DEAR ABBY: I must respond to "Always His Mom" (Sept. 26), 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 the Tooth Fairy collected.
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 "unique" ideas on the subject:
DEAR ABBY: I'd like to comment about what to do with those baby teeth. 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, with this information, the boy was able to get Social Security benefits for survivors. It was a bit of a struggle, but well worth it. How's that for a good use for baby teeth? -- GRANDMA IN NEWBURGH, N.Y.
DEAR ABBY: As I was cleaning out my father's dresser, I found an envelope with a drawing that I had done in kindergarten and another envelope containing a tooth and a note to the Tooth Fairy written in my childish hand.
Imagine how touched I was when I found it -- knowing he had kept these things for nearly a half a century. I think putting the teeth in an envelope for "Always'" son to find later on would be a lovely thing to do. -- SISSY IN LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND
DEAR ABBY: My favorite Tooth Fairy memory is when my 6-year-old daughter asked if she would hear the "Tooth Fairy's wings flapping" when she came to collect the tooth that had been placed under her pillow. Kids do say the darnedest things, and yes, I still have her teeth and the notes she wrote to the Tooth Fairy. -- KARIE'S MOM IN ENCINO, CALIF.
DEAR ABBY: When my daughter did a science fair project on tooth decay, I let her have the jar of saved teeth for her experiments. She did a thorough research job and a beautiful presentation, earning a blue ribbon. -- JANICE IN ROCHESTER, WASH.
DEAR ABBY: When I married, my mother-in-law gifted me with my husband's baby teeth and first curl of hair. It sounds weird, but it gave me a warm, fuzzy kick to receive them. It also was a bonding moment with my "new mom." -- KERRY IN WICHITA FALLS, TEXAS
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)