It was a brisk autumn day in Muscatine, Iowa, and I had just finished updating a lecture I was preparing for Sprig Live, scheduled to take place in just a few days. Needing a break, I decided to run to the grocery store and pick up some items my family needed. At the deli counter, I ran into Hannah and Joaquin, Sam’s parents.
Sam is one of the children from our office who had been featured in Sprig’s Changing Lives series. Sam has a number of unique and special qualities. He is an exceptional patient and brings joy to everyone in our office when we see his name on the schedule. He presented with decay on the mesial surfaces of his primary first molars. Sam is well mannered and was able to tolerate all his treatment (which included placing two posterior EZCrowns) under local anesthesia and nitrous oxide/ oxygen supplementation. While all these factors provide interesting details of Sam’s background, I hadn’t yet heard the most impactful part of his story.
Back at the deli counter, I asked Hannah, “How are Sam and his sister doing?” Earlier that week, I had mailed Sam a copy of the latest Shift magazine in which he was pictured throughout. Wanting to make sure his family received it, I inquired if the magazine had arrived. At that point, Hannah responded, “Yes, we received the magazine, and Sam took it to school to share with a girl who routinely enters beauty contests. Let’s just say she was impressed!”
However, what impacted me the most was hearing Hannah share how throughout the experience Sam had developed higher levels of self-confidence, how she has seen this experience have a ripple effect extending to all aspects of his life.
At this point in our conversation, my eyes began to water. The moment was serendipitous; running into Sam’s parents and hearing his story just days before I was to travel to Sprig Live where he would likely be featured was momentous. It was truly a god-wink.
We all agree that pediatric dentistry can be fun, but it doesn’t come without challenges—managing a difficult child’s behavior, dealing with dental trauma, or, in Sam’s case, restoring a mesial surface of a primary molar. Some dentists may consider their daily routine as just providing ordinary treatment that usually consists of restorations, crowns, pulpotomies, extractions, and space maintainers on teeth that, well, are “all going to fall out anyway.”
My experience at the deli reminded me that our daily impact may be far greater than we realize. Through preparing episodes of Sprig’s Changing Lives video series, I have discovered the inspiring stories of families that come to my office. This experience has renewed my excitement as I realize that our profession is doing more than just creating healthy smiles. Sam’s story reminds us that we have opportunities to impact the kids we treat, helping to positively influence them for the rest of their lives.
Author: Sam’s Mother
I remember clearly the day Dr. Johnson refers to. I couldn’t wait to tell Dr. Johnson how excited Sam was to receive the copy of Shift magazine that highlighted him in the Changing Lives feature. The very next day, Sam took the magazine to school, completely filled with excitement, to share it with a very special girl in his life. His teacher was so impressed with the magazine that she allowed him to share it with the whole class. His fellow students now consider Sam to be “famous.” He came home overflowing with self-confidence!
Anyone who knows Sam knows he has always taken pride in his appearance—what he calls, “looking fancy.” His daily attire consists of cowboy boots, denim jeans with a belt, and a button-up shirt, tucked in, of course. His hair must be combed over nicely and all. His smile beams when he receives compliments about his attire.
Being able to preserve that natural-looking smile through the use of EZCrowns has allowed my son to display a level of self-confidence I have never seen in him before. Being featured in Shift magazine and in Sprig’s Changing Lives series has only increased his level of self-confidence. It made him feel special and unique. His infectious smile gets to stand out, for good reasons, alongside “looking fancy.”
Although the EZCrowns blend right in with his natural teeth, they are the reason behind Sam’s self-confidence. We will be forever thankful to Sprig and to Dr. Johnson for changing his life in a most positive way.