For many people, a visit to the dentist could mean the extraction of a tooth. While few people want to think about having a tooth pulled, you might find yourself wondering what happens to these teeth once they are removed.
If you are curious about where extracted teeth end up, here are 3 possibilities.
1. At Home With The Patient
Some patients want to keep the teeth that they have had pulled. This is especially true of young patients, who might be hoping to earn a few dollars from the Tooth Fairy in exchange for the extracted tooth.
If you want to take your own extracted tooth home with you, it is important that you request the tooth from your dentist. If you do not explicitly request the tooth, your dentist will dispose of it to avoid the potential spread of infection.
2. At A Scrap Metal Refinery
Recycling scrap metal can be a great way to earn a few extra bucks, and your dentist has the unique opportunity to cash in on the teeth he or she pulls in their office.
Since many dental appliances and fillings are made using precious metals, teeth that are attached to or contain these precious metals can be recycled. Dental alloys generally consist of 60% noble metals, of which 40% is gold. This makes extracted teeth a valuable resource for your dentist.
3. In A Clinical Setting
Did you know that your extracted teeth could be used to train the next generation of dental professionals? Many extracted teeth end up in a clinical setting to help aspiring dentists learn to identify the anatomy and potential problems of teeth.
In order to be used in a clinical setting it is imperative that your dentist handles extracted teeth properly. Teeth that do not have amalgam fillings can be disinfected using a 40 minute autoclave cycle. If the teeth do contain amalgam fillings, they must be soaked in a 10% formalin solution for at least 2 weeks to ensure internal and external disinfection.
No one relishes the thought of having a tooth pulled, but knowing that your tooth will live on after extraction can help you come to terms with having your dentist pull it during your next appointment. Extracted teeth can be recycled, used for education purposes, or left out for the tooth fairy, providing plenty of options for your pulled tooth to benefit others after it has been extracted.
If you have other questions about your teeth, try contacting a company like Fayetteville Family Dentistry with any questions or concerns you have.