Contact: Stephanie Burns
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Teeth discovered in children’s ears and wind pipe
The tooth fairy and malpractice
Opinions of the tooth fairy as kind and giving may need to be revised following “mounting reports of less child-friendly activity”, says a paper published in the BMJ Christmas edition and appearing online today.
Researchers from across London became concerned following misdemeanours of the mythical character and a worrying trend in malpractice. One boy in particular became extremely distressed because the tooth fairy “had put a tooth in his left ear” after he left it under his pillow. Further investigation turned out he was right.
Further supporting their evidence are another two cases showing teeth being found in the oesophagus (causing “a trauma situation”) and a man who developed an abscess after placing his child’s tooth in his nipple piercing so it could be “near to his heart”.
The researchers conclude that as there is no clear guidance on how to avoid such complications, they suggest that clinicians have a “high index of suspicion with tooth related presenting complaints”.
They add: “As far as we are aware there is no revalidation procedure for the tooth fairy and no clear guidance or standard operating procedures in place to ensure outcomes are avoided”.
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