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John Lennon’s tooth worth $31,000

A Canadian dentist has purchased John Lennon’s tooth at auction for $31,000 (£19,500). Karen Fairweather from Omega Auctions, said of Lennon’s tooth: “It’s rather gruesome, yellowy, browny with a cavity.

“John Lennon came back from the dentist and gave it to his housekeeper and said to dispose of it ‘or better still give it to your daughter as a souvenir’.”

Now several thoughts spring to mind. Firstly the lack of infection control procedures involving taking an extracted tooth home and giving to the cleaner to give to her daughter! Ugh.

But it had me wondering- how much are your teeth worth to you? it seems JL’s tooth may have been gruesome but, by the sound of it, it wasn’t irreparable by today’s standards. Maybe a root canal treatment followed by a crown could have saved it but without seeing it I can’t really be sure.

In yesteryear many patients were really rather flippant about losing a tooth. Nowadays I find patients rightly expect to keep their teeth. When tooth decay has ravaged a tooth and the decay has spread under the bone then the tooth has had it. Prior to that, providing the gum support is in good order the tooth can usually be salvaged.

Patients that opt to have a savable tooth removed often regret it and end up asking for an implant. An implant will cost around £2400 on average and, whilst this is a lot less than the £19,500 that JL’s tooth was sold for, it’s more than double the cost of a root canal treatment and a well constructed crown. That’s worth thinking about.