When it Becomes Personal. | Sprig Oral Health Technologies, Inc.

When it Becomes Personal.

How one mom’s personal experience forced her as a professional to walk in her patients’ shoes.

Joelle Speed, DDS
January 10, 2019
Girl holding her exfoliated tooth that had a zirconia crown on it.
Joelle's daughter holding her own zirconia crowned baby tooth.

Being a mom has led me to become a better pediatric dentist. Before I had kids, dentistry was so black and white. I knew exactly what to tell my parents when they struggled with tooth brushing. I could instruct parents on what healthy snacks to give their children and how I would fix the cavities that undoubtedly would be diagnosed. My advice was, really, very textbook.

As I practiced longer, however, I began to make decisions for my practice that went against the “norm” in my profession. I found myself looking for alternatives that my parents were asking for and that some were even demanding. By alternatives, I’m talking about parents wanting more esthetic restoration options for their children. The standard treatments that I learned in school were amalgam fillings and stainless steel crowns. Well, I have since discovered that these options just weren’t cutting it anymore no matter what textbook explanation I might give—especially the use of stainless steel crowns.

I remember years ago having a conversation with my dental anesthesiologist, Dr. Jeffrey Fisher, about this very topic. To know Dr. Fisher is to know that he has the mind of an inventor. So I said to him, “Hey, why don’t you develop a really good esthetic white crown for children?” Flash forward to the present, and that is exactly what he and Dr. John Hansen have done. Founded on their joint vision, Sprig was born, and the dream of esthetic pediatric crowns is now a reality.

I think sometimes we as dentists, and subsequently, as parents, discover that the dental challenges of our own children teach us valuable lessons and force us to learn and grow as practitioners. This is exactly what happened to me.

I have two beautiful girls, and I brushed and flossed their teeth daily when they were little. Textbook, right? Well, my youngest daughter had a mouthful of issues. She had almost a complete anterior-posterior crossbite of the maxilla, an exceedingly small mouth, and an extreme gag reflex. Brushing, flossing, dental cleanings, and dental x-rays caused her extreme anxiety (and me, too). It was very difficult at best.

So when she was 6 years old, she developed an inter-proximal cavity on #I—the unthinkable for a “mom” pediatric dentist.

So when she was 6 years old, she developed an inter-proximal cavity on #I—the unthinkable for a “mom” pediatric dentist. It was large by the time we found it because it was a visual discovery (Our bitewings were never great.). Now we were talking a pulpotomy and crown. How could this be?

I admit it. As a mom, I did not want to put a stainless steel crown in her mouth. I was so grateful and happy to have the Sprig EZCrown option available at that time nearly four years ago. The crowns were still new to me then, but I knew they were the best choice for my daughter. Of course, the crown looked amazing when first seated and continued as a healthy, stable restoration throughout the life of the tooth. Just about three months ago, the crown exfoliated naturally on its own, just before her 10th birthday.

Had I not lived this experience with my own daughter, I’m not sure that I would have the same depth of attachment that I have to these crowns. I can highly recommend Sprig EZCrowns because it’s personal for me now. I followed that crown for nearly four years without a problem. And as a pediatric dentist and a mom, that kind of reliability and outcome means everything!

Joelle Speed, DDS

Dr. Joelle Speed is a premier pediatric dentist and the owner of The Smile Gallery located in Roseville, California. She completed dental school and her pediatric residency at Loma Linda University School of Dentistry where she graduated with honors. Dr. Speed lives in Granite Bay, California with her husband and two beautiful girls.