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Japan's very precious 'silver' teeth bite into dentist profits

Demand for use in catalytic converters drives up palladium price

The government-set dental treatment fees have failed to keep up with the rising prices of palladium used in dental fillings. 

TOKYO -- The skyrocketing price of a precious metal used in car exhaust scrubbers has had knock-on effects in an unexpected place: Japanese dental clinics.

Unlike other countries where resin composites or ceramics are used for dental fillings, dentists in Japan usually opt for what they think is a superior alternative: a unique mix of silver with pricier gold and palladium, which resembles platinum and is even more expensive. 

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