One of the greatest fears of parents today is that their child will get lost or, worse yet, be abducted. Indicative of this concern is the fact that to date, 34 states have implemented AMBER Alert systems that issue state-wide public alerts about missing children. Developed by Dr. Dave Tesini, a pediatric dentist from Massachusetts, Toothprints is a simple, cost-effective way of documenting your young patient’s unique tooth characteristics, tooth position within the arch and maxillomandibular jaw relationship – all important identifiers.
Toothprints is an arch-shaped thermoplastic wafer that you soften in hot water, then place on the patient’s lower arch. The child bites into the wafer for 50 seconds in the same manner as a bite registration taken for prosthetics or orthodontics. After allowing a 2-3 minute cool-down period in the plastic bag provided, you’ll give your patients’ parents the Toothprints bite impression to take home for safekeeping. Making a Toothprints bite impression takes only a few minutes. It’s comfortable for your young patients and will give their parents peace of mind. Hopefully, they’ll never have to use it.
A couple of dollars and a few minutes of chairtime is a small investment to make for the huge return of being able to assist authorities in tracking a missing child or making a positive identification. Few children have fingerprints taken and the successful fight against tooth decay has left many children with no cavities and few dental records. Toothprints provides a unique record that can give parents greater peace of mind.
According to Peter Banks, Director of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, when Toothprints is taken, sufficient proteins in the saliva remain on the wafer from which a DNA test can be successfully performed for yet a second means of identification from Toothprints. He also states that, since the Toothprints wafer is sealed in a “zipper”-type plastic bag, enough scent remains for a trained dog to identify and track with it.
Recommended Toothprints Update Schedule
Yearly updates of Toothprints bite impressions is ideal.