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Going Rate for the Tooth Fairy

The Tooth Fairy allowed the ChickieNob to keep the tooth she lost at the White House.  You know, because it’s special.  Normally the Tooth Fairy snatches those suckers up: if you want the cash, you need to relinquish the tooth.  But the Tooth Fairy understood that this one had sentimental value.

The ChickieNob has no clue what she is going to do with said tooth.  It is currently in my drawer.

I hope she doesn’t open the drawer and see the rest of her teeth.

[Fine; I’m the Tooth Fairy.  You got me to admit it.  Are you happy now?  Now that all the magic is sucked out of the universe?  I’m the Tooth Fairy.]


Image: Dave Haygarth via Flickr

I have no clue what to do with the teeth.  I don’t want to throw them out.  I also don’t want to keep a jar of human teeth.

I told her I would get her a small box to store the tooth.  Can you imagine that horror show when she’s older?  A friend is poking around her drawers and happens upon this cute box.  And she opens it up and finds BODY PARTS!!!  Because that’s all it is: a body part.  We wouldn’t think it’s okay to save our severed thumb in a box if we lost it, but I bet every single one of us either has one of our own or someone else’s tooth.

It makes me feel weak and woozy; similar to how I felt staring at the reliquaries in a Spanish cathedral.


People seemed stunned every time the ChickieNob answered that the Tooth Fairy would bring her a dollar.  I thought that was on the low end, but people pulled me aside and said that it was very high.  We used to get a quarter, but I assumed the Tooth Fairy would adjust for inflation.  A dollar seemed like a good, solid amount.  Not too much — the average human child will only lose 20 teeth; meaning, the most we’re out is $40 with twins.  But not such a small amount that the child wonders why the Tooth Fairy expects them to lose four teeth just to have enough money to purchase a pack of gum.

Oh, and that’s the other thing that popped up in conversation: some people don’t give money at all.  They give toys.  Or candy.  Or special trips to favourite spots.  Is that common?  I mean, I could see doing that with the last tooth (wish I had kept better track so I would know how close we are to the final tooth), or the first tooth.  But… yeah… we’ve always gone with the dollar.

What did you get from the tooth fairy as a kid?  And if you have kids (especially those losing teeth), what are you doing now?


1 Katherine A { 07.22.14 at 8:19 am }

I would have thought a dollar would be around the going rate by now.

I’m 31 and when I was losing teeth as a child, I got a quarter. However, when I was 17 and had my wisdom teeth out (I only had 3), a few days later when I’d more or less recovered from surgery, my mother handed me 3 gold dollars, winked, and told me “Well, you lost 3 teeth, right?” Still makes me smile.

So, yeah, definitely would have thought a dollar a tooth is pretty fair.

2 a { 07.22.14 at 8:29 am }

I would totally keep my thumb. In a jar. On the mantel.

My friend’s husband gave their oldest some really obnoxious amount of money ($5? $20?) for his first tooth. She was all”WTF?! Dial it back!” So then she had to tell her son that the tooth fairy gives a set amount per mouth, and he had used up most of it on his first tooth.

While I think a quarter would be nice, I’m pretty sure the inflation rate means that a dollar is more fair. I think it’s pretty much the going rate of a standard size candy bar, which was a quarter when I was small and now is $0.89 – $0.99.

3 Tracie { 07.22.14 at 8:38 am }

I have all of my daughter’s teeth, too. Most of them are in a little plastic baggy with the dates they were lost written on it. It’s weird. Last month she had to have her seven remaining baby teeth pulled, and the dentist sent them home in cute little treasure boxes. I don’t know what I’m going to do with all these teeth.

As far as the tooth fairy goes, ours gave $5 for the first tooth, and $1 for all the subsequent teeth. This is because our tooth fairy is my husband. I would have done $1 per tooth, including the first one.

I have friends who do toys and other big things. It feels like overkill to me. And I have to wonder how the tooth fairy is expected to carry all those big gifts around with her when she goes out to collect teeth. I think she would be very tired by the time she returned home in the morning.

4 Heather { 07.22.14 at 8:43 am }

$5 for the first tooth, $1 for every other.
Except for one tooth my daughter got another $5. We tried to hedge for 4 days but we constantly forgot to get change. It was the 4th night and my husband said, “All I have is a $5”. Alright then, throw it under there. Busy tooth fairies make for better pay out.
I have not heard of anyone getting anything other than money from the tooth fairy.

5 ANDMom { 07.22.14 at 8:44 am }

We give fifty cents – a full dollar would fuel nothing but jealousy because the twins are losing teeth at *very* different rates. (One has lost 6 and about to lose 2 more … the other has lost 1.) Fifty cents seems to be the sweet spot for them that they are satisfied without jealousy. Mostly I hear about a dollar. I do know a couple people who’s kids are horrified by the idea of a tooth fairy who got a $20 gift for the first tooth that counts for all the teeth – certainly easier!

6 Megan { 07.22.14 at 9:00 am }

My son is about to lose his first tooth and I’ve been asking around. $1 seems to be the going rate. I got $.50 per tooth so I think with inflation, a dollar feels about right.

7 Caitlin { 07.22.14 at 9:42 am }

We do a dollar coin for each tooth, which seems to be the going rate among L’s classmates.

8 Mrs Spock { 07.22.14 at 10:28 am }

I got $0.10 to $0.25 per tooth as a kid. We are only giving $0.25 to our son, though no teeth lost yet. I ain’t giving no dollar! Our son can only earn $0.50 per day for allowance, so what can I say, we are frugal. It doesn’t bother him one bit as far as we can tell.

9 Sharon { 07.22.14 at 11:25 am }

We got a quarter per tooth when I was a child (except for the one special time I was at my grandma’s and got A WHOLE DOLLAR). I’m not sure what we’ll give your sons.

I had a wisdom tooth pulled myself recently (at age 43) and wondered (briefly) if I should keep it. But then thought ooh, ick! Why would I want to keep a body part?

10 Rachel { 07.22.14 at 12:12 pm }

I got a quarter and that was about 18 years ago…so I think a dollar now is reasonable. Having said that, I have friends who give $5 and one who even gives $20 a tooth – can you imagine? I’d have been ripping the teeth out of my head for $20 bucks a pop!

On the note about keeping the teeth…I remember being 9 or so and finding a jewelry box in my moms room full of our teeth. I was devastated…I knew what it meant. So, hide them well if you’re not ready to have that conversation yet!

11 It Is What It Is { 07.22.14 at 12:40 pm }

I seem to remember getting between a quarter and a 50 cent piece.

That said, this is an on-going conversation on my local parenting forums and I’ve been shocked to read that some people give $20 for the first tooth lost and $5 thereafter, where others like to give $2 bills for every tooth and yet others give a Sacajawea coin.
My older son is 7y4m and hasn’t lost ONE tooth! He’s the only one in his first grade class to not have lost one.

12 StacieT { 07.22.14 at 12:58 pm }

I was totally unprepared when one of my boys lost his first tooth. He was only 4, so in all honesty, I’d hadn’t given the whole tooth fairy thing a lot of thought yet. I ended up giving a dollar coin, and it has worked very well for our guys. It doesn’t seem to later hat they are losing at drastically different rates either (one’s lost 6 with two more on the way, and the other has lost 4), which is a relief.

13 StacieT { 07.22.14 at 12:59 pm }

*matter that

14 JustHeather { 07.22.14 at 2:43 pm }

I have baby teeth from my cats. I have no idea why, I just do.

I think we got something like a quarter or fifty cents for most teeth. I vaguely remember my grandma once sending me a 2 dollar bill though. That was sweet! Hubby said he got 1 mark (~.20cents) when he was little.

A dollar sounds good to me, esp with inflation. 🙂

15 Ann Z { 07.22.14 at 2:47 pm }

My daughter got $1 for her first tooth and 50 cents thereafter. Except for her weird fused tooth that was actually two stuck together, that one (two?) got $1. And I think if she ever has to have a tooth pulled by the dentist, that will get her $1.

When she lost her first tooth, she left a note for the tooth fairy asking what would happen to her teeth. The tooth fairy wrote back that the teeth would be used to build a skating rink. Why a skating rink, you may ask? The tooth fairy says that it was winter, and daughter was super in to ice skating, and it seemed like a good idea at the time, ok? In any case, 6 months after losing her first tooth, daughter asks me as we’re getting into the car, if tooth fairy is real. I ask if she really wants to know. She does. I say that I’m the tooth fairy. I try to explain that it’s one of those things parents love to do. She asks what I did with her teeth, and I have to admit that they were thrown out. Daughter is furious that I lied, but mostly furious that I did not actually make a fairy ice skating rink (why, oh why, the ice skating rink??). We come to an agreement that she’ll still leave teeth under her pillow, and I will dress up as a fairy so that I can still play my part. And I have to keep all teeth so that they can be made into a freaking ice skating rink. Six months later, she claims to not remember any of these conversations and fully believes in the tooth fairy. I do not know if I’m being played.

16 Tiara { 07.22.14 at 3:01 pm }

I’m with A, I would totally keep my thumb!!

I think a dollar is a perfectly respectable rate per tooth. I’d never heard of giving anything other than money…candy just sounds wrong, lol!

If the ChickieNob ever finds your teeth stash, tell her you bought them back from the tooth fairy because you’re sentimental like that 😉

17 Mrs T (missohkay) { 07.22.14 at 3:28 pm }

I don’t know the going rate for a tooth. I always got coins but special ones — like a half-dollar or a bi-centennial quarter. I just have to say that your post about the tooth fairy forgetting to show up is still one of my favorites ever and it’s a travesty that you didn’t link to it again here 😉

18 Pepper { 07.22.14 at 5:06 pm }

We always got a quarter and a pack or two of sugary gum (which we were typically never allowed to have and therefore chewed through in about a day and a half). I’m 37 so I assumed inflation would bring that up to about $1. Hm.

19 nicoleandmaggie { 07.22.14 at 7:20 pm }

DH has thrown away our son’s teeth. My parents probably still have the cute little box with the two teeth my dentists pulled in it (a little plastic yellow treasure chest). Because they seem to be unable to throw anything of ours away and they haven’t brought it to me.

We pay $1. DH was going to be all fancy with dollar coins and two dollar bills, but teeth sometimes come out when you’re not expecting them and we *have* dollar bills most of the time.

20 Kacey { 07.22.14 at 8:32 pm }

We do a dollar coin per tooth in a little cloth box he bought at the farmer’s market (and leaves on his window sill because the tooth fairy is not going to be digging around in his top bunk looking for tiny teeth 😉

21 Collette { 07.22.14 at 8:48 pm }

I have no idea what I got for a tooth as a child. And don’t ask me what for lunch yesterday, m’kay?

We’ve been hearing that kids around here (Chicago) are getting crazy amounts of money and crap. We thought $1 was perfectly reasonable so we’re giving “golden coins”. I went to the bank and got a big bunch of gold dollar coins. He loves them. And after forgetting to give him money for a couple of his teeth (we’re only on 6 lost) and losing 2 of them (I lost one, the cleaning lady threw away the other), I figure a buck is fair.

22 Collette { 07.22.14 at 8:48 pm }

What WAS for lunch yesterday. Or apparently, don’t ask me anything to do with grammar.

23 Christina { 07.22.14 at 10:02 pm }

I used to keep my teeth pulling private, just between me and the tooth fairy. It drove my parents insane!

24 Cherish { 07.22.14 at 11:09 pm }

I remember getting a quarter, so a dollar sounds right now. Oddly enough, even though the Easter Bunny and Santa didn’t visit our house, the tooth fairy did…

25 Ellen K. { 07.23.14 at 7:48 am }

Based on my casual observations from FB feeds, the first tooth seems to have a special price, $5 or $10, and afterwards it is about $1 per tooth. ANDMom brought up a good point that I hadn’t thought about as a twin mom — twins will probably lose teeth at different rates, so I wouldn’t want to set the price too high. Probably $5 for the first tooth and $1 per tooth afterward. I don’t think $1/tooth is too extravagant. I think I usually got 25 cents to $1. It’s not like you can still go around the corner to the penny candy store and blow your tooth fairy quarter on cavities-contributing hard candy.

One of my twins is worried that she will be the last of her friends to lose a tooth. She probably will be, unless her twin is. I didn’t lose my first tooth until Memorial Day weekend of 1st grade! As a result, I wasn’t able to get braces until I was a freshman in high school.

26 andy { 07.23.14 at 8:21 am }

Liam got a stuffie AND 5 dollars for his first teeth – they were pulled as part of a dental surgery procedure in the hospital with a general anesthetic. It seemed warranted.

Subsequent “regular” teeth netted him a dollar, but with “silver” teeth (his molars had all been capped during the surgery) pocketed him a fiver.

27 Emma { 07.23.14 at 10:32 am }

Huh. I honestly thought the going rate these days was about $5 a tooth, which seems crazy to me! I got a dollar each time. I also kept my teeth in a little box in my room. I kinda thought I was cool to look at them 🙂

28 JustHeather { 07.23.14 at 2:54 pm }

I had to ask FB about this after reading this and I got varied replies. Some said a dollar, some said 5 dollars, others said a quarter for every year old the kid is (5 years=1,25) and another said a 2 dollar bill. Others said they would give a “special” coin, ones that you don’t see much, like the Susan B Anthony or Sacajawea.

My hubby doesn’t understand why there “has” to be a Tooth Fairy and why we should give money for a tooth. We wouldn’t give money for losing a finger or toe (it also isn’t something everyone “loses” I replied). I told him it is tradition and it was part of growing up (for me). He’s not sold on this, but I am.
What’s a good response to this? 😀

Oh, and a comment reminded me that we had a Tooth Fairy pillow that my mom made to put the teeth in. I am sure I have it somewhere here in Finland (now to find it before Paxlet starts losing teeth.)

29 Lori Lavender Luz { 07.23.14 at 3:40 pm }

A quarter.

A dollar (unless the dentist pulled it, in which case $2).

I have a prescription bottle o’ teeth for each kid. Nearing time to hand it over to them!

30 deathstar { 07.24.14 at 2:27 pm }

I don’t remember what I got – if anything. As for my own kid, I’m sure his dad will come up with some ridiculous amount. I think 25cents is good enough.

31 Melanie { 07.24.14 at 4:26 pm }

I got 2 quarters in the 80’s. We haven’t lost any in our house yet but we are going with $1. I haven’t decided whether we will give a $1 bill or coins. Right now, at 4.5 my son would like coins.

I have heard people giving much more, I think $1 or $2 is appropriate. Personally I wouldn’t give more for the first cause my routine loving son is likely to cry that it wasn’t the same amount as the first .

32 Valery Valentina { 08.04.14 at 3:12 pm }

Tooth Fairy? same species as the Easter Bunny? Mostly to be found in the US I suppose. I’ve never heard of either of them. When Suzy was born (2013) among the gifts was a little painted wooden box with lid for baby teeth. I thought it was creepy to get for a newborn, but in the Netherlands maybe fairly typical: teeth go in a little box. No money, gifts, lying or fairies involved as far as I know.

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