01 - Visiting the Dentist in Japan X_X

As you may or may not know, last August I broke my jaw (in Vietnam):

I'm now the proud owner of a titanium plate holding my mandible together.


Before you even ask--Sadly, no, I do not set off metal detectors.

A few weeks after breaking my jaw, I learned that I also managed to chip several of my teeth! Luckily, though, these were teeth towards the back of my mouth, which they call 奥歯 (okuba) in Japanese.

奥 (oku) means "deep (inside something)," and 歯 (ha), which here becomes ba, means "tooth; teeth."

The opposite of this is 前歯 (maeba), which is the word for "front teeth" (前 /mae / "front") + (歯 / ba / "tooth; teeth").

Long story short, in the last four months, I've been to the dentists well over a dozen times, in three different countries!

Yesterday, I went to the dentist here in Tokyo (this specific clinic) for a simple teeth cleaning. Here's a picture of the clinic I went to:

Thank you Google Maps (exact location here).

Anyways, when the dentist (歯医者さん / haishasan) told me to rinse my mouth out, he would say:

ugai shite kudasai.
Please rinse out your mouth.
(Literally, "Please gargle.")

I thought it was kind of weird to tell me to gargle, うがい (ugai), but then, I don't know, they're always gargling water in Japan it seems like.

The dental hygienist (歯科衛生士 / shika eisei shi), however, used a different word. She said:

yusuide kudasai.
Please rinse out your mouth.

I didn't actually know this word (the verb ゆすぐ / yusugu, "to rinse") at the time, but I pretended to understand just by context (i.e. she pointed at the cup of water to rinse with, haha).

I asked Rei, and she thinks that for rinsing at a dentist, ゆすぐ (yusugu) is more common than うがいする (ugai suru)

Go figure. ^_^

Bonus Phrases:

おくば いたい。
One of my back teeth hurts.
Literally: back tooth + painful

れいぞうこ の おく に ある。
It's in the back of the fridge.
Literally: refrigerator + の + deep inside / back + にある

は きれい だ ね。
You have nice teeth.
Literally: teeth + pretty + are + ね

まえば おれた。
I chipped my front tooth.
Literally: front tooth + broke

はいしゃさん いかなきゃ。
I need to go to the dentist.
Literally: dentist-san + need to go

しかえいせいし に なりたい。
I want to become a dental hygienist.
Literally: dental hygienist + want to become