Some people have old dental restorations (crowns, bridges and partials) tucked away in a box or a drawer. If you do, you might be surprised to learn that the precious mental content they contain can make them valuable.
These items are your property.
What's been worn in your mouth is yours. We've never heard of a dentist who offers an old-dental work discount when giving a price quote for a new gold crown, or extracting a tooth that has one. That means it's your dentist's obligation to return any restoration back to you, if you want it.
What types of precious metals can dental work contain?
Many of the alloys used to fabricate dental restorations have at least some precious metal content. For example, you probably already know that some contain gold. Many also contain platinum and/or palladium too.
How can you tell if your old restorations have any value?
It's impossible for you to know the composition of the alloy that's been used to make your dental work. And unless the dentist removing your restoration is the same one who placed it, there's no way for them to know exactly either.
The precious alloys used to make yellow gold crowns can run on the order of 10 to 20 karats (pure gold is 24 karat).
Silver-colored ("white" gold) crowns may have significant precious metal content.
The hidden metal substructure of porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns and bridges is sometimes made from precious-metal alloy. (See below for an illustration.)
Some dental alloys, having either a yellow or silver ("white") coloration, may have very little value as scrap.