Mar 29, 2019

Checkup at the dentist

Japan has a lot of dentists. Especially in Tokyo where the number of dentists is higher than the number of convenience stores. As a patient in Japan, you can choose from a large number of doctors but it is not always easy to find a good dentist. 

A lot of dentists in Tokyo are open on weekends and until quite late in the evening on weekdays. So you can go without having to take a day of work which is quite convenient. However, rivalry among dentists becomes quite harsh especially as there are so many of them. 

Checkup at the dentist photo

When you go for a regular dental checkup (every 6 months) a cleaning of your teeth is included in most cases. This is covered by Japanese health insurance and will cost you about 3,000 yen.

However, for some reason, a lot of times the cleaning is split up into two appointments -- one for your upper jaw and one for the lower jaw. As a patient this is quite inconvenient. You have to go to the dentist twice for a treatment that could easily be done in one session. According to my dentist in my home country, there is no medical reason for having separate sessions for each jaw.

In Japan though, apparently this due to some regulations of Japanese health insurance.  However, I have found dentists in Tokyo that will do the cleaning in one session. So, either these regulations are not valid everywhere or not every dentist sticks to them.

This made me wonder whether the unnecessary splitting into two appointments might have financial motivation as the checkup gets more expensive when it is split up in two sessions. After all, with so many rivals, it might be hard for dentists in Tokyo to make enough money.

As a patient, you should try to find a dentist that does not split the check-up into two appointments or ask them whether it would be possible to do it in one session for you. Otherwise, you will just waste time and money. Nowadays you can find a lot of information and reviews about doctors online, which helps you to choose from the large number.

Luckily I found a dentist close to where I live who doesn’t split it up, however it is not easy to get an appointment there. You usually have to reserve about a month in advance.

Have you visited a dentist in Japan? What experiences did you make?



Hi, I’m Eli. I’m from Germany and moved to Japan a few years ago. I am a typical nerd and like collecting Pokémon merchandise.Follow me on twitter (@hannari_eri) for the latest nerd News from Tokyo. I also write a blog in German over here. https://lifeinjapanisstrange.wordpress.com/