin hokken), for the most part (there are some age considerations) covers 70% of applicable treatment.  That means patients with insurance are required to pay the remaining 30%.  

All clinics in Japan (whether they accept national insurance or not - some of the posh ones don't) operate under the same points system as determined by the government.  Where prices might vary (and they will) is down to the materials/equipment/treatment that a clinic wants to use or has at their disposal.  

All clinics will charge a basic fee for a first-time appointment - 234 points.  Multiply by 10 yen = 2,340 yen.  Take off the 70% = 700 yen that patients with insurance must pay (plus whatever treatment is received after that).  All following appointments have a base fee of 45 points = 450 yen (without insurance) / 140 yen (with insurance).

Someone once showed us the government-produced chart that assigns points to treatment/materials etc.  They might as well have showed us a Jackson Pollock!  It made no sense whatsoever.  Luckily though, the people at CURE+, an online media providing support with health issues, have made a list of common dental procedures, comparing the costs with / without Japan's national health insurance.  We bring this to you here, slightly truncated for our needs.  We should declare here and now, that we are not dental experts.  Hopefully though, this will give a good idea of how much dental care costs in Japan. There will be variations, and the final word can only be given by clinics that you chose to visit.

Overview of the basic costs (regardless of insurance)

Recommendation of toothpaste / brushing techniques etc0 - 1,500 
Resin filling1,500 - 2,500
Fillings (inlay)1,500 - 60,000
Crowns, false teeth3,000 - 150,000
Tooth extraction + subsequent implant, bridge, dentures 5,000 - 900,000 


Prices of dental care in Japan depend on treatment.  Treatment depends on what stage of symptom you find yourselves at.  From the table above, we can see that prices start to get high when treatment involves fillings.  Here you choose between cost, looks, and durability.  Let's look at this in more detail.  

TreatmentCost with National InsuranceCost Without National Insurance
Gold/silver palladium alloy filling1,300 - 1,8005,000 - 30,000
Ceramic fillingn/a30,000 - 80,000
Hybrid ceramic fillingn/a30,000 - 40,000 
Gold fillingn/a30,000 - 50,000


A more advanced state of tooth decay may require a crown.  

TreatmentCost with National InsuranceCost Without National Insurance
Alloy (gold/silver palladium)3,000 - 5,000 20,000 - 50,000
Hard resin facing crown5,000 - 7,50020,000 - 50,000
Hard resin jacket crown3,000 - 5,000 30,000 - 40,000
All ceramic crownn/a100,000 - 150,000
Hybrid ceramic crownn/a50,000 - 100,000
Metal bondn/a100,000 - 150,000
Gold crownn/a50,000 - 100,000

Implants & Bridges

When decay has reached a kind of critical mass (our own terminology) and reached the gums, it might be time for extraction, and something else put in its place, i.e. implants or bridges.  How much are they then?

Treatment Cost with National InsuranceCost Without National Insurance
Implantn/a150,000 - 500,000
Bridge20,000 - 40,000150,000 - 900,000
Partial dentures5,000 - 13,000150,000 - 500,000


Technical speak, periodontal disease.

TreatmentCost with National InsuranceCost Without National Insurance
Initial inspection600 - 3,0002,000 - 20,000
Scaling (removing tartar)750 - 900 (all teeth)2,500 - 8,000 (all teeth)
Root planing180 - 220 (one tooth)600 - 5,000 (one tooth)
Periodontal surgical treatment3,000 - 5,000 10,000 - 150,000
Periodontal regeneration therapyn/a30,000 - 150,000

Summary of treatment for gums - How much does it cost from start to finish?

Stage of periodontal diseaseCost with National InsuranceCost Without National Insurance
Initial 5,000 - 10,000 10,000 - 50,000
Moderate 10,000 - 50,00050,000 - 500,000
Severe 30,000 - 10,000 200,000 - 3,000,000


Sometimes you have that feeling of wanting to be done with your teeth.  One of the Lord's worst creations!  Just whip em all out and replace them with plastic!  Hmm, check some of the prices for dentures in Japan below first ...

Treatment (type of denture)Cost with National Insurance Cost Without National Insurance
Plastic10,000 - 20,00020,000 - 60,000
Gold / platinum n/a150,000 - 600,000
Pure titanium / titanium alloyn/a200,000 - 400,000
Cobalt chrome alloyn/a150,000 - 250,000
Vitallium alloyn/a150,000 - 250,000


In some cases available on National Insurance.

TreatmentCost with National Insurance Cost Without National Insurance
Transplant7,000 - 10,00020,000 - 50,000 


That part of dentistry which concerns itself with crooked teeth and improper bites.  Non of this is covered by Japan's National Insurance.  So, how much does orthodontic dental care cost in Japan?

TreatmentCost with National Insurance Cost Without National Insurance
Initial inspectionn/a25,000 - 50,000
Wire straightening (brace)n/a500,000 - 1,000,000
Mouth piece straightening (brace)n/a300,000 - 900,000
Back teeth correctionn/a800,000 - 1,500,000


Another one that's not covered by Japan's National Insurance.  

TreatmentCost with National Insurance  Cost Without National Insurance
Home whitening (kind of DIY at home)n/a20,000 - 50,000  (12 teeth - upper/lower)
Office whitening (done in the clinic)n/a2,000 - 10,000 per tooth


Cold drinks, ice cream ... make me shudder!

TreatmentCost with National Insurance Cost Without National Insurance
Hypersensitivity treatment1501,000 - 2,000

Temporomandibular joint disease 

Wow!  Try saying that after a few beers!  This refers to pain in muscles and joints that work the jaw.  TMD for short.

TreatmentCost with National Insurance Cost Without National Insurance
Temporomandibular joint disorder treatment8,000 - 80,00050,000 - 5,000,000


We're learning a lot today, aren't we!  Bruxism sounds foreign, but it as common as muck.  It's the medical term for clenching/grinding teeth.

TreatmentCost with National Insurance Cost Without National Insurance
Treatment usually involves a mouth piece5,000 50,000 - 1,000,000

As we said at the start of the piece, the cost of dental care in Japan may vary between clinic.  We hope this gives you a fair idea of what to expect, or arms you with some knowledge about what you should be paying to the Japanese dentist.

If you've your own answers to the question, How Much Does Dental Care Cost in Japan?, we want to hear from you.  Let us know your experiences below.

Source: CURE+

Image: monica y garza Flickr License

Twitter: City_Cost_Japan




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  • helloalissa

    on Jul 7

    I'm happy to see a dentist here as needed when the cost of services without insurance is about ten percent of the cost in the states. I once considered visiting Japan for a crown, as the savings in cost would pay for my flight. In addition, I have more luck finding honest dentists who aren't making up things to charge you for. The medical system is really corrupt in the states... which is why we have 'medical tourism.'

  • City-Cost

    on Jul 8

    @helloalissa Thanks for the feedback. Personally, where I come from dental care costs are very high if you go private. And it's much easier to find clinics in Japan. If you can get registered with a dentist in my home country that operates under national insurance, then great. Its cheap (or free). This is really difficult to do though, as there are few dentists that do this. They all want to go private so they can make more money.

  • Jengjing6471

    on Sep 24

    Can I ask po ?

  • hedge

    on Apr 6

    I cannot find the cost for the most common procedure: prophylaxis (hygiene cleaning)…

  • maynestacy

    on May 15

    Advice to add: get a friend with great teeth to refer you to a dentist. Once, I ran across the street to a newly opened dental clinic with a broken tooth. The dentist was young, handsome and spoke some English; essential oils from a diffuser scented the waiting area, and reception was friendly. I was x-rayed and told I had "caries" (cavities) in several teeth. Several 20-30 minute-visits later and Y200,000 later, my crowned tooth ached. The dentist offered to refit it for free. Meanwhile, he was eager to start drilling my other teeth. I ran to my old dentist across town, referred to me by a coworker. Dentist number two had state-of-the-art equipment and was in the process of becoming the only private dentist in Utsunomiya (no National Health insurance treatments). He told me dentist #1 did not drill the rot away properly and that I did not have more cavities that needed treated. Two-hundred thousand yen later, I was fixed up, poorer and wiser!

  • City-Cost

    on May 16

    @maynestacy - Thanks for the info