How to Recover Dental Gold

by Alan Sembera; Updated September 26, 2017
Many refiners pay cash for gold dental work.

If you have some old gold crowns, fillings or dental bridges laying around, you can recover the gold by sending it to a refiner for smelting and purification. You can probably sell larger items such as crowns to a local gold buyer, but if you want to get a better price or if you have a lot of small scraps from a dental lab, you are better off dealing directly with a gold refiner that buys dental scraps.

Step 1

Gather up all your gold dental scraps, including gold teeth, gold bridges, gold fillings and scraps that are created in a dental lab.

Step 2

Determine the approximate amount of "pure" gold in your dental scraps by finding out the purity of the gold and its weight. Most dental gold is actually comprised of alloys, and the purity of the gold will be expressed in karats, with 24 karats representing pure gold. So a 12 karat gold filling is 50 percent pure gold. If you have 2 troy ounces of 12 karat gold, you have 1 troy ounce of pure gold.(One regular ounce equals 1.1 troy ounces.)

Step 3

Find out the current market price for gold. You can find up-to-date information on the internet of on the business page of major newspapers. In June 2011, for example, the market price for gold was about $1,500 per troy ounce. Multiply the weight of pure gold in your dental scraps by the market price of gold to find the approximate value of your scraps. For exanmple, if you had 2 troy ounces of 12K gold, it would be worth about $1,500 as of June 2011.

Step 4

Find a refiner that buys scrap gold from dental work. You can find several of the companies on the Internet. If you are a dentists or operate a dental lab, you may be able to sell the gold to your dental product distributor.

Step 5

Contact the refiner and tell them the approximate amount of gold you are trying to sell. Ask them for a price quote. If the price seems too low, shop around for another refiner. Keep in mind that the refiner has to make money for its work in melting down and purifying the gold, so you will not get the full market value of the gold.

Step 6

Ship the dental scraps to the refiner once you have agreed on a price.

Tips

  • If you are a dentist or dental lab operator that does a lot of work with gold, you may have a significant amount of gold scraps and dust in the carpet underneath the work area. Many gold scrap refiners will accept strips of carpet, old lab coats and other fabrics where gold dust collects. They incinerate the fabrics and collect any gold that is left over.

About the Author

Alan Sembera began writing for local newspapers in Texas and Louisiana. His professional career includes stints as a computer tech, information editor and income tax preparer. Sembera now writes full time about business and technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Texas A&M University.

Photo Credits

  • Baerbel Schmidt/Digital Vision/Getty Images