How to save face when the tooth fairy forgets to pay a visit

By Lori Orlinsky
@loriorlinskyauthor

Maybe you fell asleep watching a movie. Maybe you didn’t have change for a $20 bill. Or maybe you just plain forgot.

Regardless of how it happened, when the Tooth Fairy doesn’t visit your child, it feels like you committed the ultimate parental sin.

According to the Original Tooth Fairy Poll conducted by Delta Dental, more than 56% of parents will make this slip up in their child’s lifetime, leading to years of therapy.

Ok, while we’re kidding about the latter, when this happens, here are some tips—from a mom who’s been there—on how to quickly rectify the situation.

Blame your child
“Maybe you didn’t look hard enough,” you can say. And then make a mad dash to your child’s bedroom to pocket the tooth and plant money anywhere else (under their bed, behind the mattress, in their pillow case) inside their room.

Another few ways to use your child’s belief in the Tooth Fairy towards your advantage:

1) Tell them the Tooth Fairy got one glimpse of their messy room and left because she couldn’t find the tooth amidst the clutter. This will likely lead to your child sprinting to clean their room after the conversation (score!)
2) Tell your child that their tooth wasn’t clean enough, and believe us, their brushing habits will improve.
3) Tell your child that like Santa, the Tooth Fairy only visits the homes of well-behaved children.

Make up a crazy story
As parents, we often have think quickly on our feet. Now is the perfect opportunity to test out those improvisation skills. Tell your child that the Tooth Fairy and Santa went out to dinner so she could find out if she should be hiring assistance like reindeer or elves. At dinner, talk about how they ran into the Easter Bunny. The key here is the in between details, and in this instance, the sillier, the better.

Come up with a list of believable excuses
Instead of scrambling to think of an on-the-fly (pun intended) excuse, here are our favorites:

The Tooth Fairy is having wing surgery
The Tooth Fairy doesn’t do same-day service anymore
The Tooth Fairy ran out of pixie dust and couldn’t fly
The Tooth Fairy got scared of your family pet
The Tooth Fairy heard you waking up and had to leave before you saw her
The Tooth Fairy’s sack was too full of teeth and she had to go home and empty it
The Tooth Fairy is on a different time zone
The Tooth Fairy ran into high winds which prevented her from flying

The Tooth Fairy had to help a stork deliver a baby
The Tooth Fairy slept through her alarm

If your child is anything like mine, he or she will eat up these excuses. But remember, the Tooth Fairy should make some sort of grand gesture as an apology when this happens. Because candy often fixes everything, a handful of chocolate coins work well as a literal token of apology.

And P.S., if your child’s Tooth Fairy forgot to pay a visit, at least you know you are in good company. Frozen’s Idina Menzel recently tweeted “The tooth fairy didn’t show up last night. Mom put tooth in tissue and son hid it under pillow. Then mom fell asleep and woke up this morning to son with tears. ‘Tooth fairy didn’t come.’ That tooth fairy better get her s–t together. #badmoms.”

Tooth Fairy 2020 Seal


Lori Orlinsky is a multi-award-winning children’s book author based in Chicago. She is the author of “The Tooth Fairy’s Tummy Ache,” a silly lesson-based picture book about a girl who swallows her first tooth!

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