Half a loph is better than none.
August 26, 2009 8:38 PM   Subscribe

Aside from mugging the tooth fairy, what's the best way to get my hands on a substantial number of real human teeth? It's for science.
posted by Panjandrum to Science & Nature (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Check the bone room
posted by Rumple at 8:44 PM on August 26, 2009


If this is for some sort of a "Cola Will Rot Your Teeth" science fair thing, regular chalk works great.
posted by banannafish at 8:45 PM on August 26, 2009


I don't know myself, but this etsy seller uses a lot of human teeth in her jewelry. You might contact her and ask where she gets hers.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 10:16 PM on August 26, 2009


Also: What do you mean by "substantial"? Do you need twenty or two hundred?
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 10:22 PM on August 26, 2009


Your local dentists. Seriously - when I worked for a dentist we used to get requests from students all the time. Just be prepared to pick them up on the dentist's schedule - we couldn't legally keep them for any length of time.
posted by Lolie at 10:40 PM on August 26, 2009


I thought that in the era of HIV and HepC that anything that has been exposed to human blood has to be treated as biohazard and disposed of securely (i.e. by incineration). Wouldn't that apply just as much to extracted teeth at a dentist as to used needles?

Lolie, how long ago did you work for the dentist?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:06 PM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Natural History Museum in London has a collection of teeth that are available for research. Contac their palaeontology department.
posted by Skaramoosh at 11:16 PM on August 26, 2009


I thought that in the era of HIV and HepC that anything that has been exposed to human blood has to be treated as biohazard and disposed of securely (i.e. by incineration). Wouldn't that apply just as much to extracted teeth at a dentist as to used needles?

Lolie, how long ago did you work for the dentist?


2007. We were allowed to give them to dental and medical students but this had to be organised in advance and was subject to strict time-frames - we wouldn't keep them for weeks until it suited a student to come and collect a large batch of them, although students would have preferred that. And we couldn't just give them to patients (we could send them away to be processed and then returned to a patient if they really wanted them, but that wasn't cheap).

Like many small operators, we used a service to collect and dispose of our bio-waste - until it was collected (which was a couple of times per month) it was stored according to legal requirements; same with the teeth for students, they weren't just left lying around everywhere until collection.
posted by Lolie at 11:26 PM on August 26, 2009


Weird...I got my wisdom teeth out and they put them in little medical looking envelopes and handed them to me. Didn't seem like a big deal.

I showed one to my dad and he said "that looks like a horses tooth".
posted by sully75 at 4:49 AM on August 27, 2009


I was handed my wisdom teeth (well, tooth, they didn't give me the ones they had to break up) a couple years ago.
posted by floam at 5:04 AM on August 27, 2009


Depending on how many moms you know, you may be able to acquire a number of collections of baby teeth. It my experience is typical, moms will collect the baby teeth of their children in little boxes, because they represent milestones. After a while, however, these milestones fade, to be replaced with refrigerator art, science fair projects, and, finally, graduation and wedding announcements.

I wouldn't hurt to ask.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 7:27 AM on August 27, 2009


Freecycle or Craigslist free section, if you're willing to pick up. I'll bet lots of people have spare baby teeth.
posted by theora55 at 10:48 AM on August 27, 2009


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