Spread the Joy of the Season with “Toothprints!”

Good zbabykrsyd
Morning, Readers: Wondering what to get those parents on your list?

Dear Free-Range Kids: I thought you might be interested to see this.  A local dentist was advertising this service.


Now if your child’s body is found but so decomposed that it can’t be
identified visually, you can use “toothprints” to record his/her
dental records so he/she can be identified.  It apparently also helps
scent dogs track your child’s body to find it.

This is really, really morbid.  I can’t believe parents spend money on
this kind of thing.  The local police gave us a kit to fingerprint our
kids and save a DNA sample in case either of them were killed in some
gory way, and I didn’t even save the free kit.  I can’t imagine
spending money to do this. – Nicole


36 Responses to Spread the Joy of the Season with “Toothprints!”

  1. oncefallendotcom December 9, 2010 at 9:44 pm #

    Nothing says “I love you” like the gift of “fear.” It gives a whole new meaning to “The Nightmare before Xmas.”

  2. Erika Evans December 9, 2010 at 9:53 pm #

    Who thinks that way?!

  3. Shelly December 9, 2010 at 9:54 pm #

    The money could be better spent on a kids self defense course. You know, that way on the off chance that the child is approached, they will know how to defend themselves, and maybe prevent the whole “body decomposing in the woods” thing.

  4. Matt L. December 9, 2010 at 9:58 pm #

    I have watched enough Law and Order to know that the simple x-rays and other dental records will be enough…

    Jesus, that is creepy.

  5. Mary Garner December 9, 2010 at 10:04 pm #

    I’m starting to feel left out. How come nobody ever offers this stuff for adults? Grownups can be abducted, too, you know.

    Happy holidays indeed…

  6. Timmyson December 9, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    Sounds like a great opportunity to me: Teach the kids about biometic identification, how cool and important things like dental records, fingerprints, and DNA are, and do some research into how fallible they can be.

    The way I see it, there’s an opportunity to subvert the fear aspect into a genuine learning experience.

  7. coffeegod December 9, 2010 at 10:18 pm #

    Sweet baby Buddha on a pogostick, the human race has completely lost its mind.

  8. Jules December 9, 2010 at 10:24 pm #

    We were given DNA and fingerprint collection kits at the local safety fair. There were a lot of good things at the fair: teaching kids about watching for trains/not crossing the tracks; bike safety like turn signals, helmets, riding with traffic, etc. But I found the collection kit…I don’t know, weird. Like “We’re educating you to stay safe, but just in case you eff up and get in a van to help a clown look for his puppy…”
    My oldest likes playing CSI with them, so I guess they’re being put to good use.

  9. Jules December 9, 2010 at 10:25 pm #

    Might I add the mini ink pad is a choking hazard, and the DNA swab could impale someone.

  10. Deborah December 9, 2010 at 10:27 pm #

    How absolutely terrifying for a child!

    “Mommy why are you taking my teeth imprints and fingerprints?”

    “So if you end up dead in a dtich abducted by a stranger (because everone is evil) we will know for sure that it is you.”

    What a great way to instill a sense of community and safety and happiness in a child. Unbelievable and tragic.

  11. Larry Harrison December 9, 2010 at 10:41 pm #

    Ok, so if someone offers this to me as a gift, my response, rather than “Merry Christmas,” could instead be “bite me,” ha ha.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.


  12. oncefallendotcom December 9, 2010 at 10:45 pm #

    This has to be news from Alabama. You want to know how I know? If it was anywhere else, it would have been “TEETHprints.”

  13. EricS December 9, 2010 at 11:47 pm #

    Worst case thinking, paranoia, you just never know, half empty way of thinking for the parents. Cha-ching for the dentist. Nothing sells better than sex and fear.

    As Matt L said, xrays and dental records work just as good. If you’ve ever been to the dentist, there will be a record already. Parents who buy into this shouldn’t worry. They’ll probably end up dying from a stress related heart attack before anything remotely terrible happens to their kids. Save your money, buy your kids something they’ll like.

  14. pentamom December 10, 2010 at 12:30 am #

    Yeah, this is some kind of $$$$ scam. The dentist already has your x-rays (they give EVERYBODY x-rays ALL THE TIME now) and detailed records of work done. If your kid has a dentist, the dentist knows what your kid’s teeth look like.

    So, playing on fear to sell an unnecessary service? Where have we heard THAT one before?

    And leaving aside the fact that it’s not needed even if were “needed,” the probability that you’ll ever need this kind of identification is so small as to be almost inconceivable. You realize this only applies to kids who not only have terrible things happen to them, but to those who are mutilated beyond any other kind of recognition in the process, or so far decayed before they’re found that no other identifying marks remain? How often does THAT happen to children in America, even when something horrible happens?

  15. Kathryn December 10, 2010 at 12:37 am #

    From the website:
    “Toothprints® was developed by a pediatric dentist who began using dental bite impressions as a way of safeguarding his own child,”

    How does this safeguard his child? I’m lost on this one. Is it really an amulet?

  16. NineJackNice December 10, 2010 at 12:39 am #

    As I always say: If you care about your child’s safety, having a dentist take an identifying dental imprint is a great way to waste four dollars.

  17. Stephanie - Home with the Kids December 10, 2010 at 1:13 am #

    The paranoia, it burns!

  18. Jules December 10, 2010 at 1:44 am #

    You know what the great thing about this is? I can spend $4 to get a tooth impression, so now I don’t need to spend hundreds actually taking my child to the dentist! I mean, if I actually cared about dental hygene and brought my kids for exams and x-rays, the dentist would already have records. But why bother with all the torturous cleanings and everything that goes with it? Now my kid never has to set foot in the dentist’s office again. Besides, you never know, that pediatric dentist MUST be a pedophile! After all he’s a man who wants to be around kids all day. CREEPY!
    Sure, my kids probably stand a better chance of ending up in the hospital with a tooth-decay related infection, but I can sleep at night knowing that if they were kidnapped, murdered, and their bodies were mutilated beyond recognition, I’d be able to I.D. them so I can have a funeral and get on with my life!!

    I am soooo thankful for Toothprints, and you can bet they are going in everyone’s stocking this Christmas, even Nana’s, although I don’t know how that’s going to work, seeing as how she wears dentures.

  19. Debra December 10, 2010 at 2:17 am #

    They call those kits all kinds of happy protective sounding names too. My husband (a paramedic) calls them the Identify the Body kits and pitches them.

  20. King Krak, I Smell the Stench December 10, 2010 at 2:26 am #

    Really bad stench.

    Love Deborah’s comment, above.

  21. KarenW December 10, 2010 at 3:00 am #

    I knew that someone would make this point by now but here it goes anyway: how the bloody hell does this keep a child SAFE?? I even went to the “yoursafechild.com” website and could not find one clue on how or why this is a safety product. Wouldn’t the child already be DEAD?

  22. Susan December 10, 2010 at 3:07 am #

    Am I the only one to think: This has nothing to do with safety. It is only useful when the kid is dead.

    How can that be a safety device?

  23. KarenW December 10, 2010 at 3:29 am #

    This goes beyond paranoid thinking into doomed thinking. Surely, any parent that buys this must also have a cemetery plot picked out.

  24. bequi December 10, 2010 at 3:54 am #

    If it would give yo the option of a porcelain replica of your kid’s teeth, i’dbe all over it. But only because. Think that would be awesome to display. Instead of doing those lame porcelain handprints, you get a replica of teeth!

  25. Jen Connelly December 10, 2010 at 4:16 am #

    People who pay for that stuff are just nuts.
    On the fingerprint thing…I grew up in Chicago and every year we were fingerprinted from 2nd-4th grades (that was how long I was at this one Catholic school). It was pretty common back then (early 80s). And this was back with real ink and that goopy stuff to clean it off…I think every kid ruined their uniforms that day, lol.

    My kids went to school in Chicago the last 3 years and every year they were fingerprinted and we were given a card with their picture and fingerprint on it. It’s a program through the city and is free as long as you sign the release. I always did because my kids think the cards are cool. I really didn’t care either way but if they are needed, their prints are in the system, just like mine were when I was a kid (and they were never needed).

  26. oncefallendotcom December 10, 2010 at 5:21 am #

    I just hope people don’t confuse “pediatric dentist” with “pedophile.” (it actually HAS happened before)


  27. Arianne December 10, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    Kathryn, KarenW, and Susan, you took the words right out of my mouth. It’s bad enough that they’re actually thinking that it is important to have a way to identify in case of the unthinkable, but to actually be led to believe that this in some way “safeguards” anybody is the worst part.

  28. mici December 10, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

    I guess we can only hope it’s a fashion or fad and we’ll eventually get over it. This reminds me a little (maybe in reverse) of the time when families would dress up, pose and take pictures of their deceased. Extremely morbid but very popular in its day.
    Hopefully it won’t be long before we see what’s happening now as being just as crazy.

  29. Melanie December 10, 2010 at 7:10 pm #

    So let me get this straight – keeping DNA samples from your kids in your freezer makes you a good parent and keeping DNA samples from other people’s kids in your freezer makes you a perv.

    Very disturbing.

  30. Meggles December 11, 2010 at 8:58 am #

    I know this is probably awful of me, but I couldn’t stop laughing while reading this. It’s just so ludicrous that it’s hilarious.

  31. Meggles December 11, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    ‘An amulet’? Kathryn, that’s a good one.

  32. Michelle the Uber Haus Frau December 11, 2010 at 9:53 am #

    I went to the mall last week, and there were some guys from a child safe program handing out pamphlets. I asked what it was about and the man I spoke with went on this whole spiel that it was an ‘amber alert’ type program. You get your kid fingerprinted and an ID made, and if they go missing, and after he said that he was like “60 000 kids go missing in Canada every year” and I asked if they ever found any of them. The answer? “No”. Not suprisingly, there’s a monthly fee. LOL.

  33. BobB December 11, 2010 at 9:40 pm #

    What are the odds this dentist was part of one of the the post Halloween candy buy back programs too?

  34. JJ December 12, 2010 at 1:13 am #

    I’m a dental professional and these things have been around for a long time. And not a real big seller from what I understand. We don’t buy them. We’ve never had anyone ask for them, thankfully. And honestly, it is only useful for DNA, if it is even preserved properly. A tooth brush recently used would be a better option in all honesty, BUT as far as recording the child’s bite is concerned, it’s fairly useless. A child’s mouth and bite changes constantly. It would be out of date in 3 months.
    Dental records with xrays are still the best way to identify a body. And that doesn’t do squat to keep a kid safe, now does it?

  35. pentamom December 12, 2010 at 1:52 am #

    Michelle, that is HYSTERICAL! As in hysterically funny. There are ~34 million people in Canada. According to that stat, over a million kids will go missing between birth and age 18. Is Canada REALLY permanently losing 3% of its population every 18 years???? And no one notices except people who sell dental ID kits? ROFL.

  36. ebohlman December 12, 2010 at 9:45 am #

    pentamom: of course, what the salesman was saying to Michelle was that their program never found any of those missing kids. Of course, most of those missing kids just wandered off briefly and were found safe and sound very quickly, so there was no need to identify their remains.

    However, people really will believe truly incredible figures, ones that their own experience should tell them not to believe. For example, the figure of 800,000 kids reported missing in the US is true, but the notion that most of those represent kidnap/murders is truly wild. According to the CDC, about 600,000 people die of heart disease every year, and 500,000 die of cancer (those are the top two causes).

    Now it’s pretty difficult to get very far into adulthood, if that, without a relative or close family friend dying of cancer or heart disease. But most of us will never know anyone whose child was kidnapped and murdered. How can that be, if the numbers are remotely comparable.

    Similarly, life expectancy at birth in the US is around 79 years. If hundreds of thousands of kids under 18 were dying of any reason, you’d need lots of supercentenarians (people who live to be over 110) to balance them out; young deaths really pull down life expectancy (that’s why life expectancy gains throughout the developed world have leveled off in recent decades; those big gains came from reductions in young deaths, which are now so rare that there’s little room to reduce them much further. If nobody in the US died before 40, it would only increase life expectancy by two years, one year of which would come from the elimination of infant mortality).

    By the way, kidnap/murders by strangers account for only a very small proportion of the very small proportion of reported-missing kids who end up dead. The largest group is teenage runaways or throwaways who get mixed up with a bad crowd or have to resort to prostitution or drug dealing to survive. Parents who kill their own kids and report them missing to deflect suspicion still kill more kids than kidnappers.