Your child is expecting a visit from the Tooth Fairy, but has no tooth to offer up. They have a tiny little hole in their smile where a tooth once resided, but now it’s gone. What to do now?
I’ll share a story with you about the Case of MY Missing Tooth.
I was 6 years old and nearing the end of first grade. At this stage of my life I remember waking up, getting dressed, and racing my brother downstairs to get to the cereal first. My mom would be busy making school lunches while we hurriedly ate our cereal and slurped the remaining milk from the bowls. I don’t recall exactly how long our cereal eating took, but I would venture to guess it was less than 5 minutes. I distinctly remember scarfing down my Wheaties one morning when I realized I had swallowed my tooth.
I sat across the table from my brother and called for my mom with my mouth wide open and a finger where the tooth had once been (I’m sure I was easy to understand). My mom stopped what she was doing and came over to see what was happening. She was thrilled at the sight of the new space in between my teeth. I must have looked at her with serious concern and fear in my eyes because she was quick to ask what was wrong. Still with a finger hanging out of my mouth I mumbled, “I swallowed it.” She began to chuckle and offer assurance that everything was going to be alright. She confirmed that a tooth tree would not grow from my stomach and explained how it would pass through my system. With wide eyes, I asked if that meant we would have to search for it; to which she quickly answered “NO!”
Then it occurred to me that I wouldn’t have a tooth to give the Tooth Fairy. My brother laughed at me and told me I wouldn’t be getting a visit from the Tooth Fairy OR a surprise. My eyes welled up with tears and my mom told my brother, “hush.” She then assured me the Tooth Fairy would still come for a visit and leave me something special because she knows the happenings of all teeth. My mom also told me we could write a letter to the Tooth Fairy just in case. I squinted and shot my brother a gloating look as I hugged my mom.
Now, whether your child swallows or loses their tooth, there is no need to worry. Dentists agree that a swallowed tooth will eventually pass through your child’s system without harm to the child or the tooth for that matter. If on the other hand, your child loses or misplaces the tooth, there is also no need to worry. I can assure you, it is not the first time a tooth has gone missing and certainly won’t be the last.
I can’t tell you how many of my students (6 to be exact) took their little tooth out of their fancy plastic tooth necklace which was given to them by the school nurse. Each student removed the tooth to examine it and/or show it to their friends on the playground. After recess they would then run up to me frantically with their posse only steps behind. Tears running down their cheeks, they would present the empty tooth necklace. After telling me their story, we would attempt to retrace their steps. One time it proved to be a successful recovery. The other two kiddo’s weren’t as lucky.
As they expressed their concern over the Tooth Fairy visit, or lack thereof, I told them it would be ok. I found myself using my mom’s words from when I was their age; providing them with reason and reassurance. I shared my story with them. I encouraged them to go home and write their own letter or draw a picture of their new smile with the missing tooth. I told them the Tooth Fairy would understand. Each student would return to class the following day with their story about the Tooth Fairy’s visit.