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Inside Dental Assisting
Sept/Oct 2013
Volume 10, Issue 5

Save Extracted Crowns and Bridges to Increase Profitability

Not all precious metal scrap refiners are the same

A dental professional team has many ways to economize and increase profitability. Comparison shopping for the best deals on instruments, technology tools, and office supplies is an obvious place to start. Another, perhaps less obvious, revenue stream is by saving and recycling extracted crown-and-bridge work.

Most extracted restorations contain precious metal and are, therefore, a valuable commodity for the dental office. It doesn’t take much of this type of dental scrap to have considerable value, and proper storage and recycling of this material can lead to surprising financial returns. Also, when these extractions have been collected, it is imperative to partner with a reputable refiner to recycle the material – a refiner skilled at dealing with the complexities of refining dental scrap and has a clearly stated fee structure.

Realizing the Dollar Value in Extracted Restorations

Most extracted crowns and bridges contain a percentage of gold, silver, platinum, and/or palladium, four valuable precious metals. By simply looking at a collection jar of dental scrap, it is impossible to tell how much precious metal it contains. Although gold is somewhat evident by its coloring, there is absolutely no way to differentiate the silver, platinum, and palladium from other nonprecious silver-colored metals.

Never take cash at the office for a collection jar of scrap. Exact percentages and weights of the precious metals in the extractions can be determined only through the scientific process of smelting, refining, and assaying. Dental offices should also proceed with caution when deciding on a refiner to process this dental scrap.

Researching Precious Metal Scrap Refiners

To process extracted restorations, dental offices can choose from many reputable refiners and, unfortunately, a few undesirables. In order to avoid the latter, research each refiner and ask a few key questions:

• How long has the refinery been in business?
• Is the refinery located in the U.S.?
• Does the refinery specialize in dental scrap?
• Does the refinery employ the latest technologies?
• What is the refinery’s fee structure?
• Does the refinery pay on all four precious metals?
• What kind of customer service does the refinery provide?

A reputable refiner is willing and able to answer all of the above questions, is courteous and considerate in its dealings with customers, and has a clearly stated fee and pay structure.

Atlantic Precious Metal Refining

Atlantic specializes in processing dental scrap and has been in the refining business for more than 25 years. Owned and operated in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by a former dental lab technician and United States Air Force veteran, Atlantic grew from a one-man operation into what is now a 15,000-square-foot full-scale refinery employing 34 people. The company’s executive staff alone has more than 150 years of experience in the dental industry.

In 2012, the average dentist scrap lot of extracted restorations processed by Atlantic netted 2.86 ounces of precious metal and an average settlement check of $2822. The company charges $25 per lot to smelt and assay dental scrap; pays on 100% of recovered gold, silver, platinum, and palladium less a 10% recycling fee; and is committed to providing the highest level of customer service in the industry.


A dental practice has many ways to increase its profitability, and including dental scrap refining is an important part of the plan. Recycling extracted restoration regularly minimizes the impact of precious metal market fluctuation, reduces the risk of loss or theft, provides the practice with a regular source of revenue, and eliminates the mysterious value of dental scrap as rate of return patterns develop over time with regular recycling. With the entire dental professional team contributing to the effort, simple changes can make a real difference to the practice’s bottom line.

Key Takeaways

• Save all extracted crowns and bridges.
• NEVER take cash-on-the-spot for dental scrap.
• Shop around for a reputable refiner specializing in dental scrap.
• Read the fine print of every settlement report to determine fees and payment details.


The preceding material was provided by the manufacturer. The statements and opinions contained therein are solely those of the manufacturer and not of the editors, publisher, or the Editorial Board of Inside Dental Assisting.

For More Information

Atlantic Precious Metal Refining


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