Going to the dentist can be a nerve-wracking experience on its own, let alone going to the dentist in a country where you only have an elementary grasp of the language?
I remember the time I urgently needed dental care. I’d gone on countless trips to the dentist as a kid, but this pain was unlike anything I’ve felt before. It started on the morning of my second month in Japan, and I recall frantically scouring the internet for the nearest dentist in my area. In the end, they had to do an extraction, and now I wear a removable tooth.
Unsurprisingly, most, if not all, the dentists I found only spoke Japanese. In Tokyo, clinics with English speaking services are expensive. At the time, I was more stressed about effectively making my dental appointment than the actual pain I felt in my tooth.
Going to the dentist isn’t fun, but we can make the process easier. In this kanji guide, you’ll brush up on the basics of visiting the dentist.
Finding a clinic
If the pain is too severe, and there aren’t any English speaking clinics available, I highly suggest looking up the nearest dental clinic in your neighborhood. Search up dental clinic 歯科クリニック(shikakurinikku) and add the name of your area. If you’re looking for something a little more specialized like an orthodontist, use 歯列矯正(shiretsu kyousei).
Talking about symptoms
Once you’ve successfully found a clinic, you’ll need to describe the pain you’re feeling and where you’re feeling it. For your canine teeth, use 犬歯 (kenshi) or 切歯 (sesshi) for your incisors. Next, if you think you may have a cavity, mention 虫歯 (mushiba), or if you’ve been suffering from a bad case of halitosis, say 口臭 (koushuu).
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