Smile! You Can Sell Your Dental Scrap

Common dental repairs, including bridges, crowns and fillings, are made with precious metals that can be sold to a cash-for-gold or precious-metal recycling company. These pieces are made with precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium, all of which are highly valuable metals.

So, whether your dental practice has leftover scrap, or you’ve personally held on to an old crown, you may consider selling these items for extra cash.

Precious Metals in Dental Scrap

Dental scrap varies in value depending on the weight and percentage of precious-metal contents. Even though they may appear gold or yellow in color, most repairs are not constructed with pure gold or other noble metals, but rather are made of precious-metal alloys. Pieces containing gold usually consist of 10 – 22 karats.Precious Metals Dental Scrap

While materials may contain alloys — a partial or complete solid combination of one or more metallic elements — the pure, precious-metal component can be extracted and recycled through the refining process.

According to Animated-Teeth.com, “These alloys, known in dentistry as “precious” alloys, are composed of over 60% noble metal (gold, platinum, and/or palladium) of which at least 40% is gold.” Repairs, such as full gold crowns, will fetch the highest price due to the high quality and percentage of noble metal present.

Below are common types of dental repairs that can be sold:

Crowns
Commonly assumed to be made entirely of gold, crowns can contain platinum, palladium, silver, copper and tin. Depending on the percentage of noble metal (gold, platinum or palladium), the value of a crown can vary greatly.

According to the American Dental Association, fixed dental repairs, such as full gold crowns, are labeled as being “high noble” when they contain at least 60 percent noble metal, of which at least 40 percent must be gold.
 
Bridges
Dental bridges are similar to implants or partial dentures, replacing a missing tooth or several teeth. Bridges are created to fill a gap within the bite, and are a combination of two crowns cemented together to replace a missing tooth, or cemented around a partial tooth. They can be made of gold, palladium, porcelain or porcelain fused to metal (PFM).

Fillings
Dental fillings are used to repair teeth with less severe damages, such as typical tooth decay, or cracked and broken teeth. Similar to crowns and bridges, fillings often use precious-metal materials, including gold and silver alloys.

Selling Dental Scrap

Not all dental repairs contain precious metals. In fact, they are often made with porcelain, chromium or other metal alloys. Unless your dentist has informed you that your repair contains a precious metal, and its percentage of precious-metal content, it is impossible to know what the value is without testing the piece.

Often times, dental scrap must be melted down and tested before the actual percentage of precious metal, and ultimately the value, can be determined. The dealer should notify you if the piece requires melting, so that you can agree or decline to move forward with the testing process.
 
Even though dental scrap may contain a small amount of precious metal, it can still be sold to a cash-for-gold company. Whether you’re an individual with a single tooth, or a dental office selling large amounts of scrap, dental scrap can be a lucrative, untapped resource.

Have you sold dental scrap before? If so, we’d like to hear about your experiences. Feel free to share them in our comments section. 
 
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Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dental_restoration#Metals_and_metallic_alloys
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alloy
http://www.animated-teeth.com/dental_crowns/t-sell-scrap-dental-gold.htm
http://www.ada.org/2190.aspx
http://www.yourdentistryguide.com/bridges/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_(dentistry)#Metal-containing_restorations
http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-health-fillings

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