Dental assistant expands role to be tooth fairy
BURLINGTON, N.C. (AP) — The tooth fairy is from Caswell County.
Lori Welch Wilson has been a dental assistant at Roslyn M. Crisp & Associates Pediatric Dentistry on South Church Street for the past 27 years — 18 of which she’s also spent as the public relations officer and the “tooth fairy.”
Wilson says it’s a dream come true.
“When I was a little girl, my cousin was the dental hygienist for Alamance County, and I was probably 6 or 7 years old when she started taking me to work with her. I was able to watch her do dental presentations, and I was mesmerized by everything: brushing their teeth, the dental forms, the (red-cote) disclosing tablets, and from then on it was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is what I want to do,’” Wilson said.
She graduated from Alamance Community College in 1989 with a degree in dental assisting, and lucked into a job with Crisp right out of school.
The tooth fairy gig began roughly 10 years later, during Children’s Dental Health month, when she was asked to dress up as the mythical figure for an event at Holly Hill Mall.
Schools, churches, daycares and even the Burlington Royals have booked Wilson free of charge to teach kids about dental health over the last 27 years, and she’s become something of a local celebrity.
“That’s the funniest thing: I can be at the grocery store and I’m in my regular clothes, and the kid’s going, ‘Mama, mama, there’s the tooth fairy!’ and the parent’s like, ‘Um, my child says you’re the tooth fairy,’ and I say, ‘Well, yeah, I actually am,’” she laughed.
The iconic tooth fairy dress — pink, sequined, long and flowing — is from Merle Norman and takes roughly 20 minutes and an assistant’s help to get into. It’s accented by a felt bag with a fake tooth in it that she tells the kids she just collected from a boy in Texas.
“It’s all about creating imagination and creativity. You know, kids don’t get that a lot anymore,” she said.
While Wilson has children’s full attention, she encourages them to brush their teeth twice a day for at least two minutes, use fluoride toothpaste, and drink water instead of soft drinks — something she recommends for adults, too.
“They’re the role model, so if they’re drinking a Mountain Dew, their child’s going to want to drink a Mountain Dew,” she said.
In her free time, Wilson loves to read, go antiquing, dance and watch her two sons — now 21 and 17 — play baseball, but her role as the tooth fairy is near and dear to her heart, and something she plans to continue for a long time.
“Our goal is for kids to love to come to the dentist and know that taking care of their teeth is so important, but make it fun in the same sense,” Wilson said. “We feel that every person, every child deserves a healthy smile, and it’s our mission to make that happen. . Hopefully by meeting the tooth fairy I can leave them with a lasting impression to have great dental habits throughout their lifetime.”
Information from: Times-News, http://www.thetimesnews.com