“So Tristan broke half of his tooth in the tub, right?” AJ said.
“Yeah, I saw that,” I said. “What dentist do you guys go to? He should be able to fix that.”
“Dr. Grant,” AJ replied. “He did fix it. He’s fixed it twice, but building it up with the filling stuff didn’t seem to work. Both times it’s broken off again.”
“I’m not an expert about that kind of thing, so I can’t really say one way or another what he should do,” I said.
“Well, that’s sort of the thing,” AJ said. “I told Dr. Grant that I had a friend who owned his own dental lab and told him I would ask you if you’d be willing to make a crown for Tristan.”
“Oh, wow,” I said. “I’ve never made a crown for a baby tooth before, and I’ve never even heard of someone making one for a one year old kid.”
“So you can’t do it?” AJ sounded a bit disappointed.
“I didn’t say that,” I said. “If he’s willing to give it a shot, I’ll give it a shot. It’s not going to be too easy, though.”
In attempting to build my dental lab business, it’s important yet hard to get to meet new doctors. They’re so busy. Chances are Dr. Grant already had a lab he liked and had been using for some time. Even harder than getting to meet him would be getting to spend some time around him so he gets to know me. Even if making a crown for a one year old’s front tooth proved to be impossible, hey, at least it would get me some face time with a new doctor and maybe something good for my business would come out of it. Of course I was willing to do it.
I have always kind of wondered if Dr. Grant said he was willing to do the crown only because he didn’t actually think I would be willing to make it. Ha ha. That’ll teach him. I was willing. Of course, I quickly learned the reasons why people don’t do crowns for one year olds, other than reason #1, which is the fact that the tooth would fall out in a few years.
“How ya doin’? I’m Dr. Grant,” he said. “You ready for this?”
“Well, I’d be lying if I said I’ve done it before,” I answered. “But I’m ready as I’ll ever be, I suppose.”
“The hardest part might be to get an impression taken of Tristan’s mouth for you to work on,” Doc told me. “Kids this age don’t like to hold still very well for anything, let alone someone trying to stick something in their mouth.”
“How long does it take for the impression material to sit?” I asked.
“This stuff I’m gonna use will need 3 minutes,” he said. “Hopefully we can do this in one try because it would probably get more difficult with each one.”
Doc pulled out the little custom impression tray he and his assistant had made. Since one year olds don’t usually get crowns made, the trays used to take impressions are not made so small for his size mouth. There’s reason #2 people don’t make crowns for toddlers. His assistant filled it with impression material and it was time for business.
“Okay, Tristan,” Doc said. “We just need you to let us hold this in your mouth for three minutes and then you’ll be all done for the day.”
We all knew it was going to be a battle. It was the first time in my professional dental lab technician career that I’d ever had to hold someone’s feet while they took the impression. For all poor Tristan knew, we were all out to get him. What other explanation could there be for someone holding your feet, someone holding your left arm, someone else holding your right arm, Mom holding your torso, someone holding your head back, and one last person sticking gooey substance in your mouth. It sounds more like something out of a horrible science fiction movie than out of a dentist office. Horrible horrible horrible was what Tristan thought of those 3 minutes of torture, trying to kick and trying to thrash, but being held immobile by half a dozen large people. What terror. What horror. What a relief for all of us once it was done, especially for little Tristan.
To be continued...