2975 Westchester Avenue, Suite G02, Purchase, NY 10577
Who Still Believes in the Tooth Fairy? A LITTLE EXTRA MAGIC
“The tooth fairy has paid quite a few visits to our house.” “
I am sure any dental profession would agree that the best part about working in this industry is getting to meet the tooth fairy. At least, this is what I tell my younger patients. Aug. 22 is National Tooth Fairy Day, which has put the tooth fairy top of mind. When kids come in to get their teeth extracted, we always make sure they get the tooth back. This is really important for patients who whole-heartedly believe in the tooth fairy. Some kids worry that the tooth fairy won’t come because their teeth didn’t fall out on their own, but I assure them that we have a hotline to the tooth fairy. We let her know the teeth were extracted so that she can visit that night. The real question is how much are their teeth worth? Back in 1998, Delta Dental began conducting an annual poll to find out how much money children received from the tooth fairy. That first year, they found the average going rate for a baby tooth was $1.30. It seems that the tooth fairy is impacted by inflation because the price has gone up since then. In 2017, the tooth fairy was paying an average of $4.50 per tooth. That’s certainly a lot higher than when I was a kid! The tooth fairy has paid quite a few visits to our house. We have two sets of twins in our family, which means 80 baby teeth needed to be collected over the years. Whenever one of the kids lost a tooth, the tooth fairy would give them a little money in exchange for the tooth, as promised. But the tooth fairy knows how important it can be for twins to do things together, so both kids would wake up with small gifts, regardless of which twin lost the tooth. Everyone was happy. When our kids first started losing their baby teeth, my wife and I printed out a picture of the tooth fairy for them. Getting a picture of the tooth fairy is a lot different than getting a picture of another childhood legend, like Santa Claus. Unlike jolly old St. Nick, Coca-Cola hasn’t created a universally accepted image of the tooth fairy. This means kids can have pretty wild ideas of what the tooth fairy looks like.
Our kids pictured your typical pretty sprite, but in 1984, Dr. Rosemary Wells, America’s foremost tooth fairy expert, asked the kids what they thought the tooth fairy looked like. She learned some children imaged the tooth fairy as a bear, a bat, a dragon, or even “a potbellied, cigar-smoking, jeans-clad flying male.” Talk about some wild imaginations. I encourage children to believe in the tooth fairy because it’s fun. Some people say that believing in the tooth fairy helps kids practice better dental habits. While I don’t think believing in a magical, money-giving sprite encourages children to take better care of their teeth, I have seen how knowing the tooth fairy will come can make it easier on children who need to have a tooth pulled. There’s so much information available these days; it’s easy for even kids to debunk the idea of fairies. This is part of the reason I encourage my younger patients to believe in the tooth fairy. It’s fun to let a little fantasy play out, and we could all use some extra magic in our lives.
–Dr. Michael Graffeo
Westchester Office • 914-251-0313www.oralsurgeryofwestchester.com
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