Tooth Fairy leaves $225M under Pillows each year

Tooth Fairy Inflation

By Alison Majikes/Special to Benco Dental

I don’t know about you, but back when I was a kid, when I lost a tooth I got 50 cents under my pillow the next morning, a dollar if I was lucky…but my, how times have changed.

These days, the tooth fairy is hard at work shelling out top-dollar for all the baby teeth gracing pillows every day across the globe.

A recent survey by oral healthcare company Sunstar Gum found that money parents shell out nationwide is on the increase.

But according to Yahoo parenting, the exact dollar amount varies by region, with NYC parents giving the highest payout, averaging $13.25 for every baby tooth lost.

The company surveyed 1,000 families earlier this month (by the way, today, February 28, is National Tooth Fairy Day!) that focused on five cities: New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and Dallas/Houston.

Boston clocked in with the lowest per tooth payout out of the five cities surveyed, with an average of $5.02 per pearly white.

While Los Angeles and New York parents may dole seemingly inflated amounts, Yahoo Parenting found that most parents across the country give their children between $1 and $5 when their children’s tooth falls out.

According to an article by, during an informal Facebook survey on the matter, parents around the country recalled their own days as gap-toothed children, receiving quarters from the Tooth Fairy. In 2014, parents paid an average of $4.36 for each tooth lost, up 25% from the 2013 average of $3.50.

So, if you’re a parent to a little one these days, you might want to start saving up for all those teeth they’re going to lose. Kids are expecting a bigger payout every year!

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Kids need oral healthcare yearround

2014 LCCC Kids' Cavity Prevention Day

February is Dental Health month, but the Benco Dental Clinic helps service the community all year long.

According to, Luzerne County Community College’s Benco Dental Clinic in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania is a state-of-the art facility where, through the year, patients can visit for an intra- and extra- oral exam. This includes: oral cancer, blood pressure screening, and a complete tooth cleaning.

Students provide desensitization procedures such as:

  • Application of agents designed to reduce tooth sensitivity associated with gum recession
  • Digital X-rays, which use less radiation, are taken based upon patient need
  • Topical fluoride treatments that help strengthen teeth and prevent dental decay
  • Maintain oral health with toothbrushes, etc.

Members of the community are charged the minimal fees of $5 for children, $15 for adults and $10 for senior citizens. This service can be especially helpful to those without dental insurance.

On Saturday, March 28, the Luzerne County Community College Benco Dental Clinic will host the annual Kids’ Cavity Prevention Day, from 9 a.m. to noon. The program is for children ages three to 16, and will include dental exams, sealants, dental X-rays, oral hygiene instruction, and fluoride treatments. All services and activities are free of charge. Table clinics will be on display providing dental health information for parents and children.

From 9 a.m. to noon on April 11, the clinic will host an oral head and neck cancer screening in conjunction with the Head and Neck Alliance. Oral, head and neck cancer refers to many types of cancers but includes those that arise in the nasal cavity, sinuses, lips, mouth, thyroid glands, salivary glands, throat or larynx (voice box). The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 121,790 new cases of cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, throat and thyroid, and 14,240 deaths from these cancers in 2015. Cancers of the oropharynx (tonsil and base of tongue) are increasing in incidence, particularly in younger non-smokers, and these cancers alone will account for over 40,000 cases per year in the U.S.

To learn more about this events, visit:

Giving new meaning to the term ‘cosmetic dentist’

DR Adhikari_7735

By Kristie Ceruti/Incisal Edge Associate Editor

Patient evaluation, careful veneer placement . . . Mercedes-Benz modeling shoot? It’s all in a day’s work for Dr. Prabidhi Adhikari, who fixes teeth at Artistic Dental in Phoenix, Arizona and is a Ford model in her spare time.

Now 31 years old, Dr. Adhikari, who will be awarded her FAGD this year, signed with the Ford Modeling Agency (now Ford Models) when she was 19, the same year she entered New York University’s College of Dentistry.

The dual responsibilities, although offbeat, made sense: “With intense academic demands and a full-time schedule, modeling was an excellent way to make money while investing only a small amount of time,” she says.

View a photo of her  in a makeup ad for Stila, and read the full story at :

kristie web

When she’s not Molar Muse for Kristie Ceruti serves as Associate Editor for Incisal Edge dental lifestyle magazine. Her writing ranges into every imaginable corner of the dental profession.

Stem cells from extracted teeth help corneal blindness research

Culturing Stem cells

By Kelsi Matylewicz/Social Media Intern, Benco Dental

A team at The University of Pittsburgh conducted a study to investigate whether stem cells from human teeth can potentially be used to restore sight in those suffering from corneal blindness.

The results: promising news for those with impaired vision.

Cornea blindness occurs when the cornea is damaged after an external object has penetrated the tissue (even a poke in the eye). Bacteria or fungi from a contaminated contact lens can pass into the cornea also damaging it. These infections can lead to irreversible corneal scarring, which can impair vision and may require a corneal transplant. Most treatments are to graft a new cornea using the tissue from a cadaver, but donors are in shortage. The current failure rate of corneal grafts is about 38 percent after 10 years, primarily due to tissue rejection.

The University of Pittsburgh team, led by James L. Funderburgh, Ph.D., and Fatima Syed-Picard, Ph.D., both in the Department of Ophthalmology, decided to focus on adult dental pulp stem cells (DPSC) as a possible solution. They did this by conducting a study on mice, according to STEM CELLS Translational Medicine.

Stem cells were gathered from teeth extracted during routine dental procedures.

“If we could generate an engineered cornea using autologous cells, which are the patient’s own cells, and then use that to replace scarred tissue, we could bypass the limitations of current treatments,” Dr. Funderburgh said.

According to Stem Cells Portal, their final task was to evaluate how DPSC-generated corneal cells, or “keratocytes” would perform by labelling them with a dye (for tracking purposes) and then injecting them into the right eyes of mice. The left eye of each animal was injected with medium only, as a control.

When they tested the mice’s eyes five weeks later, they found that the DPSC-generated keratocytes had remained in the corneas and behaved similar to natural keratocytes. Their corneas were clear, and there were no signs of rejection — promising data for the team.

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One N.B.A. guard always welcome on the court

The Nets’ Mason Plumlee, left, tucks his mouthpiece inside one of his socks, which he acknowledged was “not the most sanitary place in the world.” 
Credit Adam Hunger for The New York Times

Even if they’re being reprimanded for tossing them at refs, or lacking a sanitary spot for temporary storage, N.B.A. players appear to put mouth guards to good use, according to a recent New York Times report by  

Surely, it’s scoring points with the American Dental Association, whose surveillance studies of mouth guard users and nonusers have consistently shown that the spit-soaked stalwarts offer significant protection against sports-related injuries to the teeth and soft tissues.

“Some guys put it in their spandex, and some guys put it in their sock, but I think that’s gross,” Cole Aldrich of the New York Knicks told Keh. His preferred spot for the guard when it’s not protecting his palate on the court:  hooked around one of his ears. “I shampoo my hair every day, so I think my head is pretty clean.”

According to a 2007 meta-analysis of studies evaluating the effectiveness of mouthguards in reducing injuries, the overall injury risk was found to be 1.6-1.9 times greater when a mouthguard was not worn, relative to when mouthguards were used during athletic activity, noted the ADA.  Another study of collegiate basketball teams found that athletes wearing custom-made mouthguards sustained significantly fewer dental injuries than those who did not.

Custom-made mouth guards meet N.B.A  regulations, but the league regulates them largely the same way it does other supplementary equipment, like compression sleeves or rubber wristbands. They must be one solid color — white, black, a primary team color or clear — and cannot bear any logos or designs other than a team logo. They must take the form of a player’s mouth.

Mouthguards provide a resilient, protective surface to distribute and dissipate forces on impact, thereby minimizing the severity of traumatic injury to the hard or soft tissues.  The key educational message from dentists for their patients is that the best mouthguard is one that is utilized during sport activities. While custom mouthguards are considered by many to be the most protective option, other mouthguards can be effective if they fit well, are worn properly and stay in place.

The New York Times story illustrates that’s not always the case.

Two seasons ago, Amir Johnson of the Toronto Raptors was suspended for one game after throwing his mouthpiece at the referee David Jones on the court. Earlier this season, Enes Kanter of the Utah Jazz was fined $25,000 after throwing his mouth guard into the stands while arguing a call.

Read more about how N.B.A. players embrace mouth guards: