Many of you have come to recognize Autumn’s smile. Surrounded by beautiful blue and purple flowers, she has become the “cover girl” for most of our advertising this year. Autumn’s contagious smile and bubbly little personality are a true testament to the miracle of childhood. But what many don’t know is that her story could have ended much differently, because Autumn almost lost her smile at the tender age of 18 months.
As dentists we see new parents and patients every single day. Sometimes we have good news for them, “Great job. No cavities today.” But other times that is not the case. Informing a new mom that her little child needs her front teeth crowned, or, even worse, might need to have them extracted is routine for us. However, what happens during a typical day at work for us can deliver a devastating blow to an unsuspecting parent. A mom’s life may have just been upended, and the uncertainty of what the future holds can be scary and overwhelming.
Autumn’s mom faced such a situation when she received news that caused her a great deal of anxiety. A dentist had just told her, “Your child needs general anesthesia to extract all four of her front teeth.” Perplexed, and having recently moved to a new area, Autumn’s mom used Google to help her decide which office to visit for a second opinion.
Unfortunately, decay is decay. The diagnosis and suggested treatment were the same everywhere she went. The thought of having to put Autumn under general anesthesia and still face an uncertain outcome was devastating. Desperate to find hope, she tried one last dental office near her home. That’s when everything changed.
When Xol and her daughter, Autumn, walked into my office, Xol was very frustrated and disheartened. She had been to two or three other dental offices seeking treatment for Autumn’s teeth. At those offices, dentists told her that the only option for Autumn was to extract her teeth under sedation.
Autumn was a beautiful, vibrant 3-year-old, and Xol was feeling very guilty and worried about the possible loss of Autumn’s teeth. Additionally, she was very opposed to sedation.
I reviewed Autumn’s X-rays and did a clinical exam. I found that Autumn had enough root structure for restorations, so I proposed Sprig EZCrowns with pulpectomies. I felt the structure of #D would be questionable, but perhaps a buildup might facilitate placing a crown.
Xol was shocked. No one had even broached the option of using esthetic crowns, let alone saving Autumn’s teeth.
Xol was shocked. No one had even broached the option of using esthetic crowns, let alone saving Autumn’s teeth. We looked at all the crown options, and I explained in depth my reasoning and my confidence in the Sprig EZCrowns I was proposing.
Just a week or two later, I placed Sprig EZCrowns on all four of Autumn’s anterior teeth while she was awake. The results were beautiful and Xol was really happy. She made cookies (or was it cupcakes?) and brought them to share with the whole office staff. We all celebrated Autumn’s brand new smile.
About a month later, unfortunately, #D fractured off at the gum line. Xol was sure we would now have to extract the tooth. However, I was able to construct a buildup in composite and place a new crown onto #D. That was over a year ago. Since then I have treated Autumn on other occasions for posterior teeth, and the results have been equally good.
I like to think that in the eyes of this little child, I got to be a superhero. As pediatric dentists, that is what we live for – the opportunity to help children smile.
Autumn is still a remarkably vibrant and engaging child. I think her gorgeous smile is one of her best assets. I was so proud to be able to care for Autumn and have a part in changing her life. She now has natural-looking front teeth, and she smiles all the time. It was my privilege to restore that beautiful smile. I like to think that in the eyes of this little child, I got to be a superhero. As pediatric dentists, that is what we live for—the opportunity to help children smile.
Sprig EZCrowns have allowed me to give my patients beautiful, natural, healthy smiles with happy gums and long-term success. The materials are beautiful. The bur block and the Sprig University training make application a snap, and both children and parents are thrilled with the outcome. Anyone can use Sprig products, and everyone should because the results are win-win for both patients and practitioners.
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, (UNLV) School of Dental Medicine Advanced Education in Pediatric Dentistry is an innovative residency… Read more »