Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Do you hate dentists?

I finally did it. After four years of paying into the Japanese National Health Insurance program, I did something that I should have done a long time ago. I got a wisdom tooth removed.

I'd like to say, "I got my wisdom teeth removed," but this is Japan. For reasons I can only speculate about, they do it one at a time.

I may have mentioned before how I went to a dentist to get a cleaning and they cleaned my top teeth then asked me to return the next week to do the bottom. I never went back.

Luckily this new dentist I go to speaks English pretty well and is not afraid to clean all my teeth at once. I got a few fillings from him this summer (six fillings means at least four visits) but kept putting off getting my wisdom teeth pulled.

My dentist knows I hate him. Not in a personal way. Maybe I would get along with him if I met him at a bar or something.

During my tooth-pulling visit he asked me if I'd studied any more Japanese. I answered, "hai."

He asked me what I learned. I had actually just come from a lesson, but I'm way to shy to speak Japanese to Japanese people, so I said, "haisha" [dentist].

Of course he acted totally impressed then asked me, "歯医者がきらいですか?" [Do you hate dentists?].

"Hai," I answered.

Then I opened my mouth and clenched my hands together and let him do his thing. Took less than a minute.

He asked me if I wanted to take my tooth home. I said no. He told me I should because it's a souvenir. So he put it in a little plastic tooth case and in my hand. So now I have that.