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  • David Silverberg

Top 10 facts about dental scrap

Updated: Jan 4, 2022

If there’s one area that many dentists may need more information on as they go about their daily work, it’s dental scrap. Dentists can be so overwhelmed by the needs of their patients, and other admin duties piling up, they may not spend too much attention on the role dental scrap refining can play in helping them get a great rate of return for things they would otherwise throw in the garbage.

For those of you just being introduced to the topic, dental scrap refers to anything that a dentist uses on a patient or in making restorations for the mouth, and those are often made up of precious metals such as gold, palladium, silver and platinum. To give you a handy guide on what you need to know about dental scrap, here are 10 facts you can bookmark and come back to regularly. In no particular order…

  1. One of the earliest printed evidence of gold fillings use came from a 1530 book called Dental Medicine which revealed this passage when discussing teeth corrosion: “Scrape and clean the hole and the area of decay with a fine small chisel or a little knife or a file, or with another suitable instrument, and then to preserve the other part of the tooth, fill the cavity with gold leaves.”

  2. Beyond fillings containing precious metals, many bridges and crowns are constructed with metal alloys that contain precious metals such as gold, platinum, palladium, and silver.

  3. Dental scrap can be found in unlikely places. Metal shavings or “sweep” can be found on the floor, carpeting, dust collector bags, vacuum bags and filters.

  4. Can dentists estimate the value of their dental scrap by eyeballing it? Muzeum Dental’s Daniel Gruz says, “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.” It’s always recommended to contact a reputable scrap buyer such as Muzeum Dental to work with a trusted partner to ensure you get the correct valuation for your scrap.

  5. Gold isn’t the only valuable metal found in dental scrap. So is palladium, which jewelers began using in 1939 as a platinum alternative when creating white gold.

  6. A fun fact about palladium is that it has the ability to absorb up to 900 times its own volume in hydrogen, giving it the position to not only be the perfect container to store and also filter hydrogen.

  7. When it comes to dental scrap refining, a key step in bar analysis using X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) technology. This next-era iteration of X-ray innovation studies the scrap to determine the breakdown of metal composition including gold, silver, platinum and palladium.

  8. What are alloys? You’ll often hear that dental term in relation to scrap and other procedures. When metals are mixed or melted together they create what is known as an alloy. They exist because their properties can be better than those of the pure component metals. Some metals are stronger, others are less corrosive, and others look better.  

  9. If you want to stay updated on the price of gold, silver and palladium, this service is offered online by Gold.TO.

  10. Muzeum Dental is allowing dentists to access a free kit where they can send their dental scrap to receive a timely valuation on what cash they would get for their scrap if they were to sell dental scrap in Canada. Simply fill out the form provided on this page.

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