“Food gets stuck between these teeth doctor. It causes lot of irritation. I sometimes feel little pain.” Mrs. D’silva pointed at her lower grinders.
I examined the area. The space between her grinders contained day before’s chicken fibres, yesterday’s fish bone and today’s dal decorated with bits of coriander and mustard. The gum started bleeding the moment I put my probe there. The teeth looked alright. Probably a periodontal pocket, ‘bad gums’ to put it in simple language. I explained the condition and possible treatment. I suggested some medicines and called her after a week for treatment.
She was back after four days
“I feel little better but these teeth appear to be sensitive. I have a very uncomfortable sensation when I take anything hot or cold.”
I looked around the teeth again. I found a grinder worn out on one side - we call it an ‘abrasion’ - probably due to wrong brushing. Since the hard enamel covering had worn out and the sensitive tooth part was exposed, it might have been bothering her. Along with her pockets this was complicating the matter. I advised her to use a desensitizing paste also and let me know the result.
She returned after another week.
“I am using the paste doctor. Sometimes I feel Ok. But sometimes even tap water causes lot of discomfort and it actually starts paining. I could not sleep last night for a few hours after brushing my teeth”
I told her that I will check the tooth with an X-ray. The X -ray showed a classical cavity on the side of one of her grinders, hidden below the gums and going deep up to the nerves. THAT was the cause of all her troubles.
I almost kicked myself for not looking for a cavity in the first visit itself. That is the first thing I should have checked. The symptoms did suggest a cavity and a bad one at that.
I started the ‘Root canal treatment’ and everything was fine. There were no more complaints.
My water pump stopped working all of a sudden. I called the electrician who fortunately is very prompt and helpful. He came, tested some of the things around the pump and said that the pump needs oiling and servicing as the rotor shaft is not moving freely. “May be the bearings have rusted due to humid weather, sir.” He detached the pump and took it with him. He brought it back after two days, fixed it in place and switched it on. It remained silent.
He opened the cover once again, tested this and that, checked the capacitor with his meter and said “I think the capacitor is gone. We may have to replace the capacitor”. He detached the capacitor, took it with him and bought a new one from the market. (That is the good thing about him. He does things himself. Does not ask me to go and buy things.) He connected the new capacitor and confidently switched the pump on. It refused to run.
“I will have to check the connections.” He opened the junction box and pulled some wires to see which were the ones connecting the pump. As he pulled, about a meter long piece of wire came out of the box with a burnt and cut end. He held it up triumphantly “Look at this sir, this is the trouble. There has been a short and the wire is cut. How can the pump work?” He replaced it with a new wire and the pump started functioning perfectly.
I was about to ask him why the hell did he not check the connections first. Was it not the first thing he should have done?
Just as I opened my mouth I remembered Mrs. D’silva. What would have been my answer had she asked “Doctor, why did you not look for the cavity first. Is it not the most common cause of such trouble in teeth?”
I held back my comments, thanked the electrician, paid him and sent him.
Sometimes it just happens so. Be it a dentist or anyone else.