Saturday, May 15, 2010

Japanese Dentists

In the aftermath of the Leeds exam, I've unfortunately fallen quite ill. It started last Monday (I actually expected to become sick straight after the Leeds exam, once all the stress had disappeared) but it waited three days and then struck me. I got a sore throat first, which was fine. But then my teeth started to hurt.

I suspected it was a wisdom tooth coming through, because the pain was at the back of my mouth where it would come through, and I'd had some pain a few months ago, but it disappeared after a few days. But this time the pain just got worse and worse, until I found it really difficult to eat, drink and sleep.

I had my midterm exam at ICU this Thursday, but I'd barely slept the night before so I don't think I did very well at all. I left early and cycled straight to a dentist in Tama (多摩) that was recommended by two of my friends from Leeds who have had teeth problems. But they were closed on Thursdays! So I found a different one near the station, but they were full on Thursday, so I made an appointment for yesterday (Friday).

I had another near-sleepless night on Thursday night, and then went to teach English, but I don't think I did a great job with such a painful mouth. I did explain what was wrong to my students though - they all know "wisdom tooth" now!

The dentist didn't speak any English, which I was expecting, so I had my electronic dictionary out checking the technical words. She took an X-ray and told me that my wisdom tooth was coming through, and it had caused the gum to become inflamed. She explained what she was going to do, and then injected anaesthetic around the area, and then used a laser to treat the gum. At first I didn't realise she was already using the laser, but then I could smell and taste burning flesh, and that was a pretty clear indication!

Afterwards they gave me two pills for pain, if it did come back. And come back it did! I'm worried that it might have become infected and spread, because my throat is still very painful and my jaw is tender to the touch. But the pills they gave me are rubbish! I took one last night to help me sleep, and I could still feel everything! I actually find British supermarket-bought Paracetamol much more effective. Japanese medicine just isn't strong enough! Plus I'm quite tall so there's more "body" for it to get through before it actually helps me.

If I'm still in pain on Monday I'll go back to the dentist and ask if there's anything else they can do. If it is infected, I don't want it to spread further, because one of my friends had to have root canal surgery here last year, and I really don't want that!

It was quite easy to actually get the appointment, and the treatment was quite cheap (Y1,600), because I have Japanese national health insurance and I just showed them my insurance card (保険証, hokenshou). I didn't have that last time I lived in Japan on a working holiday visa, so I don't know what would happen if I didn't have it.

I really hope it gets better soon. I miss sleep and food!


Shana said...

Hey, was just reading your blog. I was in Tokyo all of last year and had the exact same problem. I don't know where you're located but if you can make it down to Ginza, look for a dentist called Hitomi Hayashi (I actually had her pull out one of my wisdoms!). Her English is AMAZING and no matter how good we are at Japanese, sooooo much easier to just explain the pain in our native tongue.

kazuman15 said...

Hi Miles. Bad luck on the tooth. I hope all is well soon!

I just wanted to take a second to thank you for keeping your blog going. I'm from Canada and arrived in Tokyo last October. I recently applied to work at Gaba and your earlier posts really helped with knowing what to expect. Unfortunately I didn't get the job but I still appreciate the info. Reading about your earlier experiences and progress have helped me keep grounded and positive at times. Seems to me that things are going well. Keep it up!

Miles said...

Hi Shana,

Thank you so much for the information! If it gets much worse I might look into that! :)
I did have a bit of trouble trying to explain explain what was wrong, so an English-speaking dentist would be greatly appreciated!


Miles said...

Kazuman -

Thank you so much for such a nice comment! It means a lot to me that my blog has helped you out!

Good luck with your life in Tokyo! I hope it all works out for you.