Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I Am a Dentist... But Not a Plumber

Am I the only dentist that relates most everyday activities to the practice of dentistry?

Recently, I had the displeasure of changing a bathtub faucet cartridge, and I had several flashbacks to extractions gone wrong. I would much rather perform restorative dentistry, and am fortunate that my practice allows me to do just that. But, from time to time, we are faced with a surgical challenge that must be handled accordingly. So I looked at this challenge and said, "Let’s get this done."

Got a leaky faucet? No problem There are hundreds of videos on YouTube on how to rectify the problem. I watched, took notes, and figured it would be an easy fix. What was not immediately apparent (or mentioned in the first set of videos) was the calcium deposits on the cartridge, which had basically fused it to the brass piping. I bought the part, followed the instructions, and lo and behold, it snapped! The plastic end on the old cartridge broke, just like the crown on a difficult molar. My plumbing cartridge looked like an ankylosed tooth.

Plan B. More YouTube videos shed light on how to get out of the mess: make a purchase point, and pull. Sound familiar? To no avail. I bore out a hole, but that was a no-go. Frustration set in, with sweat on my brow beading up and dropping like buckets. I'd been here before and this is a place I don't enjoy. I took a deep breath, and went at it again. And again. And again.

Fortunately, I am a dentist and not a plumber. And, in my practice, I wouldn't rely solely on YouTube to do a procedure (although some reinforcement and education isn't a bad thing). Much like ankylosed molars should be handled (by an expert deal, if you are not comfortable with it), I called the plumber. After some effort, the old cartridge is out and the new one is in.

This is one anecdote that backs up my claim. But I guess when you spend most of your time doing something, like dentistry, everything else you see relates to it. Either that, or I just need to get out of my office more often.

Jason Petkevis, DMD

2 comments:

gatordmd said...

I take pride in being able to do things myself. You get a sense of accomplishment (and in the mean time you can save a couple of bucks).
I did almost the same thing you did but I was changing the valve to turn the shower on.
I had a patient that owned a hardware store so I called him up and he walked me through it.
I broke that sucker so bad that that they had to go through the wall to fix the damage that I caused. Oh and that "saving a couple of bucks"...yeah, it costs a pretty penny to fix my boo boo.

So now, I am not allowed to touch anything that could cause a flood or a fire in my house.

Great story,
Thanks
john

Kevin O'Kane said...

Sometimes it is better for us to just stick to our current profession and do only what we are good at. Yes, at times doing things on our own means that we can save a few bucks here and there. However, if you do not have ample practice on this new field that you are going to try tackling, then you are going to have a difficult (and often more expensive) time. Plumbing might sound and look easy in the videos (or similar to dentistry) but without expertise, you can cause more harm than good to your piping system and when the water starts leaking or flooding out, then only will you realize that you have made a huge mistake. And that's unfortunately too late...

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