May 20, 2013

Tooth Fairy Cost Index: What’s the Going Rate for Teeth?

My eldest daughter recently lost her first tooth. It had been wiggly for months, which gave me some time to prepare for my first encounter with The Tooth Fairy in more than two-dozen years. The last time she visited me, I was using these ridiculous (but awesome) tiny Transformers pillowcases. Now I use large (and manly) Transformers pillowcases. My wife is one lucky woman.

This sparked a heated debate in our house: What is the Current Market-Value of teeth these days? My wife suggested it was $5 for the first tooth, $1 there after. I thought 50 cents per tooth was more reasonable—after all, it’s not like The Tooth Fairy is made out of money or owns stock in Google. And my mom, who has little restraint when it comes to the grandkids, suggested that, when taking into account inflation, teeth are going for $20 a pop. (Though I think she may be artificially raising the price because a recent trip to the dentist revealed a couple of her teeth are on the way out and she’s trying to get maximum dollar for them).

So I decided to email The Tooth Fairy and ask. This wasn’t easy for me. When my relationship with The Tooth Fairy ended, I was fairly hurt. During that final visit I realized that she was amazingly superficial—after all, she was only into me because of my teeth. Once my last baby tooth was gone, so was she. The final quarter she left was basically an "It's not you, it's me" note. I also think she stole my Pete Rose autographed baseball.

But with her return fast approaching for my daughter, I decided to email her and bury the hatchet. I mean, I'd hate for my daughter to get below-market value for her teeth. We had a lengthy discussion that I had planned to keep private, but thanks to Freedom of Information Act I am forced to share with the Internet.

From: (don’t judge me)

Hey Tooth Fairy,

Long time no chat. I don’t want things to be awkward between us. I just need to know what the going rate is for a tooth? My wife and I were curious, just so we know what to expect when you pick up my daughter’s tooth tonight (That’s right, she finally lost it!).

Anyway, just let me know.
PS-Also, do you know what happened to my Pete Rose autographed baseball? I mean, it was there and then, poof, it was gone. Thoughts?


Oh, hey. I’ve been meaning to call, but I’ve been terribly busy these past 20-some years. You know, flying from house to house. Sneaking teeth out from under pillows. Business is HUGE. I’ve even hired an accountant. His name is Mark.
No idea what happened to your baseball. Perhaps Santa stole it. I’ve never trusted that dude.
T. Fairy


Thanks for the update. But you didn’t quite answer my question: How much is the going rate for a tooth? My wife and I have a bet going over this. If she’s right, I have to give her back massages for a month. If I’m right, I get the one thing every guy wants. You know what I’m talking about. Glee Season 1 on DVD.


I really thought Glee jumped the shark when Finn and Rachel broke up. I mean, Finn is such a wimp.


No, no, Finn had to let her go because … wait, I’m not here to talk Glee. I’m here to talk teeth. How much do you leave under the pillow when you pick up a tooth? A quarter? 50 Cents? A Dollar? More?


You remember that time you lost your tooth and left me a note instead? “Dear Tooth Fairy, I lost my tooth and then really lost it. Could you leave money anyway?” That was a bush-league move. I wasn’t going to leave you anything, but then your Mom caught me trying to sneak out. I had no idea she knew so many swear words. I had never heard the term “asshat” before.


I thought the note was sweet?

It wasn’t sweet. Hold on to your tooth!


OK, that’s all in the past. Let’s let bygones be bygones. Please, just let me know, how much for a tooth?


You know how I determine the price of the tooth? When each kid loses their first tooth, the parents leave me a letter under one of their pillows instructing me how much to give the kid. The amount has to be reasonable, but it can be different for the first tooth, middle teeth and last tooth. So really, it’s up to the parents. They just have to let me know.


I had no idea. Thanks for the heads up. I’ll be sure to leave a letter for you tonight.


No problem. Also, since you are letting bygones be bygones, I did take your Pete Rose autographed ball. Suck on that, asshat!


I knew it!

UPDATE: You will be happy to know that my daughter received $5 for her first tooth, but will be receiving $1 for every tooth moving forward. Apparently my wife and I both wrote letters, but The Tooth Fairy only reached under one of our pillows. And it wasn’t the awesome Transformers one. 

Oh Boy, You're Having a Girl
(A Dad's Survival Guide to Raising Daughters)

* Subscribe to The Life of Dad via email or RSS feed!  
* Also, follow me on Twitter @BrianKlems. I promise to occasionally say funny things. 


Karen Gough said...

Our tooth fairy leaves a dollar per tooth - except for the time a special pointy tooth had to be extracted - that brought $2 I think?
Our tooth fairy has been challenged lately as our daughter is 9 and getting suspicious. It didn't help that she lost several teeth in a row - I mean, how can a tooth fairy be expected to keep up?
Loved your blog - thanks!

Wendy Omuro said...

I just love reading your posts, all alone in my writing room, laughing so hard my side hurts, with water shooting out of my nose and onto the computer, short circuiting it, prompting me to buy a new one ... which I wouldn't mind getting reimbursed for. JK, that didn't really happen, but admit it, you believed me for a second, didn't you? I, not having any kids of my own yet, have no authority in assessing current market value for teeth, but I recall getting a dollar or two under my pillow when I still had teeth I could afford to lose. I think you and your wife made the right call, I mean, your wife and the Tooth Fairy. :) Thanks again for the laughs!

Jeff Hay ( said...

Hey Brian,

It's Jeff from the Dad Vibe... this was very funny and informative -- we are in talks with the Tooth Fairy right now... she was a little amused and saddened by my son's attempt to deceive and dupe her when he used my disgusting extracted wisdom teeth (from my 20s) and pass them off as his own...

It's all better now after some discussion -- we are on the $5 smacker per tooth... (but that's Canadian :)

:Donna said...

You know, I can't remember what I used to leave under my son's pillow, but I'm pretty sure, when I was a kid (in the 60s!), there was never a set amount. I'm thinking it was whatever spare change was in the tooth fairy's pocket that particular day ;)

My boyfriend's name is also Mark, but he is most definitely not an accountant, but IS a HUGE Metallica fan (learned a lot of their songs on his drums), as is my son. That is why, when allowing him (my son, not my boyfriend lol) to play his music whenever we were in the car, I got to know some of their songs and actually genuinely fell in love with "Enter Sandman." I've been told this was not the "GOOD" Metallica era! lol Not that I would know!

Now, back to the Tooth Fairy issue: In reading this scintillating dialogue between you and the lady with the pearly whites, I think you may have another writing "trick" up your sleeve, Brain. (lol, I was going to fix that typo, but thought you'd appreciate it.) You need to seriously consider bringing your humor to children's Picture Books (Me thinks I may message you on Twitter...) Of course, you wouldn't be able to include vocabulary such as "asshat" in the text. Sorry :/ Though Mark, the non-accountant, will LOVE that word!

Thanks for the wide-gap-now-in-my-teeth giggles, and since it's imperative for you to keep track, this is always the same :Donna Marie who's "WriterSideUp" and "SimmerArtist." I get SO confused as to which name is connected to which server and forget which will show up. It's always a surprise---kind of like how much money I was going to get from the Tooth Fairy ;)

Jihoon Kim said...

I just accidentally found your blog, and love reading your posts! They are hilarious! I also just bought a copy of your book on Amazon, ( used one, sorry ! ) I look forward to reading more of your post,, keep it up!

Nicole said...

The tooth fairy left varying amounts at our depended on how many children she had to visit that night to share the funds among. This helped a lot with those other kids who bragged to my child that they got $20 per tooth which I consider ridiculous. Guess they got lucky that night as few teeth were lost. It was usually around a dollar but also found that my kids liked the unknown value and especially if there were lots of coins involved to discover that next morning.

bob t said...

Your posts always make me laugh! When I was a kid the tooth fairy left $1 a tooth, and thats how it is for my kids. I always think its good to encourage them to look after their teeth, hoping that this will mean they look after them all their lives!

Pearl Cook said...

That was a fun conversation with the Tooth Fairy, Brian! Haha! By the way, since your daughter started losing her baby teeth, naturally, adult teeth will start to grow. This is a crucial stage for her dental health as this will determine her teeth alignment and condition. I hope you'd be as mindful of taking care of her teeth as you are with the rate of her tooth loss.
Pearl @ Summerbrook Dental Group

Nishan Halim said...

This is hilarious! Hahaha. Coming up with how much you would your daughter for the value of the first tooth she loses is really tough. I personally think maybe around two dollars just so she does not expect too much every time and get you guys bankrupt. Hahaha! Anyway, how much did you guys settled to give her?
Nishan Halim

Randy Farmer said...

It seems that you had a long thread of negotiation with the Tooth Fairy, huh? Hahaha! That’s so hilarious! Anyway, $5 for the first tooth is not bad, since the fallout would come correspondingly. So, how’s your daughter now?

Randy Farmer