compiled by Kym Byrnes

Parents employ creativity, glitter, storytelling and outright thievery to bring the Tooth Fairy to life.

In the realm of childhood milestones, losing a tooth holds a special place, and families have celebrated the occasion with a variety of unique traditions. From secret tooth exchanges to glittery fairy trails, the Tooth Fairy’s magic has sparked a universe of delightful customs that leave children wide-eyed with anticipation.

According to Smithsonian magazine, every culture has a tradition surrounding the disposal of a child’s baby teeth. While the tradition of a child receiving a gift for a lost tooth can be traced back to medieval Europe, Smithsonian posits that the “Tooth Fairy is a wholly American creation, an amalgamation of the traditions of other cultures, blended together and sparked up with a bit of Disney magic.”

With National Tooth Fairy Day on Aug. 22, we asked local parents to share their favorite tooth fairy tales.

“Tooth fairies have their own rules and regions. That’s why a friend might get more or less for their teeth. Our tooth fairy created her list at 10 p.m. so any teeth lost after that time would be picked up the following night. She left special coins for teeth. Mostly dollar coins but sometimes 50 cent pieces. The final tooth was worth a $20 bill. In cases where the tooth was lost the tooth fairy accepted notes from a parent. One time my oldest lost a tooth at Disney World. The fairy assigned to that location left a Disney dollar for the tooth. Also, if there are too many toys on the floor the tooth fairy may not come out of fear of being injured, so rooms need to be tidied up before bed when expecting a visit.”
— Stacy Jay

“I can’t be the only parent who had to take money out of the kid’s piggy bank for the tooth fairy to use.”
— Tammy Zimmer Halligan

“Am I the only one that always fell asleep and forgot about being the tooth fairy and then blamed it on the kids for not going to bed early enough — telling them, ‘She will come again if you go to sleep earlier tonight!’”
— Kimberly Breeden-Bell

“My oldest was into the Tinkerbell books and films, and a pirate one came out around when she lost her first tooth. She swallowed the tooth so we wrote a note to Tinkerbell’s friend, the tooth fairy. She wrote back and said ‘accidents happen’ and left a gold dollar coin, AKA a pirate’s treasure. Every tooth thereafter brought a gold dollar coin. My youngest was a different animal. She’s never been into things like Santa, etc. When she lost her first tooth, she looked me square in the eye and said, ‘I already figured out fairies are fake. Can you just give me money now?’ She gets $1 a tooth. She has four baby teeth left to lose.”
— Jules Monroe

“My daughter just recently lost her first tooth. When we were getting ready for bed, I told her we needed to put her tooth under her pillow for the tooth fairy. ‘Eww. That’s disgusting!’ I told her we had a little tooth box for it, so it wouldn’t be messy. Then she started acting sad. When I asked her why, she said she didn’t want the tooth fairy coming into her room because she was afraid. I told her not to worry about it and that we could put it under a pillow outside her door instead. She still seemed a little sad, so I kept pressing. ‘I really don’t want the tooth fairy coming inside our house — especially while we’re sleeping.’ I told her that the tooth fairy didn’t have to come if that’s what she wanted, but she seemed let down not to have her visit at all. I asked her what she’d like instead, and she decided that we’d put the tooth in her fairy house outside (just some flower pots we painted and turned upside down last year). Problem solved, and my friends with older kids say I’ve dodged a bullet there! I also didn’t realize how anxious she was about the tooth fairy coming — which all makes total sense to me once she explained it. I guess I was just way more gullible as a kid!”
— Becky Gonsoulin Williams

“We convinced our kids to stop putting the tooth under their pillow ‘because the tooth fairy can’t find it,’ when really we were afraid to keep digging to find it and wake them up. There was more than one occurrence where the tooth fairy couldn’t find the tooth (or um, maybe forgot to come) and couldn’t leave the money. Now it goes in a baggie on their nightstand or dresser. My husband and I also fight over whose turn it is because we know we have to stay up late to do it and we just want to go to sleep. The going rate in our house is $1 to $5, depending on the drama surrounding tooth extraction/first tooth.”
— Jill Mollard

“My one daughter set up traps for the tooth fairy. OK sure many kids do … but no this was like Mission Impossible meets Gumby! From ceiling to floor, wall to wall was dental floss. She placed herself in the far corner of the room setting up triplines, booby traps, powder for evidence trail — it was excessive! Then she stayed up for three nights, meaning the tooth fairy stayed up for three nights! After this adventure the tooth fairy requested teeth to be placed in a fairy box and put in a well accessible area.”
— Heather Ann

“I always put glitter on the bill to make it special and a cute little tooth fairy receipt.”
— Emma Keen

“My son got $5, a book, and a toothbrush for first tooth. Then we did $1 for the rest.”
— Jennifer Freed

“I ordered a bag of $1 coins a few years ago. I didn’t want to risk not having cash and my kids love getting a “gold coin” for their teeth. They get five for the first tooth and one for the rest.”
— Jennifer Patricia

“We got a dollar under our pillow as kids. I decided to make it a little more fun and magical. Bought some little notes off Etsy to include sometimes. Also bought some little tooth fairy items that she sometimes leaves with the dollar. One time she left a crystal. I have a little wand that she accidentally dropped and left behind one time. I’ve made sure to sometimes just leave the dollar with nothing else though so there’s no expectation that the extras always happen— one, to save money, but also because that way we don’t have issues if a tooth gets lost on vacation or something.”
— Jen Burdette

“I fold a dollar into origami shapes. When my 15-year-old was beyond believing, she left me a few pieces of origami paper with her tooth and wrote ‘I know the tooth fairy isn’t real. I don’t need the dollar, but could you still make me something with this paper?’ I never remembered to make something ahead (so I would end up watching YouTube videos at 11 p.m.). and my kids always had the crispest dollars in the house, so I would borrow from their stash.”
— Megan Wells Bassett

“Mine have a tooth purse because they were creeped out by a fairy going under their pillow so we’d leave it in the bathroom. Made life so much easier! First tooth was a gold coin. Then $1 in quarters.”
— Suzanne Martin