Have you ever been seized with a sudden tooth pain and needed to rush in a dentist? That could happen anytime anywhere even when you move somewhere new with a new language. Then what would you do? What if you can’t bear the pain? How would you find a dentist in a town where you are not that familiar with? What about having root canal treatment? I will tell you some tips for having a dental treatment in Japan. So hopefully you can be mentally prepared for those urgent situations.
To begin with, the basic dental treatment is covered by health insurance in Japan. You must get either national insurance or social insurance if you are working and then you basically pay 30% of medical expenses. So it is not free of charge but having a choice of clinics or doctors and being able to have treatment straight away are not bad at all. Regarding dental care, consultation, cleaning, cavity treatment, tooth extraction, root canal treatment are covered in that way. Nevertheless, some types of crowns like ceramic ones are not covered but metal crowns are
So if you want to have a regular check-up or cleaning during your stay in Japan, you could just look for a clinic around your place, the nearest station, or your work today. There are quite a lot of them so you should definitely be able to find one. If you need to rush in, most dentists would take you as an emergency case without booking an appointment. Also, there are many dentists open till evening, so you could go in after work. There are some that are open even on Saturday and Sunday which is a good thing about health care service in Japan. In addition, quite a lot of them can speak English nowadays.
Then what about big treatment like tooth canal treatment? Are dentists who are under health insurance skilled enough? I can tell you about that with my experience. Root canal treatment is, in brief, to disinfect the root canal system by removing dental pulp and filling with medicine and then to seal the tooth so you can keep it instead of extraction. I’m not an expert but apparently removing pulp and cleaning part has to be done sufficiently before the root canal system is filled with medicine otherwise you might suffer from that awful pain again and having another treatment is more complicated. So the dentist taking the time to complete the process is a good sign. When mine was done, they consistently and carefully kept checking how much pulp is removed by using the latest looking medical device and it was done properly. That took four visits and cost around 3000 yen in total.
Incidentally, I had another one in Spain. Since dental treatment is not covered by health insurance in Spain, that cost me 185 euros which are about 25000 yen at the exchange rate then. Also, it took only two visits. I will not compare the quality here. In some countries, certain treatment, especially in dental care, is not covered by health insurance. On the other hand, there is a good list of treatment you can have with 70% cost coverage in Japan. So I recommend you try out a dentist rip while you are there.