If you’re one of the 100 million denture users in the world, you may be wondering what to do with old dentures.
While tossing them into the trash can seems wasteful, there are many different alternatives to recycle and even reuse them!
Here are some options for what to do with your old dentures:
- Donate them to dental schools
- Sell the precious metals from them
- Make art with them
- Use them as gag gifts
- Use them for Halloween costumes
- Send them to your dentist
- Sell them online
Donate your old dentures
You may think that donating old denture prosthetics is an unusual thing to do, but it’s not! The Japan Denture Recycling Association has started a program to collect old and unwanted dentures.
The organization then takes the proceeds from the dentures to donate to UNICEF. To date, the JDRA has donated close to $250,000 to UNICEF.
Unfortunately the United States does not have any of these types of programs, but you can still donate your old dentures to the Japan Denture Recycling Association.
Follow these instructions for donating those old dentures to the JDRA:
- Clean and disinfect the dentures with either boiling water or hydrogen peroxide.
- Wrap the dentures in bubble wrap or other mail cushioning material.
- Place the dentures into a small padded envelope.
- Mail the package to JDRA 8799 Kawagoe Post Office Stop, Japan.
Another place that will take denture donations are schools and research facilities.
You can contact your nearest dental school or university research facility to see if they accept denture donations.
Many teaching universities will happily accept clean, used dental prosthetics.
Sell the precious metals inside
While it may seem unusual, there are companies who buy old dentures.
The average set of dentures has around $25 worth of precious metals, like gold and silver, located inside.
The Gold Box is one such company that will purchase old dentures in order to harvest those metals.
If you have any dentures with gold crowns, The Gold Box will salvage the metal which could be worth up to $90 per tooth!
Another company that scraps precious metals from dentures is Garfield Refining.
Since 1892 this company has been helping others realize the value of their old dentures.
If you’re thinking of selling your dentures for the gold and silver inside, keep in mind that prices for those fluctuate almost daily.
So be sure to check those prices for each metal to ensure you get the most for your dentures.
Make art with them
Artists incorporate the use of many different objects to create one of a kind pieces of art and, believe it or not, teeth are one of them. While it may sound strange, using teeth in artwork is not uncommon.
Sculptor Jessine Hein gained notoriety when she used a replica set of dentures that were identical to the teeth of David Bowie.
If you don’t want to create art from old dentures yourself, check out some local artists’ galleries to find someone who could use them in their work.
Simply asking around in these circles can sometimes pay off when you least expect.
Use them as gag gifts
It’s no secret that people get old. It’s just a fact of life.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a little fun with getting old every now and then! Before you toss out you’re old dentures, think about any upcoming birthdays. Old dentures make great gag gifts for 30th, 40th, and birthday’s beyond.
Be sure to clean the dentures and disinfect them thoroughly before giving them out as a gag gift.
Receiving old, unclean, used teeth for birthdays could be a little off-putting if not properly cleaned.
Use them for halloween costumes
If you’re wondering what else you can do with your old dentures, using them as a halloween costume accessory is a great idea.
You can even kick them up a notch for your costume by using paint, glitter, rhinestones, and fake blood for a spooky effect!
Be sure to clean and disinfect the old dentures before using them for your Halloween costume.
If you are using any adhesives such as super glue or rubber cement, wipe them with a sterile alcohol pad to help with the adhesion.
Send them to your dentist
The next time you’re sitting in the dental chair, talk to your dentist.
Ask him or her if the vendor that they use for dentures has a recycling program.
Chances are good that they do and that means you just need to take the clean and disinfected dentures to your dentist for disposal.
Sell them online
It’s no secret that people buy what some would consider strange.
One internet search can pull up millions of oddities that people are selling online and millions more transactions for such items.
Old dentures are one of these oddities that appear to sell quite well in private transactions online.
Websites such as Craigslist, eBay, and Etsy are all great places for finding oddities like dentures to buy and sell.
Be sure before listing any dentures to read over the sites’ terms of service.
Some sites may have rules against buying and selling such items and others may have a special set of instructions to do so.