DEAR ABBY: I must respond to "Always His Mom," who asked what to do with her grown son's baby teeth. She can contact the college of dentistry close to her and ask if the school would like to have the baby teeth.
When I was in dental school, we used deciduous teeth (baby teeth) to study the dental anatomy of children. It's rare to have a complete set from one person, which would make these a good learning aid for students. When I was in school, the deciduous teeth were nearly smooth because of the number of students who had handled them, making them very difficult to identify.
- Doug from Solon, Iowa
DEAR DOUG: Your suggestion to contact a dental school and ask if they would be interested in using the baby teeth as learning aids is sensible. Other readers offered some ideas:
DEAR ABBY: The original reasoning behind the tooth under the pillow custom was to keep witches from getting ahold of them and casting a spell on the child. The traditional disposition of those teeth was straight into the fire!
- Ladawn in Wisconsin
DEAR ABBY: I had a neighbor with five children. She also kept their baby teeth and was inspired to use them to make a present for her father. At the time, we were into casting things in plastic, so she bought a mold for a toilet seat and embedded all the teeth neatly into it.
Her father refused to use it because he said it would be like sitting in a shark's mouth.
- Carole in Gilford, N.H.
DEAR ABBY: My son passed away. His girlfriend was pregnant and had the baby four months later. We had a DNA test done using his baby teeth, which I had saved. It proved he was the father, and the baby, our grandson, is now 10 years old.
Also, the boy was able to get Social Security benefits for survivors. How's that for a good use for baby teeth?
- Grandma in Newburgh, N.Y.