Bullpen Dentistry in Tokyo

Let’s face it – Americans are pretty vigilant about their privacy.  So when I first saw the bullpen style dentist office for myself, it was pretty shocking.  But the efficiency of it has made a believer out of me, if I can get over the fact that anyone can see me with my mouth wide open.

Dr. Kaku’s office in Hiroo has been open for quite a while.  Though he is Japanese, he studied dentistry at Boston University, so he practices in a western style, and belongs to all of the American dental organizations.  He and his wife, also a dentist, practice general dentistry, pediatric dentistry, and orthodontia.  Besides the funky office and the delightful staff, there is a lot to recommend Dr. Kaku, including:

  • If you bring in your appointment card that they mail you after you call for an appointment, you are entered for a monthly drawing for movie tickets – but only if you are on time for said appointment.
  • If you get a good brushing report, you get a wooden nickel.  Collect 7 wooden nickels and earn a spin of their prize wheel.  Ah, but no wooden nickel if you are late for your appointment – even if your teeth are sparkling.
  • If your teeth are not sparkling when you walk into the office, there is a pre-appointment brushing station in the waiting room, complete with toothbrushes.
  • There is a movie screen on the ceiling above every chair.  The patient picks the movie.

But really, what got me was the bullpen of seven dentists’ chairs in a big room.  Everyone runs around from station to station doing what they need to do, and it works.  The Japanese have a different attitude about privacy than we do, and it works for them.  It isn’t as horrifying as you might think!

3 thoughts on “Bullpen Dentistry in Tokyo

  1. So in the USA each dentist chair gets its own room?

    In Puerto Rico –where I’m from– you’ll be in a big room that has 3-4 dentist chairs. The dentist and his/her assistants will be switching between chairs as they do their magic.

    No movies though. 😛 Oh, and not wooden tokens….or movie tickets. 😦

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