hellosmile and the Tooth Fairy Tradition!
Children’s power of imagination part of what we celebrate everyday at hellosmile! The Tooth Fairy fantasy figure is of course the most common character we talk about when a child visits one of our centers. Tooth Fairy has been known to visit children for many years and the magic of baby teeth (also known as milk or primary teeth) have been documented for over a 1000 years!
Children’s first natural opportunity to receive a visit by the Tooth Fairy is usually around age five to six years of age when they loose their first teeth in the lower front. These are replaced by permanent teeth called incisors that the child will have for the rest of his or her life. Children also get their first permanent molars at around the same time, but these teeth don’t replace any primary teeth and simply grow behind the baby molars as part of the growing lower and upper jaws. We call these “six year molars!”, because they usually erupt at around that age! Children will continue to loose primary teeth that are replaced by permanent ones naturally over the next six to seven years until the age of 11 to thirteen years of age. Children usually get their second permanent molars around age 12. These teeth do not replace any primary teeth and are called 12 year molars. They grow behind the six year molars in the back of the mouth as the jaw continues to grow. With every natural tooth loss children have a chance to have a visit by the Tooth Fairy who may leave them money under their pillow for each tooth that has fallen out!
While these primary or baby teeth usually fall out on their own, sometime they need a little help from the dentist! They may cause the permanent teeth to come out of the mouth in the wrong position. At other times a loose tooth that is not fully falling out (exfoliating) by itself can cause pain on chewing, eating or brushing. This can then cause the child and or the parent to not be able to brush the area well causing the gums to be inflamed (gingivitis) and become red and even bleed at times. In most these cases the dentist can simply help “wiggle” the tooth out with the “hellosmile magic cream” (a specially formulated topical anesthesia) which eliminates the need for any injection to comfortably remove the stubborn primary tooth for the Tooth Fairy.
Sadly there are times when a primary tooth has to be taken out prematurely due to tooth decay or trauma. In these cases the dentist may recommend the placement of a space maintainer to preserve the space for the permanent tooth in the future. Without such treatment, the primary teeth can shift forward and close the space not allowing the future permanent teeth to erupt. The Tooth Fairy still visits even when teeth are lost prematurely.
At the hellosmile centers, we assure that the family will receive the tooth that has been “wiggled out” or extracted by the dentist for the Tooth Fairy. We also check with the parents to assure the Tooth Fairy does visit their neighborhood! The concept of tooth fairy is of northern European origin and not all cultures are aware of Tooth Fairy’s magic!
Some have concerns about giving back extracted teeth to the patient if they have been taken out due to infection. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), extracted teeth may be returned to the patients upon request and are not subject to the provisions of the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard.
Parents often ask about the going rate for Tooth Fairy’s prize money per tooth. This of course really depends on the parents. A 2013 survey by Visa Inc. found that American children receive $3.70 per tooth on average!