Beauty & Health Life in Japan

Fat cheeks and the dentists

26 June 2013

I was looking at my photos recently and noticed that from certain angles, my cheeks look so chubby!

Chubby cheeks have plagued me from young and I grew up with people pinching my cheeks going “Sho CUUUUUTE!”. Super hated it. It’s bloody painful and downright annoying! What gives you the right to pinch me or even touch me?! Ughhhhhhh.

That all stopped when I learned to bite the hand that pinches me.

Jokes aside, I find that I’ve been biting the inside of my cheek a lot lately.

The first thought that occurred to me was “OMG. Is my cheek becoming so fat it’s sagging on the inside, causing me to bite it?! I KNEW the left cheek has always been fatter!”

For a few days I was rigorously massaging my cheeks, hoping to slim it down.

One fine day while flossing my teeth, I discovered the truth. It wasn’t my cheek ballooning up…

… It’s my emerging wisdom tooth.

Haha! But lucky not my cheeks growing fat. You know how difficult it is to slim them down?!! (very.)

So yeah, with the wisdom tooth, I knew seeing a dentist was inevitable. My jaw is too small to contain any extra teeth, sadly.

Still, I put it off because the thought of needles and drills in my mouth… *shudder*

I held out for two weeks, but the inevitable eventually came to pass. I was biting into my cheeks with a rather high hit rate, and once, bled an alarming amount.

Time to hit the dentist.

It’s another first for me… seeing a dentist in Japan. Who else to ask but Google?

I searched for an English-speaking dentist because I want to 100% understand what he/she is saying. Anything less would not do here. Imagine the dentist is telling me “So, we need to remove these other teeth because… and we also need to give you 15 injections…” and I’m only half understanding what the dentist is saying but nod and say “Yes, yes”.

Haha, of course that’s not going to happen, but that’s exactly my point! Without fully understanding what is going to be done, I will imagine all sorts of strange things that will probably make the procedure scarier than what is actually going on.

In my search, I came across Fujimi Dental Clinic.

The google search result displayed the heading as:
“Are you in need of an English speaking dentist in Tokyo Japan?”

Lol it seems so suspicious right? But I researched on it and several people have been there and had good experiences, so it appears to be quite legit.

I called up at 7.15pm (they close at 8pm on weekdays) and made an appointment for the next day. Thankfully they had a slot even though I called so late and it’s for a Saturday appointment!

The lady on the phone couldn’t really speak fluent English, but I understood her through her broken English. I refused to speak Japanese in case she paired me with a non-English speaking dentist!

The next day, we trooped off to Ginza, where the clinic was located. Ginza is also one of the most luxurious shopping districts in the world, and the kind of place I would never buy anything from. Full of upscale stores where there are way more staff than shoppers.

As we stepped into the clinic and took in the posh surroundings, my first thought was “Crap… this is going to be expensive! Why did I choose a clinic in Ginza of all places?!”

Part of the waiting area

Then I was reminded of one post I saw, where a guy paid 6,000 yen for extraction and cleaning. That’s quite reasonable, so maybe it’s not that bad?

I was handed forms to fill in, and this was the first thing I saw.

Really? $90 to issue a Dental Certificate?
$70 if I don’t cancel at least 48 hours in advance?

I was a bit apprehensive, but I was already there, and my wisdom tooth (or rather, my cheek) really needed help, so I decided to go ahead with it. Besides, they will probably charge me 5,250 yen if I attempted to walk out…

After handing in the forms, a dental assistant who spoke English came to me and explained the procedures. Then I was shown to a room to take my x-ray.

Offending wisdom tooth on the left.

The bad news is I discovered that the wisdom tooth on the right is lying in wait. UGH. And what’s with the slanted growth?!! FML.

Can I just say…


After that, I was shown to the treatment room, and the dentist told me that because the wisdom teeth on the bottom row was close to the main nerves in the jaw, she wants me to take a CT scan to see if it’s possible to extract it.

Sometimes after an extraction, some people have the lingering numbness in the lips, as if the anesthetic is still in effect. Most of the time it goes away after a while, but if the nerves are injured, the numb feeling can last a long time, possibly the rest of the person’s life.

I have “dead” areas like that from a previous surgery, and I definitely do not want to have it happen on my lips! My surgery was more than 10 years ago, and the feeling in those areas never really returned :(

The assistant was explaining to me the charges, etc, but in my head, I was like, “YES, I’ll do it! Take the scan! This kind of money cannot save!”

The scan was something like 5,000+ yen, and not covered by the National Health insurance.

While I was still in the treatment room, they asked me if I wanted to do anything else like scaling or cleaning.

The interesting thing I found out from them is… Scaling is subsidized by the National Health insurance. But only ONE row of teeth can be scaled per visit. You either choose the top or bottom. If you want to scale the other row, you must come back another time.

Cleaning, on the other hand, is not subsidized, and costs 10,000 yen.

Fu was in the room with me and our faces were totally “Whut?” because in Singapore, we just do everything together.

I made the assistant explain and according to her, scaling is used to remove specific areas where there is tartar, not all the teeth. Therefore the insurance only covers scaling for as much as one row of teeth. It’s set by the government and they have no control over it.

My wisdom tooth area was inflamed with all the biting so I opted to scale the lower row as advised. I found the cleaning costs too high so I declined to do cleaning.

But I must say, it’s really different from from Singapore.

In Singapore, the dentist does everything, right? Over here, they have a dental hygienist who specifically does scaling and cleaning.

And my dental hygienist is helluva good.

This scary tool:

I didn’t feel it AT ALL when she was scaling my teeth. SERIOUSLY. I didn’t even know precisely which tooth she was scaling at any given time! Even the area with the open wound and swollen gum wasn’t painful!

I’ve always hated it because previously, my gums are always subjected to the jarring pain by the scaler. I thought it was just the way it was, that it was unavoidable.

But nooooooo.

Now I know all the dentists I’ve been seeing in the past are either so extremely poorly skilled, sadists, or simply do not give a damn to the pain I feel.


One more amazing thing. The dental hygienist also flossed my teeth for me! I’ve never had a dentist do that for me before!

You know how when you slip the floss between the teeth, it’s sometimes done with too much strength and it cuts the gum? It happens for me when I floss my teeth. But this woman. This amazing woman with her god-hand techniques. I didn’t feel pain at all!

I guess if that’s all a person does everyday, she’s bound to become super proficient at it. But I’m just floored by the experience.

After this eye (or should I say mouth) opening experience, I headed to take my CT scans.

The dentist saw me again after that to tell me that the tooth is too close to the nerves (almost touching) and she declined to do the extraction.

“Then what’s going to happen to my tooth?!!” was my first thought.

She referred me to a university hospital and said it would be better for me to do the extraction there as they are better equipped in terms of experience.

I had no choice but to check it out the following week.

As for this clinic, will I return again? My answer is no.

During the visit, I constantly got the feeling that their focus on money, rather than my well-being. And although I had a proper appointment, the dentist was also attending to other patients at the same time. She was so busy and I didn’t feel like I had her attention at all.

In addition, Fu subsequently spoke to a Japanese colleague and she said she’s never heard of the “scaling one row of teeth only” rule. Very suspicious indeed. The colleague then recommended us a dentist with reasonable costs and said that the dentist speaks English as well, so we are planning to check this other clinic out instead.

I’ve since gone to the university hospital and scheduled an appointment for my extraction this Friday! I’m terrified! Mainly because my dentist is so laid-back and heck-care about it D:

The more I talk to him, the more panicky I feel! I know that’s all he does everyday (they don’t do scaling/cleaning/etc. only operations) but can he don’t be so slack about it?! I’m super anxious! I asked him about the numbing lips thing and he was all “Yeah, but you must remove it still, right?”

I KNOW MUST REMOVE LAH. But can reassure me in some way not?!

Never!!! He just kept repeating the “Yeah, but you must remove it still, right?” line again and again! ZOMG.

Then he showed me the acknowledgement form to sign, saying I understand the procedures involved.

Do you know what procedures include???

Slicing open the gum.
Removing the surrounding bone.
Splitting and extracting the tooth.

I literally shrieked and asked him “骨?骨ですか?!” (“Bone? You mean BONE?!) in case it was some awful mistranslation from Japanese.

I never heard anything about any removal of bone!

He coolly replied “Yes, bone.”

I think I was having a mental breakdown and he just sat there with that expressionless face T___T

Maybe he was amused. Maybe his work is so insanely boring to him (gross, ugly teeth everyday, how exciting can it be?) and he gets a kick from seeing his patients meltdown.


So I’m eating out more these days and enjoying my food because I think I won’t be able to eat properly for a while after that. Mr Laid-back says it will take about 2 weeks to recover.

I hope my nerves won’t be affected! You can be laid back, but please have the skills to make up for your shortcomings ok! >_<;;

I really hate wisdom teeth!
Did I say that already?

This Friday! UGHHH.


  • Reply Cutie Fishball 26 June 2013 at 6:02 am

    hey don’t be scared!

    I had my wisdom teeth ages ago when I was in college. And guess what, ALL 4 of them are growing into the gum and were pushing into my top and bottom row of teeth. So I have no way but to remove all 4 of them…. at once.

    I went to a hospital to do it, all I remember was I was inhaling anesthetia and the next thing I know I woke up and felt like a chip monk….

    The recovery part was harsh… I basically cant eat anything solid for 2-3 days and as careful as I want, I ended up having 1 infected wound….

    don’t be too scared for Friday, you will be in good hands. After the procedure is done, spend sometime resting at home and do some blogging with the rest of us, and you will recover quickly….

    oh also load up some ice cream and mashed potatoes/soft tofu in your fridge too!

    take care and ganbatte ne!

  • Reply Rin R 28 June 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Wisdom tooth extracted earlier! After the procedure was over and the dentist showed me my tooth, I realised he lied… There wasn’t any removing of bone or splitting of tooth! My tooth was whole and intact. Made my imagination go into overdrive for nothing -_-

    Resting at home now, although I’m still bleeding (removed tooth 4hrs ago). Hope it’ll stop soon!

    Yours sound like a nightmare! But it’s good in some sense too… At least you know you’re over and done with it. I still have one more to go!

  • Reply Vojin 20 November 2014 at 11:40 pm

    Is this really your photo? I mean the cheeks this size? :)

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