I'm pretty sure most people will think this is gross.
I'm also pretty sure I should think it's gross, except I'm pretty much over that.
Back when my husband had his elk skull mounted, they gave him the ivory teeth along with it. They've since been sitting on my dresser, still kind of nasty looking with bits of dried tissue on them, etc.
I decided I should go ahead and attempt to do something with one of them. The first step was to get all that dried tissue off, which is easier said than done. I tried the most logical thing first - I brushed it with a tooth brush. (The one I use for scrubbing faucets, not my own. Because I know you thought it.) The tooth brush was useless. I even tried it with some Comet. (Hey, it works on faucets.) Comet does not remove dried elk gum tissue. Just for future reference.
I took my dirty, now slightly damp tooth to my neighbor's house. This is an example of just how cool my neighbor is. I can show up at his door with a dirty elk tooth in my hand, and ask him how to clean it, and he doesn't think I'm the least bit odd. In fact, he got kind of excited, whipped out his pocket knife, and in the process of showing me how, pretty much scraped it all clean for me. I brought it home, found my husband's pocket knife, and went to town. Then I sanded it (with nail files. Finally found a use for nail files.) And buffed it. (With a nail buffer.)
When it was all clean and shiny, I took it back to my neighbor and borrowed a file to make notches in each side so the wire I was using wouldn't slide off. I just used some jewelry wire I bought at Michael's. Then I strung it with some ceramic and shell beads on some necklace memory wire. (I have no idea how to bead. I've never really done it. I realize there's an art to it. I probably failed.)
But what I have looks pretty darn cool, it seems pretty sturdy, and now I can proudly wear an elk tooth around my neck.