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What is Dental Gold?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 16, 2024
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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.

SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By LisaLou — On Aug 04, 2012

It seems to me that using dental gold would be an even more expensive way to have your dental work done. It can be expensive enough the way it is, but I think this would even add to the cost.

Is this still something that dentists use much toady?

By julies — On Aug 04, 2012

It seems like most dentists today will use porcelain or something that matches the color of your teeth instead of using dental gold.

The last time I had to have a dental crown put on, the subject never even came up. There were choices available, but they had to do with which one was the closest to my natural tooth color.

I wonder if there is much difference in gold or porcelain as far as how long they will hold up?

By SarahSon — On Aug 03, 2012

I wonder if dental gold prices have increased in value over the last few years as the value of gold has increased?

Since there is so much more processing and refining that needs to be done, I imagine it may not be worth as much as some might hope it would. My grandpa always joked that he didn't have much money, but his mouth was a gold mine!

By bagley79 — On Aug 02, 2012

When my mom was a young girl she chipped one of her front teeth, and they used dental gold on this tooth.

She had this small piece of dental gold on one of her front teeth for many years. Finally she had this removed and replaced with something that was the same color as her teeth.

I never thought about how much this small piece of gold may have been worth. I think she was wanted something that looked more natural when she smiled.

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