Written By David Silverberg
Turning dental scrap into another revenue channel isn’t often top-of-mind for dentists, but savvy practitioners will recognize they could be missing out on some easy cash by sending precious metal-laden teeth to specialized dental refining services such as Muzeum Dental Refining.
We spoke with Daniel Gruz, an account executive at Muzeum Dental Refining, to share his insight on what dentists should know about an oft-misunderstood area of their profession.
Are Canadian dentists aware that they can get a nice return for their dental scrap of gold, silver and other precious metals?
Gruz: In the U.S., it’s a different story where many dentists know about the value of dental scrap. In Canada, there are some misconceptions about this space, so much so that sales reps from various services come into dental offices and buy a bag of teeth for something like $30 and dentists don’t realize its true monetary value.
Daniel Gruz Account executive at Muzeum Dental Refining
Those door-to-door sales reps create a bad impression for legit companies such as Muzeum Dental Refining. No one can know the value of dental scrap just by looking at a bag of the stuff. There has to be a process in place to determine the scrap’s purity. Can dentists eyeball or estimate the value of their dental scrap themselves? Gruz: Dentists aren’t too sure about the value of these teeth. After all, usually what they pull out comes from older patients and, in Canada with so many nationalities all blended together, some of these crowns and caps and inlays contain a variety of precious metals, some more valuable than the others. Dental work in Latin America may be quite different than dental work in Europe. Certain decades favoured using platinum as fillings instead of gold, say, and in some regions of Asia they didn’t use many precious metals at all in their dental work.
What do some dentists do with dental scrap teeth?
Gruz: Dentist who are aware of the service we provide have a way to store and sterilize the scrap while some dentists donate to it all to students so dental schools can learn how to sterilize the products. A lot of time dentists throw out this scrap and they are missing on extra money here. They’re already doing the work for extractions and throwing any potential value or profit to potentially get from them.
What kinds of scrap should dentists send to services such as Muzeum Dental Refining?
Gruz: Everything from crowns to bridges to caps to inlays. Also, sweeps has value and that refers to the gold or silver dust on the floor found after some extraction work. We look for precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium.
Muzeum Dental Refining employs X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) technology to analyze the products that dentists submit. Can you explain how it works?
Gruz: Metals can be found across a light spectrum so when X-rays are directed onto the product, the light spectrum of the precious metal meet, in a way, and match the light being shot out from the X-ray. When it comes to the refining process, the most optimal way is it melt it all together forming a liquid. We then extract a pin sample while it’s in liquid form and then it hardens into a water solution and turned into a flat pin. Then the X-ray technology can then be used to determine the percentages of precious metals found within that liquid. We use a series of chemical processes to separate metals and turn them back into solid materials. Because mining is extremely taxing on the environment, it’s important to recycle dental products and reintroduce them back into the world.
It’s safe to say that dental lots are never the same?
Gruz: It’s literally impossible to estimate what is in one dental lot unless those teeth go through the refining process. Two lots can look the same but the amount of precious metals in each can vary widely. Dentists should get paid the actual value of their dental scrap and skip middle-men like those sales reps looking to make a quick buck.
What should Canadian dentists know about getting the most value for their dental scrap through Muzeum Dental Refining?
Gruz: First, dental offices need to be diligent in their research about dental scrap and not just lets some Joe Blow give them a bit of money for what could be a big bag of gold. We offer a fair and transparent service via a free kit. Interested dentists sign up on our website with their name and address and information and we phone them to verify the accuracy of those details and then they are instructed to fill the kits we mail them. The instructions are very simple, from how to fill the bags we provide to mailing it back to us. We offer a prepaid shipping label and within five business days we will provide them with a full precious-metals report, identifying which metals were found in their batch. And we pay out for all the metals, not just gold, unlike some other companies. We also have an FAQ section on our website if dentists want to learn more about what we do. If you are a dentist or want to share this valuable information with any dentists you know, find out more about how to sell dental scrap today! David Silverberg