After several days of dull pain and discomfort anaethetized by handfuls of Ibuprofen, I go to the dentist. The clinic is a small temporary building with a cute whale with big teeth as a logo. I go into the tiny waiting room and encounter first confusion. I take off my shoes and look for slippers. There are none, yet all the other people waiting are wearing them. I blunder to a seat on a bench wearing my socks and red cheeks. I wait and finally realize that there is a machine near the entrance that gives birth to slippers. I blunder over, grab some and feel much better.
A nurse comes through and calls “Neil San”. She leads me to the open plan surgery where there are 8 chairs holding patients being drilled. After initial inspection by 2 nurses without many English words, the dentist arrives and says, “Much pus! Root canal.” “What now?” “Hai!!”
He grabs a $1100 crown in his tongs, wrenches it off and chucks it in the trash! The nurse lays a yellow mask over my face leaving only my mouth open to attack. The dentist then launches straight into root canal treatment. I sometimes flinch and he gruffly asks,”Pain?” to which I give the international answer of patients with a mouthful of dentistry stuff, “Garrgh.”
90 minutes later he is done and storms off to drill someone else. I am given some pills and told to come back on Wednesday. I give them 2,300 yen – ~$30. Thinking back to US days of first session with Dentist who would then send you to an Orthodontist. You get an appointment a week later, he then sends you to a pharmacy to pick up the drugs. Two weeks and a $1000. Japan gets straight to work.