Can You Keep Your Extracted Teeth?

Can You Keep Your Extracted Teeth?

55
Keeping Extracted Teeth at the Dentist
Yes, You Can Keep Your Extracted Tooth from the Dentist | © R. Classen/Shutterstock.com

When I was in dental school, it was “against the rules” to give patients back their extracted teeth.  I never really questioned this rule because I figured that not many people would really want their teeth back.  When a patient would ask for their freshly extracted tooth, I would make up some excuse about how it was against regulations for me to give them their extracted tooth.

I remember a female oral surgeon let me bend the rules once with a teenager who begged for his extracted teeth, but she told me to keep it on the down-low.

So that’s what I learned in dental school and thought was gospel: Patients are not allowed to get their extracted teeth back.

There are many dentists that refuse to give patients their teeth after removal. I know of one that even gives kids a “Tooth Fairy I.O.U.” coupon in lieu of their extracted tooth and tells them to simply put that under their pillow and that the Tooth Fairy will understand.

But is it really necessary to go that far and be a Tooth Fairy Scrooge when it comes to giving patients their extracted teeth?

Let’s find out.

Can You Keep Your Extracted Teeth?

Yes, you can keep your extracted tooth. There are no federal laws or regulations that prohibit, let alone discourage, dentists from giving patients their extracted teeth.

Let’s take a look at some of the excuses dentists use to justify keeping extracted teeth that a patient requests to keep:

  • “It’s infectious waste and could infect other people if I let you take it.  I can’t be held liable for that.”
  • “OSHA prohibits me from giving you back your extracted tooth.”
  • “It’s against the CDC regulations for me to give it back.”

Below, I’ll discuss what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say about giving extracted teeth to patients.

Give Extracted Tooth Back to Patient
An Extracted Tooth that the Patient Wants Back | © Milo Sljubicic/Shutterstock.com

What the Experts Say About Giving Extracted Teeth to Patients

According to OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen Standard, extracted teeth are considered potentially infectious materials and must be handled accordingly.  When a dental office disposes of extracted teeth, they must be placed in medical waste containers.  However, since OSHA only regulates employee interactions, not patient interactions, OSHA has no say in whether a patient can keep their extracted tooth as stated by the textbook, Cottone’s Practical Infection Control in Dentistry:

Extracted teeth can be returned to patients on request, at which time provisions of the federal OSHA standard no longer apply.  Again, some state and local regulations may be more stringent, so it is best to be knowledgeable about applicable regulations in your local area.

In her book, Recommended Infection-Control Practices for Dentistry, (yep – it’s one of those books that you just can’t put down!) Barbara Gooch states the following:

The handling of extracted teeth used in dental educational settings differs from giving patients their own extracted teeth.  Several states allow patients to keep such teeth, because these teeth are not considered to be regulated (pathologic waste) or because the removed body part (tooth) becomes the property of the patient and does not enter the waste system.

The CDC has stated that “Extracted teeth may be returned to the patients upon request and are not subject to the provisions of the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard.”

So now that we’ve addressed what the CDC and OSHA have to say about extracted teeth, let’s address the other excuse that dentists sometimes use: that the tooth is infectious waste and could pose an infection risk if they carry it out of the office.

Now obviously a tooth that has just been extracted does have some blood and saliva on it.  However, it doesn’t require much time to quickly disinfect a tooth and rinse it off.  Dentists already have protocols in place for disinfecting extracted teeth that need to be sent to dental labs. The CDC, when discussing sending extracted teeth to dental labs, states that:

[Extracted teeth] should be thoroughly cleaned (i.e., blood and bioburden removed), disinfected with an EPA-registered hospital disinfectant with a tuberculocidal claim, and thoroughly rinsed before being handled in the in-office laboratory or sent to an off-site laboratory.

Clearly this is a different scenario since we are talking about teeth being sent home with patients rather than being sent to dental labs.  But I believe that if an office is disinfecting teeth before giving them back to patients, then it is highly unlikely that the teeth pose a greater infection risk than the person that the tooth came from, should they have a disease.

Now that we’ve established that there are no nationwide bans on dentists giving patients their extracted teeth, and that disinfected teeth are highly unlikely to cause infection, let’s explore state regulations.

Do State Dental Boards Allow Dentists to Give Patients Their Extracted Teeth?

I called the dental boards of the four most populous states in the United States as well as the dental board of Virginia, since that’s where I practice.  These five states comprise over 35% of the population of the United States so it’s somewhat representative.

Here’s what the state dental boards had to say:

California

Unfortunately, California did not return my phone call. I left them a voicemail asking if they had any state regulations that would prevent a dentist from giving their patient a recently-extracted tooth.

Fortunately, I was able to spend some time digging through the laws, rules, and regulations governing the practice of dentistry in California and I am confident that they do not have any laws that would forbid a patient from taking their extracted tooth home.

Texas

The dental board in Texas had to research my question and then get back to me.  When they did, they told me that as long as the tooth was sterile, it could be given back to the patient.  I then clarified whether the tooth had to be sterile or just cleaned off, since sterilization would be time-consuming. They then told me that as long as I cleaned it off well, it would be fine to give it back to the patient.

New York

When I called the state dental board of New York, the man I spoke with told me that I could only give baby teeth back to patients but that it’s not allowed to give adult teeth back to patients.  I then threw him a curveball and asked about an adult tooth that had a gold crown on it that the patient really wanted back.  He relented and said it would be fine as long as it was clean.  When I asked him if New York had any written rules regarding this sort of situation, he said there were none.

Florida

Florida wins the gold medal for clarity, as they were the only state that actually covers this scenario in their state’s rules and regulations.  The following is from their regulations, 64B5-25.007 Disposition of Biohazardous Waste.

(2) Extracted teeth may be rendered non-biohazardous by disinfection so that they may be returned to the patient or the patient’s legal guardian.

Virginia

The kind lady that answered the phone at the Virginia Dental Board told me that my home state of Virginia does not have any rule or regulation that would keep a dentist from giving their patient an extracted tooth.

There Likely Are No Laws Preventing Patients from Keeping Their Extracted Teeth

It would be nearly impossible for me to search out every state and local regulation regarding extracted teeth, but I find it highly unlikely that a state or municipality would actually have a rule preventing dentists from giving people their extracted teeth.

I’ve pulled out lots of wiggly teeth for kids at no charge and I can’t imagine telling them that if I pull it out, their tooth is infectious waste, but if they pull it out at home, they can put it under their pillow.

Next let’s take a look at what on earth would compel someone to keep their extracted tooth…this is where things get interesting!

Why Would Someone Want to Keep Their Extracted Tooth?

I’ve extracted hundreds of teeth, but here’s one that stands out:  We had just finished taking out a woman’s remaining teeth; about a dozen or so.  She glared with hateful eyes at the dental tray and growled, “Where’s that brown one?!  I’m taking that little $#@%&! with me.  It’s given me a lot of trouble in my life.”

I smiled underneath my mask and told her she could have it.  I pictured her taking the tooth to her backyard, hanging it from a tree and firing a round at it, blowing it to pieces.

Throughout my dental career, I’ve also heard several other reasons from people who want to keep their teeth:

  • One patient was making a necklace of all her extracted teeth.
  • An elderly lady wanted to show her grandchildren her tooth so that they wouldn’t repeat her oral hygiene mistakes.  I admire her motivation, but hate to imagine the horrific look on that little grandchild’s face when he sees Granny’s rotten tooth!
  • There are quite a few 20-something guys that simply want to show their teeth off to their friends.
  • A gentleman from a foreign country wanted to take his tooth back to his native land and have it buried there.
  • Many people believe that all parts of their body should be buried for religious purposes.  There is quite a debate on Mi Yodela, a question and answer site about Judaism regarding the burial of body parts before and after death.  I also came across a site on Islam burial practices which recommends that “teeth cut off or extracted during lifetime are also buried.”  As I’m not a member of either of those faiths, I cannot vouch for these sites, but it does add an interesting dynamic to this debate.
  • Many people keep a collection of their teeth. While this may be cute for baby teeth (I think my mom still has a 35mm film canister of my baby teeth somewhere), it’s not so cute for ugly, decayed adult teeth that needed to be pulled!
Extracted Teeth Collection
Do You Really Need a Collection of Your Extracted Teeth? | © Korkusung/Shutterstock.com

For whatever reason, many people hang on to their extracted teeth.  According to users on this Ask forum, some people have kept their extracted teeth until they die, when the teeth have been sold at estate sales.  One woman recounted the story of her dad keeping his extracted molars: “My dad has all of his extracted molars in with the tooth washers in his nuts and bolts organizer.”

What to Do When Your Dentist Won’t Give You Your Extracted Tooth

Some dentists may know that they are permitted to give patients their extracted tooth but still have the attitude of, “If you really wanted to keep this tooth, you should’ve taken better care of it, then you could’ve kept it — in your mouth.”

There are many cases reported by the media where patients have been upset that their dentist wouldn’t give them back their teeth.  Here are a couple of those cases for your reading pleasure.

My favorite story has to be of a man who was so upset that his dentist wouldn’t give him back his extracted tooth, that he wrote to his elected representative, North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad.  Senator Conrad wrote to OSHA on behalf of his constituent and OSHA replied that there is nothing in the bloodborne pathogen standard that would prevent a dentist from giving a patient back their teeth.

An Arizona woman, Becky Coty, had a tooth extracted with a gold crown and the dentist would not return it to her.  After she contacted the local news channel, which published her story, the dentist reached out and compensated her for the tooth.

Unfortunately, there’s probably not much you can do (aside from trying to get some publicity) if your dentist doesn’t want to give you back your extracted tooth after it’s been taken out.

How to Keep Your Extracted Teeth

If you know that you want to keep your extracted teeth, it’s best to discuss this with your dentist in advance.  Although there aren’t any laws prohibiting dentists from giving back teeth, I’m not aware of any laws that require dentists to give patients their extracted teeth upon request.  It’s more of a gray area.

How to Keep Your Extracted Tooth
How to Keep Your Extracted Tooth | © leaf/Bigstock.com

I recommend letting your dentist know ahead of time that you want to keep your tooth.  That way the issue can be resolved beforehand.  If your dentist resists the idea, you can always check around and you’ll likely be able find a dentist who will let you keep your extracted tooth.

My guess is that most dentists simply default to what they learned in dental school, which seems to vary.  Unlike my school, New York’s Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine states in their Policies & Procedures Manual, “Return of extracted teeth to the patient is allowed, if the patient requests.”

Do you have any questions about extracted teeth and who they belong to?  Any crazy stories about what people have done with their extracted teeth? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

55 COMMENTS

  1. […] Whitening teethSkin Whitening Skin Lightening Products That Work ideal Pricehow to get whiter teethHow to whiten my teeth fast with out a dentistWhite Light Pemutih GigiWhiteLight – Jurus CantikIf You’ve Neglected Oral Care In The Past, It’s A Great Second Chance To Take Care Of Your Teeth The Right Way.Worst Habits For Your TeethCan You Keep Your Extracted Teeth […]

  2. This article is amazing doc. This is one more thing I can add to my mental knowledge base. I’ll be checking on your expertise for my inner nerd lol. You definitely told our ages by mentioning, the 35 millimeter black cup with a grey top! That was my laugh for the day! I applaud you taking time to find out information and do such an excellent job at delivering the information!

  3. I’m well over 50, and I have always tried to save any of my body parts that have become separated from me. Maybe I want them all buried with me when I die, perhaps I am making some artwork in progress, or maybe I want to study a tooth to see it the aliens really did install a nano antenna inside my mouth.
    The single reason I can imagine for a dentist to refuse to return a body part to its owner is the doctor’s fear that if he doesn’t destroy the evidence it might be used against him in a court of law.
    Probably even more logical is that such a tooth may contain proof of prior malpractice or mishandling by a former dentist.
    As for the precious metals used as fillings, you’d have to pry them from my cold dead teeth.

  4. I had no idea that people even wanted to keep their extracted teeth. I guess everybody is different in this world. I know that I need to get a tooth pulled pretty soon. I’m in a lot of pain and I hate it.

  5. Anyone that gives you some bs excuses of why you can’t keep your extracted teeth is in for a big lawsuit! NEVER LET THEM TALK YOU OUT OF KEEPING YOUR EXTRACTED TEETH! For instance lets just say you get your wisdoms removed and a couple weeks later you have no feeling in part of your face… that means they messed up and damaged a nerve! If you let them dispose of your teeth, what EVIDENCE DO YOU HAVE? None! Also get a copy of of the x-ray!

  6. As a pediatric dentist, I LOVE to give kids their extracted teeth in a “treasure chest.” I often encourage them to place it in a glass of soda pop to observe how long it takes for the tooth to dissolve and rot away completely! It’s a great motivator to “rethink their drink.”

    Thanks for another great article!

  7. Hi,I have severe pain on my upper left gum. I do not think is it is a toothache. I’ve been taking sudafed that’s been helping up until 3 days ago where the pain has become constant.I started antibiotics 2 days ago I don’t think it’s kicked in yet because I’m still in a lot of pain. Oddly enough laying my head down on the right side relieves the pain. do you have any other suggestions on how I can relieve this pain and go back to living a normal up-right life?
    thank you for your help in advance

    • You might be having issues with your sinuses. I thought I had a toothache on my upper right hand side and turns out, I had a sinus infection and the sinus pressure was messing with my nerves and causing the pain. A couple of days after antibiotics and I was good as new…of course, if your sinusitis is caused by a virus, the antibiotics may not work. Either way, it’s probably a good idea to see a dentist! Good luck!

  8. Thanks for posting this information! I remember that I wanted to keep my extracted teeth when I was a kid. It’s good to finally know that I could ask my dentist to allow me to keep my teeth before they’ve been extracted. Although, my main question is what dentists do with teeth after they’ve been removed from a patient’s mouth? If human teeth that are in good condition could be sold to manufacturers to make things, then that would explain why dentists would want to keep them.

  9. I’ve never actually had a tooth extraction done before but I didn’t know that many doctors won’t give you your tooth back. I’m kind of curious like that and would want to keep it. It’s good to know that it’s not actually against the law to get it back!

  10. I had to have four adult premolars (two top, two bottom) removed at age eight before I had my braces put on. There was nothing wrong with them; my teeth were just too big for my jaw. I wanted to keep them simply because I was curious about what they looked like out of my head. Of course, I did go on to study forensic anthropology, so for me saving the teeth isn’t weird at all.

  11. My son was actually wondering this exact thing. He is going to be getting one of his teeth pulled soon, and he was wondering if he could keep the tooth that gets pulled. That being said, I really appreciate you talking about this and letting me know what my son can do. I’ll make sure I show this to him right away.

  12. I had no idea there were actual regulation against giving a patient their own teeth back. It seems silly but at the same time, so does wanting to keep your old teeth. It’s good to know the best practices for dentists now. Thanks so much for sharing.

  13. I had no idea their potential hazards with extracted teeth. However, it makes sense after reading the article. If my children’s dentist doesn’t give them their teeth back, I’ll just request a tooth fairy IOU. I love watching them get excited the morning after a tooth fairy visit.

  14. I have a handful of my teeth in a film canister. My kids out their teeth in a ziplock bag with a note to the tooth fairy to please let them keep their tooth. I took a lot of antibiotics as a child. I have dark bands going around my molars, luckily it was below the gum lines! As a pharmacist I thought I was cool to actually see what tetracycline did to teeth because I had mine

  15. I was able to keep my teeth when I had two of them pulled as a kid. I was also able to keep a number of wisdom teeth as a kid to do a science project with them. I don’t see extracted teeth as anything that is very dangerous or potentially harmful.

  16. It’s quite interesting to see that people would want to keep an extracted tooth. Like you said, it might mean something to them to keep it. I really like how the older lady kept hers to show her grandchildren. This way, she could show them the fallout of what happens if you don’t take care of your teeth.

  17. i had a tooth extracted I believe improperly. He left two bones sticking out. Tried to sand it down with no mess. swollen and painful. Took the template for the bridge before it healed. Never did! One piece of bone finally came out. The bridge never fit properly, scrapes the tongue and inside mouth. Bleeds when I floss because of the bone sticking out. I had to move from CA to Iowa so never got it resolved. Wanted the tooth to see what he had done wrong!

    • It was meds, not mess! ? I did not like his behavior or how he treated me. At the time I paid out of pocket,

  18. I just left the dentist, I needed 3 extractions, one being my wisdom tooth and I really wanted my teeth. For starters, like the woman you did encounter, once a tooth has been such a burden on your mouth, it only feels right to keep what has tortured you. Yea, we could have kept in in “our mouths” but brushing and flossing alone don’t prevent cavities. What’s most important is visiting your dentist regularly. A lot of people don’t have the money and time to do this. No to mention finding a good dentist. I found that people fear dentists more than anything; however, my problem was that although dental insurance may be cheap, car insurance, a car note, a phone bill, food, and other essentials seemed to be first priority when your teeth looked fine and did not hurt and I was barely making enough money to pay those expenses. I’m truly intrigued by my teeth. I’ve read about decay and root canals, gum diease…ect and I just really wanted to see what it looks like on my own time. But they wouldn’t give them to me, and seeing as how I truly love this dentist office, I didn’t put up a fight but it did upset me.

  19. I had no idea that it was a controversy to be able to keep your extracted teeth. I agree with you that if the customer want to keep it, I don’t see why not. I went to the dentist the other day and the person in front of me wanted to keep their extracted teeth. The dentist told him that he was not allowed to give it to him. Thanks for sharing this because I was really curious to find out why.

  20. So I went to the doctor to get an extraction not long ago. (Missing space has been clotted and now feeling fine) I asked the woman repeatedly for it but -policy. danger of getting sick from it- mind you this was a bad cavity tooth and pretty deep inside. I was willing to pick out the plaque and what not but I wasn’t allowed to keep the tooth. And I felt so dissatisfied when I left with gauze in my mouth. My pain..gone..to either be donated or burned… That didn’t feel right doc.. Not right at all

    • I completely understand why you feel such dissatisfaction by not get your tooth back. I asked for my tooth back on a extraction I recently got removed. It was an old fragment of a baby tooth. It wasn’t infectious as they say OSHA want require them to give you the tooth back. The state regulations never said that a patient can’t have their tooth back. It’s the dentist who want give you back your personal property. If they feel they pulled your tooth that your extracted tooth is now their property. My question why the dental care wasn’t free if they calling all the shots!!! Right Vann Family Dentist

  21. Hi Tom, great web site! I have my four teeth that I have had extracted when I was younger and a wisdom tooth, they are in perfect condition. I am now 47 and in three day having a brace fitted up and down, but I have two abscesses in a gold crown over a molar tooth, one at the top of the root and one at the bottom, so I have been told it will need to be removed, but it will be kept there for now as it will help push my teeth forward. So question…and it’s weird..I am British! If I had my tooth with the crown removed, could I have my wisdom tooth attached to the titanium peg instead of a porcelain made up tooth? To me this makes sense, but like I say eccentric English, but this is what they did in history!

  22. Finally a person who takes the time to research so he can honestly inform people of their rights. Great thanks to you sir for your open and honest article. You’re a person to admire.

  23. Finally a person who takes the time to research so he can honestly inform people of their rights. Great thanks to you sir for your open and honest article. You’re a person to admire.

  24. My daughter has been told she needs a root canal. Her friend pointed her to the research that claims root canals collect bacteria and cause serious disease in some people.i.e. ms, lupus etc Or at least compromise the immune system. Her friend “knew” there was something “wrong” with her root canal, but nothing showed up on the XRay. When they worked on the tooth anyway at her insistence “pus shot out of the tooth” very powerfully.

    My son’s root canal has troubled him for an unusual amount of time and this has yet to be resolved.

    The article I read says newer research has confirmed the findings of the Dentist who did the original studies on this issue in the early 1900s.

    Do you have any opinion on this subject? The obvious alternative is to pull the tooth. but the person cannot afford an implant and will be left with a hole in a visible place.

  25. What a great article. Normally, I ask my patients if they would like to keep their teeth. I have noticed that people who need teeth removal for purposes other that pain (e.i crowding, wisdom, baby teeth, bone loss) tend to keep their teeth. While, if a patient presents with infection or sever pain then they tend not to keep their teeth after removal.

  26. I remember when I was about 20 my wisdom teeth began growing. Unfortunately, both would have eventually impacted my other teeth and i would have to have 4 teeth removed instead of just 2. I went to the dentist to have the first one removed and it came out fully in tact. My mom has kept ALL of my teeth that ever fell out. The dentist told me some rule about OSHA when i asked for my tooth. The next time I got a tooth extracted my mom came with me because she was upset that I didn’t get to keep my other tooth. This one was extracted but it broke in half, my mom asked for it and the dentist gave it to her and even placed it in a little baggie. Same facility, 2 dentists with different “rules”. If i knew then what i knew now i would’ve gotten my tooth, it was so clean and perfect!

    I live in NY btw.

  27. i have all but 4 of mine via uncle sam pulled those ones for me the rest I have in a jar just leaned the blood stains of last weekend h2o2 think it stained them yellowish idk for sure tho

  28. I have manic depression. I recently had a severe allergic reaction to one of my prescription medications that caused complete oral health decay. All but one of the mouth sores went away ad it lead to pericoronitis of my frigging wisdom tooth (tooth number 16). I want to keep Althea (my wisdom tooth that needs to be extracted). I need to be able to see the entity that was sacrificed in my path to getting better as a whole person. Additionally for spiritual purposes I need to be able to bury this part of me with me or at the very least have some say in the manner of how sshe is disposed of. I live in Philly, PA and I’ve contacted one dental office about this and the woman went from sounding happy to schedule me to confused and unsure. I’m certain she mispronounced the word “bio hazard.”

  29. It’s strange that you mentioned that people taught you it was against the rules to give patients back their teeth. I always thought it was completely fine! When I was in kindergarten, my adult teeth grew in behind my baby teeth and I had to get four of them pulled. The dentist let me keep them and I even showed my friends at school! However, you are right- who would want their teeth besides kids?

  30. Hello There,
    thanks for your outstanding article with recent laws regarding extracting teeth keeping.
    I know that some people may not get any point to keep extracted teeth with him . However, i want to keep my teeth with me . I do not like to lost any organ . If i lost teeth, i will keep my retain teeth with me .
    I am not sure regarding Australian Laws regarding this . May be , i need to do bit research on it and need to talk with my dentists friend.
    Cheers
    Ben

  31. Some patients like to keep extracted teeth as memory, we give it to them on request. Everyone have it’s own belief on keeping extracted tooth. it does not matter till our patients are happy.

  32. Is it legal to ask extracted teeth from my dentist? I am concern about hygiene issues ?
    I asked some of my dentist’s friend in New Zealand, they told me , you can ask for extracted teeth. However, they are not recommend to keep extracted teeth with patients.
    Best Regards
    Arran Smith

  33. My doctor said it was against the rules to give me my wisdom tooth today. I was very confused. He said he can only give them back to children because too much DNA is in roots of adult teeth…what does that even mean??

  34. I wanted to show my cousins it wasn’t that bad but…
    So I had 2(both wisdom teeth on the right side(top and bottom) ) removed 5 days ago. The top and first tooth came out easily and under 3 minutes. Then he went to the patient next to me and pulled one of her teeth. Took him a while then he came back to work on my second tooth. I don’t know if he changes his gloves or not but I’m going to say not. I had no infection when I went it and it took him 20-30 minutes to get the tooth out 3 times of re-numbing and the little bone saw to get it out( when I looked at the tooth after there was a ring of gum still attached like he just decided fuck it I’m taking her gum too) then he sewed up my gums(accidentally sewing the inside of the back of my lip to my gums and not fixing it or starting a new stitch) swelling continued to get worse which was to be expected till they called me the next day for a follow up and said the pain I was explaining didn’t sound right and when the swelling goes down I should get my jaw xrayed and go see urgent care if it got worse. Well urgent care says I have an infection which is crazy because I have no cavities(before going in or after) and had no indication(no pain, no bleeding gums, no hint) of an infection before going in. Then he refused to let me have my extracted teeth and wouldn’t tell me why after my second tooth was out why he was still using the little saw when the roots came out with the tooth. I have had teeth pulled before but never this unprofessionally. I can’t open my jaw past an inch so able to eat broths and otter pops. The pain is radiating down my neck and I can’t turn my head to the right or look up without getting pains in my arm and chest. They gave me 4 anti inflammation pills (2 in the morning for 2 days) and pain pills for 3 days and when I asked if I could get a refill to make it threw the weekend till my stitches are taken out the lady laughed and said we don’t do that go see your doctor……my doctor didn’t pull my teeth you did and you can’t help me with it….the fact this dentist was working on 2 people at the same time makes me feel uneasy about going back even if just to have them remove the stitches. Can anyone tell me why they had to take some of my gum with the tooth? Why they had to use the saw and don’t use a chin pillow of some kind for support when wrenching around on bottom teeth? And why I should not think my infection is due to their poor standard procedure? And why was I not allowed to take my teeth and told it was illegal?!?

  35. Thankyou Dr Tom for yoyr website, thanks for this article and thanks to everyone that contributed their opinions, experiences and subject matter knowledge.
    Thanks also to the would be trolls who somehow managed to refrain… ?
    This morning I had one of my upper molars removed by Dr Joseph Klar in Market Street Sydney Australia, due to the tooth having died. The tooth was also cracked all the way to the roots and root canal therapy not an option. After months of infection and ill health I just wanted it out of my body ASAP.
    Wow, what a traumatic experience. Afterwards my body was trembling and I was in tears. (Sorry if you disagree but it really was traumatic for me as Im also recovering from mental health issues).
    After months of dental infection, a terrible gum abscess caused by cashew nuts getting caught in the infected pocket around the dead tooth, lethargy, fevers in the night and general poor health, finally, the root cause (pardon the pun) is dealt with.
    I know its considered a minor procedure by some but it gave me even greater respect and admiration for people that have been tortured without pain relief or sedation and also women going through childbirth. Chalk n cheese I know, they cant really be compared.
    Fortunately for me its the most serious procedure that Ive been through since 1993 having 4 impacted wisdom teeth extracted under sedation, and that time I didn’t have to experience the strange sounds in my jaw, in my head, or physical brute forces required during tooth extraction that I experienced this morning.
    I also have more respect for surgeons and dentists whom perform these difficult procedures too, not something I will ever be able to do thats for sure. I felt I was in good hands during the extraction and I firmly believe anyone that chooses Dr Khlar as their Oral Surgeon or dentist will be as satisfied as I am.
    It was in retrospect as a teenager that I wished I had of requested to keep my 4 wisdom teeth and this time wanted to make sure that I did things differently.
    This time after the extraction the Dr kindly asked me if I wanted to see my tooth, which was very considerate of him.
    OMG it was huge! I had not imagined I would see something of that size with its roots covered in blood. I felt like being sick and had to look away. (Call me weak if you must, Im not good with blood and guts at all).
    After the Dr’s explanations of the extraction procedure, after care treatment the next step in the process I rested a while in the chair.
    When I was ready to leave I asked the dental assistant for the tooth and she told me it had been disposed of!
    I was in an emotionally fragile state and not fully coherent but protested then left in confusion.
    After a few hours, getting home & resting up I phoned the practice and said calmy, firmly and politely that “I did not consent to my body parts being disposed of and I wish to collect my tooth as its very important to me”.
    The receptionist put me on hold, then she said I could come in and pick it up this afternoon but they couldn’t send it to me because its a bio-hazard – hahaha I just laughed (I didnt mean to be rude) but its because that must mean my mouth is also a bio-hazard, or maybe Im just a big old bio-hazard hahaha.
    Seriously, I couldnt thank her enough, I thanked her and thanked her as it is so important to me for the following reasons:
    – After months of being very unwell seeing this tooth in front of my eyes helps give me closure.
    – Seeing this dead tooth will remind me to take better care of myself and my teeth.
    – I can show my tooth to those I care about and remind them to care more for their teeth.
    – I feel a spiritual and physical connection to my tooth as I can never replace it. A new one will not regrow.
    – Lastly looking into the tooth and pondering life is a humbling realisation of my own existence and my own mortality.
    Sorry if I rambled on…

  36. I had a molar extracted a couple of days ago here in Kentucky. When I asked for the tooth, the dental assistant told me I couldn’t have it because it was a ‘biohazard’. When I replied that it was ‘my tooth’, her response was that after it leaves my body, it’s no longer mine. When I told her I wanted to have a small funeral service for it, she just laughed. Even though I was just joking, I thought it a bit insensitive. Ironically, she mentioned she and her young son prayed to the tooth fairy when his tooth came out. Guess she wasn’t able to make the connection.

    Thanks for the info. Hopefully I will never need the info. 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing, David. I enjoyed reading your story. I don’t think there’s every been a legal precedent to handle the question of a dentist declaring that they will keep a patient’s extracted tooth. Good way to add some humor to a tough situation.

  37. So, I used to live in Canada.
    I can’t remember much, but I’m pretty sure they give your tooth
    back, even if you didn’t ask for it. Same with S. Korea.

  38. In all these comments I saw no conversation about storage of teeth for stem cell banking, happening in 8 countries. A good reason for getting my extracted teeth returned.

  39. I always request to have my extracted teeth to take with me. My fear is the dentist may sell my tooth for an exuberant amount of money. I feed and watered my teeth until the need came to have them removed. Furthermore, I not only nurtured my teeth from start to finish, I also paid to have the tooth removed. I would be so distraught, if I could not retain control of my extracted tooth.

    Now my dentist refused my request and kept my extracted tooth, which then donates it to a local dental college. One of those aspiring students cut their finger while practicing with my extracted tooth. This minor cut became severely infected, all attempts to neutralize the infection failed ending with the amputation of this digit. Now the student filed a lawsuit for DNA typing information of the tooth, which the judge grants. The attorney was then provided with a confidential copy of the DNA information. The judge now orders the dentist who donated the tooth to submit the records of the person who his dental practice records indicate as the client who had the tooth extracted. This person was now ordered to provide a sample for DNA typing. Well bad news for me; the DNA of the tooth was the same as my DNA. Then this even became worse.

    The dental student who cut his finger on my tooth; then the finger became infected; then the finger amputated…oh no it did not stop there. A few days after the amputation, the dental student was released from the hospital. On his way home, the student was then involved in an auto accident, transported by ambulance back to the very same hospital and pronounced dead on arrival. Now his wife has become the primary person pursuing this matter and her father is the director with Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

    Now as you can see, either take real good care of your teeth while their inside your mouth or do not leave the dentist office without your extracted tooth. This was written for humor after I read many of the stories and comments. Now lets see if someone can top that…

    • I think you win with that one, Kirk. Two holes in the story to fix for the second draft:

      1 – The teeth are sterilized before students work on them in school.
      2 – The dentist wouldn’t have any idea who the tooth belonged to once it goes in the jar of extracted teeth.

      Thanks for the smile!

  40. A dentist said i couldn’t keep the tooth because it was infected from a tooth abscess but i was on antibiotics week before tooth was remove. The reason I keep my teeth is because I like that there here in my body and i don’t like saying goodbye to the teeth.

  41. I have an extracted tooth that is not preserved (3 weeks old), can it work? I mean can i use it in practice of RCT?

  42. Hello ,
    Nice and informative post.
    It is really funny to me when patient want to extracted teeth as memory. As i remember, one of our patient asked us to return her extracted teeth. I just asked her, why you want to keep it? She replied, she will send teeth to her ex-boyfriend as her boy friend like her teeth and always appreciate that she had nice teeth.

    Any way, in New Zealand, we need to give back any extracted teeth , if patients on request.

    Cheers
    Ash Dane

  43. I never would even think of keeping my wise tooth until the doctor after extraction just gave it back to me haha. So now i have no clues, what to do with it. Probably will just keep and the bury as it is kind of weird to just throw away the part of me, which was working for me for more than 28 years already))

  44. My first two extracted wisdom teeth I wasn’t allowed to keep. I went to a different place for my 3rd extraction and he let me keep it. Sadly I won’t have a collection of all 4 but I’m removing my last one there and then I will have 2.

  45. This was the most enjoyable”dental reading” I have done in years!!! Thank you for the insight on keeping my teeth but also info I needed to verify whether to go to my primary doc is the dentist. Which today is the dentist! Nice informative and joyful webpage.

Leave a Reply