Reusing Gold from Dental Scrap
Dental gold is a valuable material that has been used in dentistry for many years. It is an alloy of gold and other metals, designed for use in dental restorations such as crowns, bridges, and inlays. While these restorations are designed to be long-lasting, they may eventually need to be replaced. This raises the question: can dental gold be reused?
The answer is yes, dental gold can be reused. When a dental restoration is removed, the gold can be recovered and recycled to create new restorations or other products. The gold is carefully extracted from the restoration and sent to a refiner, who will melt down the metal and refine it to remove any impurities. The resulting gold can then be used to create new dental restorations or other products.
Most of the dental alloys also contain other precious metals such as Palladium, Platinum and Silver . The process allows us to refine all these components, which increases the value of the scrap. Gold content in dental alloys can vary from 3% in some “Palacast” alloys to 99% in high gold alloys. The most common are the casting alloys with 60-75% (like Degulor C from Degussa). These days the use of gold is decreasing dramatically due to new advances in materials and technologies.
In case of reuse, it is possible to use the alloys by recasting to manufacture new bridges, crowns or even pieces of jewelry. In case of refining we will get fine gold 99.9% that can be used for any applications from electronics to investment bars.
The reuse of dental gold has several benefits. First, it helps to conserve valuable resources. Gold is a rare and valuable material, and the reuse of dental gold helps to reduce the need for mining and production of new gold. This reduces the environmental impact of gold mining and helps to conserve natural resources.
In addition, the reuse of dental gold can be a cost-effective alternative to purchasing new gold. While the price of gold can fluctuate based on market demand and supply, the reuse of dental gold can help to offset the cost of producing new restorations.
Finally, the reuse of dental gold can also be a source of income for dental offices. The gold, as well as other precious metals, recovered from old restorations can be sold to refiners, providing an additional source of revenue for the practice.
Most big dental alloys manufacturers like Argen corporation in the US and some big refiners like Mastermelt in the UK, have recycling and refining programs working directly with dental clinics and dental technicians for collection, refining and purchasing the refined metals.
In conclusion, dental gold can be found mainly in old restorations and can be reused to create new dental restorations or other products. In case of refining we can also benefit from other precious metals components which exist in the alloys. The reuse of dental gold helps to conserve valuable resources, reduce the environmental impact of gold mining, and can provide a cost-effective alternative to purchasing new gold.
Not all gold can be reused but all dental gold can be refined. This is another small part in the big puzzle we call urban mining which is a win-win situation.