July 10, 2022
A lot of people have old crowns, fillings, or bridges made of gold. And you might be surprised to learn that these dental restorations have value. Here is what you need to know about dental gold and how much it might be worth.
History of dental gold
Gold is one of the oldest tooth repair solutions in dentistry. Gold dental crowns date back at least 4,000 years. According to an academic paper, the first gold dental crown was found in Luzon, a Philippine island in Southeast Asia. Back then, modifying teeth with gold was a beautification and gold teeth often symbolized wealth, power, and higher status. Gold teeth were popular among the political ruling class and chiefs of the period.
Do dentists still do gold crowns?
Today, most patients prefer tooth-colored dental restorations that blend seamlessly with the color of natural teeth. As such, many metal alloys used for tooth restorations have faded over the years. That said, gold has biocompatible properties and modern metal crowns can still be made of a gold alloy at a patient’s request. And many patients still get gold crowns on back molars where the restoration will not be as visible.
Is a gold crown real gold?
Crowns can be made from a variety of precious metals including real gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. Yellow gold crowns are generally made with 10 to 18 karat gold.
What are the advantages of gold crowns?
Full gold crowns have many advantages. Opting for a gold crown can save more of the natural tooth structure because preparing the tooth for a gold restoration is very conservative. This is why so many dentists prefer gold dental crowns. Gold crowns are able to withstand heavy forces and are less likely to crack, chip, snap, or become brittle. Gold crowns also cause the least amount of wear against opposing teeth. This is why dentists might recommend gold crowns for patients with a heavy bite or teeth grinding habits.
What are the disadvantages of gold crowns?
Gold dental restorations can be more expensive than other types of materials, especially now. Gold crowns are not as popular because of their esthetics. Many patients prefer porcelain and zirconia instead. Also, gold crowns can be a problem for patients with metal allergies.
Factors that impact the longevity of gold dental crowns
The mouth is complex, and these are several factors that play an important role in the longevity of a gold restoration:
• Oral hygiene
• Daily dietary habits
• Drinking something extremely hot
• Bruxism or clenching and grinding teeth
• Chewing ice
• Biting fingernails
• Using teeth to open packages
How much is a gold crown worth?
Because of the wide range of different metal compositions, dentists often don’t know the precious metal content of the crowns they install or extract. And it is almost impossible to value the metal alloy of a dental restoration without the assistance of a professional. Yellow-gold inlays, overlays, and crowns typically have the highest value. Some crowns have more palladium than gold, making them less valuable. And other crowns don’t contain any precious metals at all and are worth very little. In the U.S. the value of a “gold crown” could range from $0 to $100 or more depending on how much precious metal it contains. On average, a real gold crown is worth about $57.