Finding False Teeth

4th January 2017

1-2 Clear often receive calls from people who’ve lost things down the drains, from dropping car keys through a roadside gully grate to losing wedding rings down shower drains, also even being asked by an insurance company look for a Rolex watch supposedly lost when a householder was clearing his drains – but there is never a good time to lose your false teeth, but dropping them down the toilet between Christmas and New Year would probably be the worst.

When the call came through on Boxing Day morning there was a note of desperation in the man’s voice, he explained that he’d had his grandchildren around to stay the night before, and somehow his wife’s top set had dropped into the toilet, which had then been flushed taking away the false teeth. I took the caller’s number then gave him a quick call back just to make sure it wasn’t a prank – and to ask that they didn’t flush the toilet again.

The poor guy opened the door and immediately apologised for calling us on Boxing Day, his wife was in the background saying something that was incoherent as not only had she no teeth, but had her hand covering her mouth to try and hide the fact. I asked how many times the toilet had been flushed, the reply was, “Only once and we’ve been using the downstairs toilet since”. I realised at that point because both toilets discharged into the same fallpipe the chances of finding the teeth where slim, as they would most likely have been carried to the main sewer.

Checking the upstairs toilet showed nothing in the toilet pan. Lifting all the manholes outside showed there was nothing wedged or sitting in the bottom of either of them. Starting at the manhole on the driveway a quick look with the CCTV camera showed the line clear to the connection with the main sewer in the road. Putting a bung in the outlet to the manhole (just in case anything was flushed) the line up to the next manhole was checked and found to be clear and unfortunately so were the other lines – the teeth were long gone….. or so I thought….

I went upstairs and flushed the toilet which did rise above the normal level before going down, knowing I had the bung in the manhole I called downstairs to ask if they could come up and check the toilet flush and whether this was normal. Flushing the toilet and the level again rose slightly, they both agreed that it was not normal. I smiled at her (she didn’t smile back obviously) saying, “I think there may be something partially blocking the toilet, I wonder what it could be?”

Unscrewing the holding down screws, the inlet pipework and the screws holding the cistern to the wall I slowly pulled the toilet back out of the pan connecter to reveal……

….. a white plastic rim block holder that had been on the inside of the toilet, some toilet paper and wedged behind them was the ladies top set.

Bearing in mind I had my gloves on – I separated the teeth from the rim block holder and toilet paper, rinsed them under the tap and handed them to the lady…. fortunately she didn’t put them straight back in! I said she had now a decision to make, she had her teeth back, she knew where they’d been, it was up to her….

I packed up, wrote out the invoice and picked up the cheque, leaving the house with the lady on her hands and knees looking through all the chemicals and cleaning products she had under the sink – whilst her top set sat in a cup filled with denture cleaner at the side of the sink above.

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