As refiners for the dental industry for over 40 years, we’ve heard a lot of feedback about the refining industry – some good, some not so good. Many people have had the good fortune of finding a refiner that provides them with consistent, accurate results. And we love to hear that.

And then, there are the horror stories.

We’ve heard them. You’ve heard them. And we all cringe. Lost lots. Refiners who claim that you didn’t send solids, but you know you did. And sometimes you get a great return at the beginning and slowly the results seem to get lower and lower with each successive lot.

An unfortunate consequence of these horror stories is that it reflects poorly on the entire refining industry, not just one company.

That’s why today, we’d like to take a moment to dispel some of the myths that we see and hear about our industry.

Myth #1: All refiners are crooks

This is not true. There are good refiners out there. We are people just like you, trying to make a living. We have to watch our costs, our profit margins, and keep up on the latest trends – as all businesses do. Good businesses know that if they want to thrive in the long-term, they have to treat their customers well.

Are there scam artists out there? Sure. They’re in all industries. The best advice we can give is to keep careful records of your returns. If something changes, you’ll be able to catch it. And then ask your refiner about it. They should be able to walk you through what they found. If something doesn’t seem right, then it may be time to get a second opinion.

their stealing a bag of stuff

Myth #2: You can get $1000 for a single crown

gold price increasing graph

While that would make many people very happy, it is not possible right now (metal prices would have to go up by roughly 10,000% to get even close to that). A single crown typically weighs around 0.1 oz. It’s usually made of a dental alloy (a blend of metals that together yield the desired physical characteristics). The value depends on the percentage of precious metals in the crown, the current market prices for the metals, and the refining fee.


Consider for a moment that gold has traded in the $1000-$1300 per ounce range for the past few years. That is the price for 1 ounce of pure (24 karat) gold. You can very quickly see how an item that weighs 0.1-0.2 ounces, could not possibly be worth $1000. Also, pure gold is not typically used much in dentistry (it’s too soft).

We are not entirely sure how this myth continues, but it does. In reality, a crown is usually worth less than $100 (sometimes significantly less depending on the alloy used).

Myth #3: You can get just as high a return with the refiners who pay on the spot

This one just makes us sad. So many people are leaving money on the table for the sake of convenience.

Refiners who send a representative to your office to visually inspect your scrap and pay you right there for it are not doing you justice. It is not possible to accurately guess (and it really is a guess) the true value of your scrap. That can only be done through testing.

You can be pretty sure that a representative is not going to estimate on the high side.

The difference in the payout is usually significant and well worth the 5-day wait.

Myth #4: It’s best to get your refining done with the same company you purchase metal from

It’s a nice system. Your refining returns go to the same account so its offsets your metal purchases. Doesn’t get better than that right? Right. And those companies know it.

What you have to watch out for are the fees. Large companies typically have more over head. Make sure to read the fine print and know how much they are taking out. You may be able to get better returns elsewhere. Then you have to weigh out if it’s enough of a difference to be worth switching.

group of people reading a contract


We hope we have dispelled some of the common myths concerning dental metal scrap refining. So while we don’t pay cash on the spot or pay $1000 for a single crown, we do promise to provide you with accurate returns and friendly customer service.

Need a shipping container for your scrap? We offer a variety of containers to fit your needs.