“How did Tristan’s impression come out?” I asked, eyeballing the tiny mouth impression in Dr. Grant’s hands.
“Well….” He pondered as he studied it, then looked up with a grin, “Good luck with this thing.”
He was right. Luck was what I would need. Reason #3 that people don’t do crowns for toddlers is because they don’t hold still for an impression.
“Just do your best, I suppose,” Doc said. “We’ll see how it turns out.”
Of course I would do my best. This was a new doctor and I wanted something great to come out of my dental lab. I wanted to impress him so he’d start sending some business my way. I did my best to make it look sort of like a natural tooth, but I had to make it very thin. Usually, with adult teeth, the doctor grinds down the natural tooth so I have space to make a porcelain tooth. That wasn’t an option with Tristan. Not only would he have an even harder time holding still for something like that than even taking the impression, but those little chompers were so small that there would have been almost nothing left if he did grind on his natural teeth. Grinding on them was not an option, which would be reason #4 why people don’t do crowns for toddlers. And because what was left of his natural tooth was already the normal thickness of the tooth, I wasn’t able to do much more than make a paper thin metal cap to cover his tooth, paint it tooth color, and put a very very very thin layer of porcelain on top of that to try to make it look sort of natural.
“Hey AJ,” I called him on the phone. “I got Tristan’s crown made. Can I come over and try it in his mouth?”
“You bet,” AJ said. “I’m not home right now, but Tessa is. Feel free to stop by. “
Darn shoot darn. It didn’t fit. It went on the tooth, but since the impression only picked up half of his tooth, the crown I made fit only halfway onto his tooth. Not only that, but poor Tristan knew me now. Of course, he knew me before, but he knew me as his friend’s dad before then. My son is right about the same age and he’d seen me thousands of times before. Now, though, I had a new title. I was the guy who kept having people hold him down while things got shoved into his mouth. I wasn’t a guy he wanted to see very often.
“I ended up making two crowns,” I told Dr. Grant when the day came to actually glue in Tristan’s crown.
“How did it turn out?” he asked, picking up the tiny tooth.
“Well, the impression wasn’t great,” I answered. “The first crown I made fit the model I made from the impression, but it didn’t fit in his mouth very well. So I made a second one and basically guessed on the whole thing. We’ll see how it goes, but I’m not holding my breath.”
“I guess there’s only one way to find out,” Doc said.
We all assumed our positions. I was back holding Tristan’s feet. Different people were assigned to different areas of his body. Tristan was well aware of the type of situation he was in before he was even pinned down, though. He’d seen the torture chair he had to sit in before. He’d seen Dr. Grant and all his many workers come into the room again. And, of course, he’d seen me- the bringer of bad times.
The first step was just to try it in- see if it would fit. That was supposed to be the first step, but right as soon as Doc’s fingers made it into Tristan’s mouth, he proved us all wrong when we thought he was helplessly being held down. He did have one last line of defense- CHOMP! He bit right down, and with that sharp broken tooth leading the way, left an impression of his teeth in Doc’s finger. Worst of all, though, was it forced the tiny tiny crown to shoot right out of his grip and… you guessed it, right down Tristan’s throat.
to be concluded...