Dentists give tooth fairy a helping hand

Most dentists the Telegraph spoke to were happy to ignore guidelines to dispose of children's teeth
Most dentists the Telegraph spoke to were happy to ignore guidelines to dispose of children's teeth
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Most dentists in the county are happy to give the tooth fairy a helping hand – although one refused to give back a tooth to a seven-year-old girl.

Official government policy recomends dentists dispose of teeth to stop the risk of infection – giving the tooth fairy a tough task in finding it.

But most dentists the Telegraph contacted said they use their discretion when it comes to handing back milk teeth.

A Burton Latimer woman whose granddaughter was stopped from taking home her tooth after a dental appointment says she thinks the rules are “rather sad”.

Janet Smith said the seven-year-old youngster was told it was “company policy” for teeth to be disposed of after it was removed by a Kettering dentist.

However, most dentists the Telegraph has spoken to said they often take a commonsense approach to government guidelines – and many are happy to hand them over after cleaning them.

Alasdair McKendrick, of Anterior Dental Care in Kettering and the British Dental Association’s Northants branch, said dentists are told to dispose of teeth because there is a small risk of infection.

However, he added: “I would say that most dentists, including myself, use their own discretion as we can easily sterilise the teeth. I admit that it’s a tricky area though.”

Linda Gadsby, practice manager of Elizabeth Street Dental Centre in Corby, said: “It is classed as hazardous waste, but we do give children their teeth if we are asked, after cleaning and sterilising them of course.”

Jo Pullen, practice manager at Brookfield Dental Care in Rushden, said families don’t even have to ask to have children’s teeth.

She added: “They are sterilised in a solution and we put them in a small bag.

“I think it’s only natural for children to want the teeth.”

Two other dentists who asked not to be named said they adopt the same approach.