A Mom’s Mission to Help her Son Leads to a Revolution in Pediatric Zirconia Crowns

Brenda Hansen talks candidly about her dreams for Sprig.

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The strip crowns used to repair the damage repeatedly cracked or broke entirely, leading to dreadful and frequent trips to the pediatric dentist’s office. As for the metal crowns with a nickel component, Brenda who was part of a thriving adult cosmetic and restorative dental practice, would not consider this option. The prospect of subpar metal materials setting up residency in John Paul’s mouth was unacceptable to these two health-conscious individuals. 

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When her 3-year-old son, John Paul, fell in the shower and chipped his four front teeth, Brenda Hansen’s life took an unexpected turn. Dismayed by the lack of satisfying options to restore her son’s teeth, Brenda reluctantly settled on strip and preveneered stainless steel crowns, which in her mind seemed almost prehistoric in a time when medical breakthroughs were grabbing headlines almost daily. 

“There was literally nothing on the market at that time besides pediatric crowns based on archaic technology and materials,” Brenda observes. “It’s difficult as a parent when you want to give your child the best, but the best doesn’t exist, and you know it. I simply wanted something for my son made of a more durable, natural material with technology that I could be confident in, but I had no choice.” 

The idea of entrepreneurship didn’t cross Brenda’s mind at first. In fact, it wasn’t even about innovation, invention or disruption of an entrenched benighted market. In Brenda’s case, her entrepreneurial fuse was ignited by the dire circumstances she discovered while simply seeking the best option to repair John Paul’s teeth. 

Frustrated by their own personal experience, John Hansen, and family friend, fellow dentist and respected dental anesthesiologist, Jeff Fisher, set out to develop a new, stronger, safer and more esthetically pleasing crown made just for kids. 

Unaware their mission would morph into an idea that would eventually lead to an industry-altering invention and a vibrant company, Brenda, John and Jeff began to do what almost every driven team does when they are on a mission of change—brainstorm. 

Brenda approached the exercise with the intensity of a mom out to save other moms and their children from the agonizing experience she and her son had endured.  

The team’s innovative ideas led to the formation of a new company, Sprig, with an extensive R&D process dedicated to creating and validating a new revolutionary crown for kids. The new crowns were made from Zirconia, a material with virtually indestructible fine-grain translucent crystal structure. Important to Brenda and her partners, the crowns were also completely bio-inert and resistant to decay and plaque accumulation. Brenda inherently knew as a mom these features would appeal to like-minded parents who sought the best for their children. 

Brenda, now Sprig’s CEO, shepherds the company as it seeks to have an even greater impact. It’s a role she was well-suited to take on, having founded and managed another start-up from its inception until selling it to a large corporation. After that venture, Brenda helped build her husband’s dental practice into one of the top boutique cosmetic dentistry destinations in the country. 

In her role of building up Sprig’s infrastructure, running day-to-day operations, providing fiscal management, and building strategic partnerships, Brenda is widely regarded as a powerhouse within a company responsible for disrupting the pediatric dental industry with durable, white pediatric crowns.

Brenda reflects that her predicted career trajectory did not include leading a dental-care company, but she would not have it any other way. 

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Born in Denver, Colorado, as the youngest of five children and raised in Sacramento, California, by parents who instilled in her the importance of a fulfilling career and family life, Brenda lives a life of happiness and hard work. 

Brenda has three beautiful children—two girls and one boy, now 26, 24 and 19 years old respectively. 

“As a mom, I know first-hand how challenging it can be to teach children about the importance of dental health at a young age. I would say good nutrition was my biggest contribution to my kids’ oral health,” she reflects. “Our family diet at home has always been important to us. My kids didn’t appreciate my war on gummy candy and boxed lunches when they were younger, but now that they are older and making food decisions for themselves, they, and their teeth, have an appreciation for the good nutrition techniques we taught them.” 

Despite Brenda’s busy schedule with the practice and Sprig, she make a point to prioritize family time and personal wellbeing. Like busy moms everywhere, Brenda works to balance her demanding professional life with her role as a mother. “I make dinner and spend time with my family nearly every night, and on a good day I’ll enjoy yoga as well. Structure for me is really the key to balance in my life,” Brenda says. 

Brenda’s kids believe in Sprig’s mission to improve oral health for all children, and for her, the support of her whole family is a powerful motivator. 

Brenda also encourages parents to find a pediatric dentist for their children, so they learn to enjoy going to the dentist from an early age. She tells parents that it is important to do their own research, but to be cautious of the source, especially online, since not all information is valid or trustworthy. She also tells parents to never be afraid to ask dentists, “What would you do if it were your child?” 

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