Stepping into Lion Heart Dental International Clinic, you know right away that this is not your average Tokyo dental practice. You’re immediately greeted in English with a friendly “Hello” by the reception staff before you even have a chance to take in its chic white and gold surroundings.
Conveniently located in Tokyo's Minato Ward, not too far from Tokyo Tower, the clinic's welcoming and modern atmosphere continues throughout the entire office. It’s highlighted by the smiling faces of each member of staff, who are more than happy to answer any and all questions. Lead dentist and founder Dr. Ryota Kimura even goes by his first name, Ryo, to feel closer to his patients.
This is a dental practice built with expats in mind — and it accepts Japanese National Health Insurance (N.I.H.).
Latest technology at every turn
It’s not just the décor that’s modern, of course, but everything from the custom dental chairs to the painless American teeth whitening station.
Public relations and operations lead Robert Brammer spoke to Dr. Kimura’s passion for keeping things current: “He loves going on medical courses and learning about new technology. So the clinic is constantly being updated with new techniques, product partnerships and treatments.”
There is even equipment you might not expect to see at a dental practice, such as a modern CT scanner. Ordinarily, you would have to go to a general hospital for such equipment. Thanks to Dr. Kimura’s background and licensing, however, he is able to offer CT scans on-site, which is an essential step for dental implants.
A lead dentist with passion
It is precisely Dr. Kimura’s passion and qualifications that sets Lion Heart Dental apart. Dr. Kimura received his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from Tokyo Dental College. He then went on to qualify as a board certified member of the Japanese Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, before studying oral cancer for his PhD in Medicine at Chiba University, as well as aesthetic dentistry at London’s UCL Eastman Dental Institute.
This background in surgery and medicine means that Dr. Kimura is highly qualified to offer CT scans, dental implants, root canals, extractions, cavity treatments and even aesthetic procedures around the mouth. Thanks to Dr. Kimura’s commitment to training, he is able to partner with Switzerland's Straumann® Group, a global leader in dental implants, restorative and regenerative dentistry.
His time in London gave him the inspiration to create a more welcoming dental clinic for English speakers. On that subject, Dr. Kimura says: “It’s a very different style in London. It’s a more comfortable environment, and more open. It’s very easy to talk to your doctor. I wanted to bring this back to Japan.” Not only did Dr. Kimura feel that the U.K. style of dentistry was more comfortable, but he also recognised the struggles non-Japanese had with dental visits in Tokyo.
Dr. Kimura wanted to make things easier for non-Japanese residents. He told me, “I wanted to make my clinic truly English-friendly and for it to have a more international atmosphere,” also offering French and Spanish language support when required. Alongside this open atmosphere comes an open-mindedness; having received a number of comments about how busy their patients are, the clinic has ensured a flexible approach, offering late-night, Saturday and emergency appointments.
After listening to patients' feedback, Lion Heart Dental delivered, creating their own packages that allow more than one service to be done on the same day. These tailored packages offer combined services such as a full check-up, X-ray, PMTC teeth cleaning, and in-office whitening, aimed at gum disease prevention. These original packages, as well as unlimited annual membership options, are the pride and joy of Lion Heart Dental, as they make the most of patients’ money and time — something you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.
A welcoming team
It’s not just Dr. Kimura who makes Lion Heart Dental feel welcoming, though. The staff are just as invested in helping patients feel at home, creating a comfortable space for expats where English is the default language. Most are expats themselves. During my visit, I could feel their passion and excitement for the clinic in every word they spoke.
One of the ways that the staff help make their patients’ lives easier is through their social media presence. The clinic is always quick to respond to any queries through Instagram and is keen to show how welcoming the clinic is through posts and videos.
Their social media manager, Angelica Morelli says: “You can see Dr. Ryo is a warm and friendly doctor, and I think this really helps when people book. We also have a very easy booking system that allows you to book directly through our Instagram or website.”
Lion Heart Dental is also welcoming and accommodating to families.
Clinic manager Javi Bravou explains: “When kids come in they’re either scared or super energetic. So, as I’m in charge of reception, when a child comes in the first thing I do is say ‘Hey, how are you?’ I have coloring pens and toothbrushes with characters, so I sit with them while their parents receive treatment.”
These are just some of the ways that Lion Heart Dental goes above and beyond the competition. The team is also working on an educational series to help expats acquaint themselves with the Japanese medical system.
With a friendly team of international staff and Dr. Kimura being so committed to his patients, the atmosphere is inviting — so much so that you instantly feel like you're in good hands.
No matter whether it’s a regular check-up or the latest composite veneers, every step of the process is as easy as can be.
Lion Heart Dental International Clinic
Address: 1F Ascend Shimbashi, 6-19-19 Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo