Thursday, October 22, 2009


I missed posting yesterday. Wednesdays have me running in circles. I think I should adopt many of your blogs' Wordless Wednesdays. I never get to the computer anyway.

Recently I've been going to the dentist. Sigh. I don't have great faith in Japanese dentists but to be truthful most of the dentists I've gone to have been pretty good. So why don't I think highly of them?

Just by reputation; talking to people who have had both American and Japanese dental care, hearing stories from friends whose children (and my own) have gone to the States and the American dentists shuddered to see what Japanese dentists had done, seeing some of the results of Japanese dental care (decaying children's teeth, gold rims on front teeth, very fake looking crowns) I have a feeling dental technology is higher in the States. I remember once I went to a Japanese dentist and noticed a diploma on his wall that said he'd been trained in periodontics. Oh good, I thought, an up-to-date dentist. But a closer look at his diploma showed that he'd taken a one week course and been certified! Hmmm.

The interesting thing is that two summers ago one of the reasons Takumi came back to Japan was to go to the dentist. The reason? It costs too much in the States and he even has dental insurance! He said the dentist he'd been going to was so horrified at his mouth and wanted to schedule so much dental work that it was just easier and cheaper to come back to Japan and get what absolutely needed to be done, done.

And now we have the same dilemma with Leiya. She needs dental work done. She hasn't been to the dentist since she was in high school. But even when she had dental work two years ago we were floored by the costs and couldn't afford the after care that she needed. Leiya no longer has dental insurance. Recently we've been talking about Leiya coming back to Japan this winter vacation just so that she can go to the Japanese dentist. This is a conundrum. I think the kids would get better dental care in the States. We can't afford the care so they come back to Japan. Very strange.

My most recent dental work has been to have silver fillings replaced with white ceramic ones. My dentist very kindly informed me that insurance policies changed and ceramic work will be covered by our insurance. Okay. That sounds good. For each new filling and dental work I've been paying about $20. Yep. It is a lot cheaper for the kids to fly back to Japan...

Tetsu also went to the dentist last month when he chipped a tooth. He hasn't been to the dentist in over 15 years!!! You'd think there would be some major work to do or some cleaning or plaque removal or something. Nope. The dentist happily fixed the one tooth and told Tetsu to come back if anything ever hurt. Even Tetsu was surprised.

Japanese medical care may not be as advanced at American (but that's not really true. Some of the Japanese hospitals have amazing technology... just not easily accessible to everyone) but at the very least everyone can afford it. It is a quandary.

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