Despite the obvious financial benefits that dental offices can see from discarded precious metals, Atlantic?s survey found that thirty percent of dentist offices don?t collect precious metals removed from patient?s mouths, while another thirty percent do collect, but sell the scrap based on weight and color. Atlantic criticizes this approach, stating that it is a mere ?guesstimate? of the metal?s worth, as ?most alloys used in dental crown and bridge contain three or four precious metals in varying amounts.? Instead of selling by guesstimate, Atlantic suggests a scientific process for fairness and accuracy.
The scientific process should consist of 3 steps:
1. Separating nonmetallic parts and getting the metal into one homogenous bar.
2. Using a representative sample of the bar for assaying, or analyzing the metal properties.
3. A refining process to return the metals to a high point of purity.
When done properly and in a routine process, the value of recycling precious metals can be significant. In 2012, Atlantic?s average crown and bridge collection time was every nine months for an office, with a value of approximately $3,000 per collection.
While the adoption of new dental materials has decreased the amount of metal being put into patients? mouths, it is projected that the value of extracted precious metals will continue to increase for many years, as more and more baby boomers continue to age and have complications from previous dental work.
Do you recycle your precious scrap metals? If not, what is holding you back?