Nonprofit Organization The Tooth Bank Aims to Bring Awareness to the Usage of Black Market Human Teeth by US Dental Students
Upon acceptance to dental school, a majority of students are required to acquire teeth to practice within a clinical setting; a popular method by which students acquire said teeth is becoming a growing concern among many within the dental community.
MIAMI, December 9, 2020 (Newswire.com) - The Tooth Bank is a nonprofit organization made up of dentists, dental students and volunteers working together to provide current and future dental students with the crucial resources they need to succeed. They are working to bring awareness to a growing problem happening across the globe: the questionable and unethical sourcing of human bones — teeth in this case — which end up in the hands of U.S. dental students. The price of these teeth is extremely high, up to $10 per tooth. Students order from these shady companies, not because they are looking for a cheaper alternative, but because there is no alternative.
Dental students, in addition to being on average $300,000 in debt according to the latest statistics, are being preyed on by these companies because the students have no alternatives. The students are not only forced to order from these illegal vendors but are paying a hefty sum for the teeth. These dealers leverage the popularity of online storefronts to offload the product. India has been the main source of bones and teeth for years, as there are better quality specimens and less government intervention in the trade. China has been the second major source for this trade.
The dealers source these teeth through the most heinous, unethical methods imaginable. These methods include grave robbing, theft, and exploitation of the most impoverished and vulnerable communities in the world. This trade is unethical and poses serious problems for the dental community and society as a whole. A National Geographic article goes into detail how "in 1985, one dealer was caught selling more than 1,500 child skeletons of unknown origin. India promptly banned exporting human remains over concern that people were being murdered for them." Despite this ban, the trade is still widespread today and continues to prey on the world's most destitute populations.
Current alternatives to providing students teeth through means like 3D printing are making significant strides forward but are still too expensive (up to $20 per tooth) and do not adequately emulate their real-world counterparts, thus removing them as a viable option for the time being.
The Tooth Bank is working tirelessly to put an end to this illegal trade. Currently, dentists in the U.S. dispose of extracted teeth in biohazard bins. The Tooth Bank sees this as an opportunity to put an end to the black market trade of bones and teeth. Instead of throwing away extracted teeth, dentists can order a tooth donation kit at no cost and drop them in a jar. The Tooth Bank also includes a return shipping label so dentists can send them back once filled as a tax-deductible donation.
For more ways people can help:
- Consider donating to The Tooth Bank
- Sign up on the site to donate teeth
- Consider asking their dentists to donate any teeth they get extracted to the organization
- Spread awareness of this awful trade so we can end it in 2020
For more information on the Tooth Bank and its mission to end the black market trade of human teeth, visit: https://thetoothbank.org/stop-the-trade/.
About The Tooth Bank
The Tooth Bank is a nonprofit organization made up of a team of dental students, dentists, and volunteers working together to provide current and future dental students with the crucial resources necessary for succeeding in dental school. One of the ways we accomplish this is by providing students with ethically sourced teeth donated by dentists around the U.S. These teeth are given to them along with a tooth anatomy booklet and other resources to help them get a jump start on their education. These students also get access to monthly webinars, a newsletter, and clinical tips and tricks to help them succeed in their future field.
Source: The Tooth Bank, Inc.