You probably already know that titanium hips or cobalt-chrome knee joints are not removed when an individual with such metal prosthetics is cremated. Gold teeth too are considered metal prosthetics or implants, so one might wonder whether gold teeth also meet the same fate as other metal prosthetics. The answer is actually both “yes” and “no,” as the family of the deceased has the choice to remove gold teeth or crowns or opt for cremation gold crowns.
Reasons for Wanting to Remove Gold Teeth before Cremation
It is no secret that gold is a precious metal with high value. Therefore, if the family of the deceased individual would like to hold onto the gold teeth or any gold crowns, crematoriums and funeral homes are quite open to granting that wish to the family. Removed gold teeth could then be melted and resold. The thought process is the same as removing jewelry from the body of the deceased prior to cremation.
How to Remove Gold Teeth before Cremation
If a family wishes to remove gold teeth before cremation, there are a few steps to follow. First off, crematoriums and funeral homes do not engage in teeth extraction. Once the family decides that they want a gold tooth or gold crown removed, it will convey this wish to the funeral home. The likely response the family will get from the funeral home will be to make an arrangement with a dentist who can extract the tooth or crown prior to cremation.
If Gold Teeth Are Not Remove, what happens?
If gold teeth or gold crowns are not removed, they will go through the cremation process along with the body. While the human body simply evaporates at high temperatures inside the cremator, the gold will be left behind as it is an element that can withstand high temperatures. The scientific explanation for this is gold has a high melting point it takes a lot of energy (in the form of heat) to make the gold evaporate like the body. After the body is cremated, the gold pieces are left behind with some calcified bone. Crematoriums and funeral homes that do not properly process the leftover remains simply dispose the calcified bone in a landfill, and the small pieces of precious metals also end up in that same landfill. Unfortunately, this practice really hurts and pollutes the environment, and it is also a significant waste given the high value of gold.
Are There Environmentally-Friendly Options?
Fortunately, there is indeed an environmentally-friendly option for scenarios where gold teeth and gold crowns are not removed prior to cremation. There is an emerging industry of cremation recycling that partner with crematoriums and funeral homes to collect cremated metals that they process for a second use. Some of these companies even provide processors that could efficiently collect even the smaller metal particles. Funeral homes can ship the cremated gold crowns and any other metals to the recycling company, and the company then melts the gold and sell it to manufacturers that use gold. The recycling companies actually purchase the metals and crematoriums and funeral homes typically give the money generated back to the family of the deceased or donate it to a charity in the community. All in all, this is an emerging practice that the environmentally-conscious industries are embracing, finding various ways to recycle.