Sunday, January 09, 2005

Gadget makes pulling teeth less like, well, pulling teeth

Gadget makes pulling teeth less like, well, pulling teeth

By Ann Schrader

The Denver Post

Some baby teeth come out the hard way -- a string tied to a doorknob, leaving a trail of blood and tears.

Others defy removal, dangling by a mere shred of tissue.

The Tooth Fairy will have business galore if a new gizmo called the Gator Gripper catches on.

The brainchild of a Lakewood, Colo., dentist and a patient, the patented Gator Gripper gently extracts loosened baby teeth with a minimum of trauma.

"It's easy to use, it's relatively inexpensive and it's safe," said Dr. Lance Long. "If a tooth isn't ready, it will slip off. Once a tooth is removed, the device captures it so it isn't swallowed."

The green gadget's tail can be adjusted to fit small front teeth or big back teeth. The head is squeezed so the tail can slip onto the target tooth.

A couple of wiggles later, the tooth is in the Gator's tail.

Madison Bush, 10, of Lakewood, can attest that the gadget's gentle pressure numbs the area around the tooth, making removal painless.

"It didn't hurt at all," Bush said.

Fern Rossi watched in horror as her granddaughter employed the string-to-the-doorknob approach on a younger brother. "The tooth, blood and everything started flying," Rossi said.

"Fern called me and said, 'There's got to be a better way,' " said Long, who has Rossi for a patient.

They began a collaboration in 1997 to develop what is now the Gator Gripper. It's available online at for $14.95 plus shipping.

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