It used to be that the Tooth Fairy gave boys and girls money for their teeth. Now he charges for his services. How did that come to be? I’m not sure, but this is my story and I’m sticking to it.
My parents grew up during the Great Depression. When they lost their baby teeth they were handed a clean rag to bite down on and complimented on growing up. By the 1950s when I lost my primary teeth, Ms. Tooth Fairy left me a dime for my first tooth and a nickel for the second. After that I was given a Kleenex and congratulated on my achievement. TF scolded me for attempted extortion when I asked for money for the other teeth that fell out. Actually, the lack of cash was beneficial. No money, no candy, no cavities. One question has nagged me over all these years. What does the Tooth Fairy do with all those teeth she collects?
Along came the 1970s and my children became more sophisticated. They wrote notes to the Tooth Fairy requesting a quarter and a rhyme.
Their efforts paid off. The Tooth Fairy left them 50 cents for their first tooth and 25 cents thereafter. Still not a fortune, but at least the Big Guy shelled out for each tooth and took time to write a short funny verse.
Tooth Fairy had to fly to Germany to look under my grandchildren’s pillows. Since TF has small wings, I’m guessing that she had to buy airline tickets for those trips. She couldn’t have had much cash left after all those trans-oceanic trips. Even so, I’m sure they made out pretty well.
Now my four great-grandsons are keeping him busy, dropping dollar bills under pillows, even for a tooth that slid down one little boy’s throat while he was eating. Other teeth have been dropped on the way to their pillows, but The Molinator* still deposits cash for every tooth.
I understand that inflation costs the Tooth Fairy more each generation. Everything else costs more. Why not teeth? However, I don’t understand why Tooth Fairy is now charging me to retrieve my recently lost tooth. Did she go broke serving all those little children? Was it a dollar fine for each time I forgot to brush my teeth at bedtime?
All I can do is explain how it all happened. A few months ago at my regular check-up my dentist gasped when he saw my x-ray. A cavity had formed under a crown on a 12-year molar. After assuring me that I was not ready to face a toothless old-age, he explained that the Tooth Fairy would need to return to dental college to learn how to replace a tooth.
After graduation TF began a procedure that included multiple x-rays and all sorts of strange equipment. The most traumatic event was her extraction of the affected tooth. When TF realized that I snore like a saw mill and that my exhalations have the power of a hurricane, she decided not to try a sleep extraction but to use an ordinary numbing medication.
She stabbed me several times with a syringe filled with happy juice. After a few minutes I was lying in the reclining chair smiling up at her with a cotton filled mouth. She firmly grasped the tooth and began tugging. Nothing happened. She tried again, wiggling the tooth a bit. Then harder and still nothing. Fianlly she grabbed a chisel and a hammer and broke the tooth in two. Pretty soon TF was leaning over me, tugging with all her might. Finally, she climbed on my chest to get a better grip, bracing my jaw with her knee to keep it from dislocating. Finally, the first half of the tooth popped out, almost banging TF on her own chin from her exertion. The second half slid out easily.
After all that TF inserted a place holder for the new tooth. From the sounds and her motions, I was able to visualize what was happening. First she used a Black and Decker electric drill to make a hole in the jaw bone. That didn’t take long. Then TF inserted a place-holder peg with a ratchet wrench. As her hand moved back and forth to tighten the peg I felt like I was under construction. When she completed this phase of my oral repairs I told TF what I had imagined. She confirmed my suspicion by saying that was exactly what had happened. Then she explained that she honed her skills at home by making wee doll houses using a full range of tiny construction tools. That analogy continued this morning when TF inserted my new tooth, ratcheting the permanent peg into place and sealing it with a caulking gun. Oh, the material is partially zirconian, so I now have a fake diamond smile. I even have a specially designed tooth brush. It looks like a teeny, tiny bottle brush.
When I asked for a $1 for my lost tooth, Tooth Fairy just rolled on the floor laughing. She reminded me that children’s teeth simply become loose and fall out. She just plucks the clean, dry teeth from under pillows. For all the trouble I gave her she demanded the title to my car and a second mortgage on my home. I’m sure the new tooth will be worth all the cost and effort. But, gosh, I can’t even go around to my friends and say, “See my new tooth.” It’s just not polite behavior for woman who has long since passed her 9th birthday.
*From ”The Santa Claus” movie series
© Sharon Dillon, April 12, 2016