Tooth saving: Bank on it

Feb. 1, 2005
Is it time for your child to lose a tooth? A back and forth and wiggle motion often results in the loss of that loose lower central incisor from the mouth of a five- or six-year-old child.

Is it time for your child to lose a tooth? A back and forth and wiggle motion often results in the loss of that loose lower central incisor from the mouth of a five- or six-year-old child. When this method fails, a toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwich will surely claim the defenseless tooth. In whichever manner the tooth finally exits, a lost baby tooth is a monumental event for both child and parent.

When the revered tooth is stowed safely under the pillow, and the proverbial Tooth Fairy makes her rounds, the question remains for the parent - what to do with the tooth? The child, who is very proud of the fallen tooth, wishes to keep it from the Tooth Fairy’s stockpile, yet the idea of a monetary token or trinket still has great appeal. For some children, the thought of a stranger visiting during the night to trade a tooth for a coin is frightening.

If these scenarios ring true, The Perfect Present Company has a unique keepsake bank designed to cleverly highlight the monumental tooth loss. The Tooth Fairy’s Baby Tooth Bank showcases fallen teeth and provides a place for cash and coins. The idea of placing teeth in a memory bank may hold greater appeal and provide comfort for a child instead of the Tooth Fairy snatching them. Consider also that the bank can be used with or without a nighttime visit from the Fairy.

The heirloom bank has been on the market since 1990. This was perfect timing for me, because my own child began dropping teeth at the same time. My daughter wanted not only the promised funds, but to keep the tooth as well. I happily purchased The Tooth Fairy’s Baby Tooth Bank in blue to match my daughter’s eyes. I had her write a note to the Tooth Fairy that asked, “Pretty please, leave the tooth for my new tooth bank.”

The baby tooth bank safely stores the treasured teeth in individual cubbies that halo around the tooth shaped bank. The revolving dial is clear Lucite, so that as the teeth fill the round reservoirs, the child can still view the previously lost teeth. On the receptacles underside, a diary-disc provides an area to chart the dates of the lost teeth. Resting on a resin pillow-shaped base, the trim comes in pink, blue, green, yellow, red, or blue with a bright yellow bow.

A slightly pliant molar provides a slot for inserting monetary deposits. The bank weighs one pound, the perfect size for a proud child to tote the tooth to show friends and relatives. Don’t be surprised if after the child shows grandma or grandpa the newly fallen tooth, some “extra” dollar bills find their way into the drop slot. Kids love to be the center of attention, and they get very excited showing off the prized tooth and developing valuable communications skills as they tell others how they lost the tooth. Consider keeping a couple of these banks on hand in the office for patients’ gift-giving needs.

When a young patient has a loose tooth chairside, home-care instructions may have a greater impact. Explain to the child that the Tooth Fairy looks over all collected teeth to see how well they were brushed. Encourage the child to better care for his or her teeth because the Tooth Fairy is pleased with clean teeth and may leave something special when she realizes the extra effort the child spent on the teeth. Stress that a dirty tooth receives far less attention - and cash. Rest assured, the child will quickly understand the value of clean teeth. Parents will appreciate the emphasis and motivation given by the hygienist towards good dental health.

For those times when a tooth is “hanging by a thread” and comes out during treatment, or if a tooth must be extracted, send it home safely in a tooth-shaped necklace. This novelty necklace from SmileMakers, keeps a stray tooth safe and is ideal for keeping tiny teeth from being misplaced. The tooth-shaped container closes tightly can can be worn around the neck safely for transporting home.

Sometimes young children have a misconstrued view of money and find that it’s much easier to spend it than to save it. The “I want, want, want” mode can be altered by using a tooth bank which encourages saving, not spending. The child can deposit any funds received from a lost tooth directly into their very own bank. After several teeth have fallen and the coins start to accumulate, parents should discuss with their children what they want to do with the stockpile. Valuable concepts of money management can be instilled in children by using this simple saving bank.

The Perfect Present Company has taken into consideration extenuating circumstances that may occur when a tooth is lost. When the child sheds a tooth and then loses it, don’t fret, order a replacement! For the tooth that is swallowed or dislodged during play and never found, consider purchasing an acrylic replacement to slide into the respected numbered cubby at a cost of $6.95 per tooth. This substitution should help teary-eyed youngsters avoid thinking that they will be unjustly gypped out of money because they have nothing to place under their pillow.

The Tooth Fairy’s Tooth Bank can change a child’s uneasiness over losing a tooth into an exciting experience. Toothless memories can be safely preserved when each fallen tooth is sentimentally recorded in the bank. A filled bank becomes an endearing keepsake collection of the child’s early smile. Chances are your parents had every good intention of keeping your shed baby teeth. Nonetheless, without a long-term place to save the teeth, they eventually became misplaced. With the Tooth Bank, a child’s lost tooth will not become lost twice. Recently, my six-year-old came home from kindergarten and proudly announced, “I have a loose tooth!” Here we go again.

The author did not receive compensation for product endorsement. For more information on The Tooth Fairy’s Tooth Bank, visit www, or ask you dental supplier. For more information about the tooth necklace, go to

Karen Kaiser, RDH, graduated from St. Louis' Forest Park dental hygiene program in 1994 and currently practices at the Center for Contemporary Dentistry in Columbia, Ill. She has written several articles for RDH and other publications, sits on dental hygiene panels, and is a evaluator for Clinical Research Associates. She can be contacted at [email protected]