The rising cost of teeth

We were sitting at the table eating dinner when out of the blue the kid asked what would happen if she lost a tooth when she was at my house. She was concerned that the Tooth Fairy wouldn’t know how to find her. I explained that, as part of the process with her social worker, the Tooth Fairy was informed of her change of address – as were the Easter Bunny, Santa, et cetera.

This prompted a question to the kid about how much the Tooth Fairy leaves her. The kid quickly explained that she would always leave her tooth under her pillow and when she woke in the morning there was $5 or $10 in place of the tooth.

$5 or $10 for a tooth?! You’ve got to be kidding me!

All of the sudden I found myself telling the kid that, in this volatile global economic environment, the Tooth Fairy was likely to start paying less for teeth; after all, the market wouldn’t be able to bear the higher cost of teeth for long. (The fact that the kid pointed out not one but four loose teeth made this statement even more vital.)

I also had to inform the kid that because we lived in an extremely rural area off the main roads, we needed to make it easier for the Tooth Fairy to get in and out of the house quickly. So, any lost teeth would need to be placed in a glass of water on the dining room table for the fairy to find*. That way, the Tooth Fairy can come in, grab the tooth, leave some money and skedaddle. Having to sneak in and carefully remove the tooth from under a pillow is very time-consuming, you know.

When I was a kid we got a quarter. Yep, two-bits, that was it; maybe more on a rare occasion that I’ve forgotten about. Of course, when I was a kid a Jolly Rancher stick was only 10¢ and a candy bar was about a quarter. I haven’t seen Jolly Rancher sticks in ages (do they still make them?) and candy bars are nearly a buck these days. So, I can see how a tooth would also claim a higher price tag.

But how much is a tooth worth?

A quick search online gave answers ranging from a letter telling the kid how proud the Tooth Fairy was that the tooth was in such great condition (lame!) to $20 or a video game (outrageous!). So, I did what people do in this age of social media: I asked my friends on Facebook.

Luckily, it seems that most of the responses I got were within a $2 to $5 range – leaning more heavily toward $2.

Anyhow, that first conversation with the kid was about four weeks ago – and she finally lost the tooth the other day whilst I was in England. She told the family she was staying with that she would take the tooth back with her because she’d rather the Tooth Fairy come to my house. (How sweet.)

So, when we got up this morning the kid went to see what the Tooth Fairy left. And wouldn’t you know it? $2 was at the bottom of the glass ($1 in quarters and a Sacajawea dollar). There was also a ‘scratch and sniff’ tooth brush and a pack of fun flossers left behind. I guess that might have been a hint to the kid…

Now, about the rest of those loose teeth. Guess I’ll have to make sure the Tooth Fairy is prepared for them, too!

* I don’t know why, but we always left our teeth in a glass of water. Some kids left their teeth under their pillows. Others just on the kitchen table. Feel free to tell me how things go down in your home!

6 thoughts on “The rising cost of teeth

  1. Loose teeth always went under the pillow. But I confess my sister and I used to store them up for visiting our great aunt and uncle’s place – the tooth fairy in Yorkshire was way more generous than the Scottish one.

    I will leave it to big sis to tell the story of the loose tooth and the Wimpy Bar!

    By the way, I’m impressed that you didn’t opt for the tactic of telling the kid that the Tooth Fairy would help her pay off her library fine!!

  2. We had a special ceramic tooth fairy (that my kids use now) and we only recieved a small amount of change as well. The tooth fairy some how finds those ‘old fashioned’ $2 bills everytime one of my kids lose a tooth. We all get a kick out of those rarities. But I do recall once the tooth fairy must’ve been out of the bills and left 2 Sacajawea dollars instead once.

    Sneaky little fairy!

    I’m also with Rebecca and was a little surprised that the kid was still believing. Kudos to you and the previous families for keeping her childhood (at least on this level) in tact!

  3. The tooth fairy leaves 2 dollars for the first two teeth lost, and a dollar after that. And my kids still leave it under the pillow. They’re heavy sleepers, so it works out just fine.

    It is tough to explain to my children why the tooth fairy doesn’t leave as much for them as she does for other kids. I just tell them that the tooth fairy knows that I don’t want them spoiled, or something like that. It’s basically the same thing I tell them about why Santa doesn’t leave them Iphones and other 300 dollar items. Because he knows that I don’t want Christmas to be about that.

    It’s all about how you spin it I guess.

  4. We have a special toothfairy pillow at our house. It has a ribbon handle on it so it can be hung next to the bed or on the door for easy access by the Toothfairy. First lost tooth recieves 2 “golden” dollars as my little girl just found out. The rest of the teeth that have been lost by my son have only recieved 1 gold dollar, unless they had to be pulled by the Dentist (Grandpa, no really he’s a D.D.S.) then they too recieved 2 gold dollars. While it’s not a lot of money, the uniqueness of the “golden” dollar makes it seem special and fairy like.

    As a kid the Tooth Fairy left change, and my family had a big red and white checked pillow with a tooth shaped pocket. And My Tooth Fairy wore cowboy boots.

  5. In short, my lil’ sis (the Rebecca in the first comment) decided to hasten nature by ramming her loos incisor into the drinking straw of her knickerbocker glory at the local Wimpy. Please note, going out for a WImpy was a huge and special treat in our house. Please remember that detail.
    So she jams the tooth into the straw and then finds she cannot get it out. Cue my mother to become flustered and accuse Becca of making a scene. Eventually Becca is separated from her dessert sans tooth which is still jammed in the drinking straw. I think there was blood, there was no wailing from The Stoic but there was a lot of flapping from mother (a regular feature of life growing up) and cries of spoiling a special day.

    PS: the tooth fairy finds my Wee Guy’s teeth in a special pillow (made by a friend, and leaves no more than a toonie. there was a temporary raise in rates for the last two teeth as they had to be yanked by mum, with much angst (his and mine), on the dentist’s instructions.

  6. The tradition in our family was to leave the tooth in a glass full of water. Don’t know why the water, since the tooth fairy had to essentially empty it, refill and drop in the quarter.

    On one tooth loss occasion, I being wise beyond my years explained to my mother and in a note to the tooth fairy, that I didn’t put water in the glass so instead of a quarter, I could be left a dollar. My theory, was of course, the tooth fairy didn’t want to ruin a paper dollar and thus was the reason for the quarters. The next morning, laying in the bottom of the dry glass, was a dry quarter.

    Budgetary demands of the tooth fairy!

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