What do dentists do with gold crowns?

Answered by Tom Adger

When it comes to gold crowns, dentists typically have a process in place to salvage the metal and ensure its value is realized. They often have connections with dental labs that specialize in creating new crowns, and these labs are usually involved in the metal salvaging process.

One common practice is for the dentist to collect the old gold crowns from their patients. These crowns are typically removed when a patient needs a replacement or an upgrade. Instead of discarding the crown, the dentist saves it to be sent off for metal reclamation.

Once the dentist has accumulated a certain quantity of gold crowns, they usually package them up and send them to a metal reclamation company. These companies specialize in extracting the valuable metals from various dental materials, including gold crowns. They have the necessary equipment and expertise to safely retrieve the precious metals and prepare them for resale.

The metal reclamation process typically involves melting down the crowns to separate the gold from other metals and impurities. The extracted gold is then refined to ensure its purity and quality. After refining, it can be sold to gold buyers or used to create new dental restorations.

It’s worth noting that gold crowns are not made entirely of pure gold. They are usually an alloy that contains a mixture of gold, silver, and other metals. The specific composition can vary depending on the dental lab and the preferences of the dentist.

Now, you might be wondering why dentists bother with salvaging the gold from crowns instead of just letting their patients keep it. The reason is that the value of the gold in a crown can be significant. Gold prices fluctuate, but historically, gold has retained its value and even appreciated over time. By salvaging the gold from old crowns, dentists can recover some of the cost of the original crown and potentially pass on the value to their patients.

In some cases, dentists may even offer to buy back the gold from their patients. This can be a win-win situation as the patient receives some financial compensation while the dentist can add the salvaged gold to their collection for future reclamation.

It’s worth mentioning that not all dental restorations contain gold. Nowadays, there are various materials available for crowns, such as porcelain, zirconia, and composite resin. These materials are popular due to their aesthetics and durability, and they do not have any salvageable metal content.

Dentists have established procedures to salvage the gold from old crowns and ensure its value is realized. They often work with metal reclamation companies to extract the precious metals and refine them for resale. By salvaging the gold, dentists can recover some of the cost of the original crown and potentially pass on the value to their patients. So, if you have an old gold crown, it’s worth exploring the option of having it salvaged rather than letting it go to waste.