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Monday, June 9, 2008

Put the money where your mouth is. Literally.

Maybe all those cavities you have aren't so bad afterall.

In the Arizona Republic there was an article about people selling the dentalwork they had done years ago to make money, due to the recent rise in gold prices. Apparently, crowns, fillings, and bridgework used to be made out of 16 carat gold, which made the fillings soft enough to mold, but hard enough to maintain its shape while biting. Today, however, most dentalwork is made from different substances like mercury amalgam or other alloys. Those fortunate enough to have the old gold fillings can cash in if they are willing to part with the dental work. Gold reached a record high of $1038.60 an ounce March 17, though the price has gone done a bit since then. The gold from dentalwork can be melted down into coins.

Supposedly this is big business in Japan, where they estimate if all the gold thrown out from dentures was sold, over $70 million could be raised per year. The Japan Denture Recycle Association has collected over 30,000 dentures and made over $176,000 for charity since they began in December 2006. The gold from a set of dentures there is worth about $24.50, maybe more if gold continues to rise. The Association’s leader, Isao Miyoshi, came up with the idea of putting dropboxes in government agencies throughout Japan to collect the gold, when he found out millions of the dentures are discarded annually. With the aging population in Japan rising, more and more people will have old gold to get rid of. If the small country of Japan can collect this why doesn’t someone in the US work on this idea too?

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