I've had mine for a while and have noticed cracks in the teeth and stuff but I recently dreamed I was playing it and the teeth began to break into powder as I was beating it. Which led me to ponder if I have been wapping it with the stick too hard. Do the teeth eventually fall out or anything? The stick itself is also getting pretty chewed up but I am assuming that is unavoidable.
Elaine has gone through a number of sticks. The teeth can fall out. You have a choice, either lightly glue them back in with something like rubber cement, or keep them loose. The sound is better if they stay loose. Elaine has had a tooth fly off in the middle of a performance which is kind of amusing. For sticks we have used turkey bones, wood, and hambones. The teeth seem to eat pretty quickly through the wood although we are going to try a piece of cherry at someone's suggestion. Teeth are among the hardest of bones. If you look at paleontology collections the most common item is always teeth. If a tooth breaks apart you can probably glue it. Our jawbone is at least 5 years old and is holding up well.
I whittled my own stick from walnut, since I had some lying around. May have to try out the hambone though. Thanks for your insight.