News & Features


English speaking dentist - Sakakibara Dental Clinic

Dr. Yasutomo Sakakibara opened his dental clinic in 1984 after graduating from Tsurumi University and studying laser dental surgery at Paris University with Dr. Jacques Melcer, who pioneered the use of lasers in dentistry. He settled in the neighborhood of Minami-Azabu at a location not far from the popular Azabu-Juban shopping area.

Sakakibara Dental Clinic handles general and cosmetic dentistry (including whitening), dental surgery—with implants a specialty—and orthodontics. On average, the clinic sees around 3600 patients a year. Dr. Sakakibara uses laser dental tools for cutting and cleaning, which he says is comforting for patients because there is no drilling noise and no pain.

For the first several years of his practice, Dr. Sakakibara focused on the treatment of dental caries—tooth decay. He soon became interested in dental implants, however, and in 1992 went to Einstein Hospital in New York to research bone growth techniques and bone grafts.

He has been now performing implant surgeries for the past twenty-five years, primarily using the most popular graft material, Bio-Oss, which is made from demineralized cow bone. Once grafted onto the jaw, Bio-Oss eventually becomes human bone.

Dr. Sakakibara does about a hundred dental implant procedures every year. In addition to single implants, he performs multiple implants known as “all on four” and “all on six.” An all-on-four implant operation involving up to ten teeth, he says, takes a maximum of an hour. (An all-on-six procedure can involve up to fourteen teeth.) He does CT scans of every implant patient to assess bone structure and density.

According to Dr. Sakakibara, implants are far preferable to dentures because they are more natural and comfortable, and far less prone to producing infections. Implant surgery costs about 250,000 yen, and also requires custom-made crowns and abutments. Crowns also run about 150,000 yen per tooth.

Bad gums are a widespread and serious problem in Japan, and the primary reason dentists remove teeth. To treat periodontal (gum) disease, Dr. Sakakibara puts patients on special antibiotics three days before doing major cleaning and scaling work, and also cleans the gum pockets with a laser. This leaves no infection or bacteria.

The Sakakibara Dental Clinic has an excellent reputation, and one indication of that is who comes here for treatment. A Japanese film icon who has also worked in Hollywood is a patient, for example, as is a member of a major J-pop group. So are diplomats and residents from several French-speaking nations, who have heard that Dr. Sakakibara speaks some French—a rarity among dentists in Tokyo.

Another reason is that Dr. Sakakibara gives patients his mobile number, and they can call him for help day or night, even on holidays. In addition to his French ability, he can communicate capably in English. His wife is often at the clinic, and can speak English as well.

One more plus: Dr. Sakakibara can call on an intelligent network of mentors in the dental field in France, Singapore and Japan for advice on unusual and complex cases. He has a top anesthesiologist available for major implant surgeries as well.

The Sakakibara Dental Clinic is open on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 to 8:30 p.m. Dr. Sakakibara also treats patients at a few other clinics, so it is best to make an appointment whenever possible.