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Dental gold, also known as dental scrap, is gold that was previously used for caps, bridges, fake teeth and fillings. Unlike investing in regular gold, investing in dental gold carries considerably more risk because it is almost impossible to know how much dental scrap is worth. Along with the metals used, the weight of the dental scrap has a lot to do with the potential value of dental gold.
Dental gold, despite the name, is not always made of gold. This is one of the biggest risk factors associated with investing in dental scrap. Yellow gold dental scrap will often have a percentage of real gold. White dental scrap can be confusing, because it could either be very valuable or worthless. This is because some white gold alloys use a high amount of precious metals, while others contain common and near-worthless metals.
Another risk factor is the refining fee. The gold in a filling may be worth $50, for example, but the gold found in dental scrap is not in a usable state and must be refined before it can be reused. This means there often is a fee or a percentage taken off the top so the refiner can recoup losses for the extra work. The end result may be that the $50 filling yields only $35 or $40 after fees.
Testing dental gold for gold and other precious metals is nearly impossible unless one has professional equipment. Using a gold needle and acid may show the filling or bridge has 22-karat gold, but it is incredibly rare to find any dental scrap that is entirely gold, thus changing the value. Without access to professional equipment, the next best option is speaking with a dentist, who should have a better idea of how much gold can be found in the scrap.
Dental scrap may be worth more than the gold used in the tooth or crown. Dental gold is sometimes made with metals such as platinum or palladium,which far outweigh gold in value. On the other hand, dental gold may include relatively low-value metal such as chrome or nickel, which will reduce the value of the dental scrap.
The weight of the piece also matters, as it would with any gold- or metal-related investment. The heavier the precious metals are, the more a person will get out of the investment. Only some of the scrap may contain precious metals, though, so an investor can’t rely on the weight of the scrap to determine the weight of the precious metals in the scrap.