How to Spot Repaired & Restored Megalodon Teeth
Repaired and restored megalodon teeth are not uncommon to find on the meg market. Most of the time, people that sell these repaired or restored teeth will be honest and point out where the repair or restoration is. But there will be times where you will run into a seller that will not be honest and try to pass that specific tooth off as all natural with no repair or restoration. The aim of this article is to help people spot repaired and restored teeth that are on the market. We will also go over a few different methods to show if a tooth is repaired or restored.
Between repaired and restored teeth, there’s no real easy way to spot the repair unless it's poorly done. Repaired teeth are usually teeth that are found broken where two or more pieces of the same tooth match up perfectly. Sometimes these pieces are found together or sometimes they can be found feet apart from each other. For the pictures shown, someone found this monster megalodon tooth broken as you can see below. Instead of doing the repair work themselves, they sent it to a professional to get it done. The person glued the pieces back together and did some minor restoration work to it making it seem like the tooth was never broken in the first place.
Teeth that have restoration are usually easier to spot than repaired teeth. But this of course usually depends on the restoration and if the restoration was done by a professional or an amateur. There are people that have been restoring fossils for years and sometimes it's very difficult to spot where they restored a tooth or a fossil in general. But no matter who has done the restoration, there will always be ways to spot and show where a fossil, or in this case, a megalodon tooth has been restored. For the example picture below, you can see that most of the restoration done on this tooth was done to the enamel and the tip. This tooth was done by a professional. So if someone doesn’t know what they’re looking at, they could argue that this was an all natural tooth. Even the serration work, which is generally very hard to replicate, is spot on.
Now, let's go into a bit more detail on the different types of restoration to look out for, how to spot them, and how to test to see if a tooth is restored or even repaired.
Out of all the ways to spot any restoration that's on a tooth, serration restoration is probably the easiest to spot if it’s done poorly. Serrations on any fossil shark tooth are so distinct that it's very hard to replicate them flawlessly. Usually people who restore fossils use paleo-bond or some sort of epoxy mixture. It is normally very difficult to mold and sculpt fine and detailed serrations perfectly unless you have a lot of patience, a steady hand, and a lot of skill. Since there are only a handful of people who do professional restoration on fossils, each of these people have different methods of replicating serrations. Below are a few examples of restoration work done to serrations. You can clearly see the distinct difference between all natural serrations and restored ones.
Below is an example of serration work that has been done by a professional. You almost can’t even tell that there has been restoration work done to this section of the tooth. But this artist has taken the extra time and effort to make sure the serrations look as natural as possible. This sort of restoration work is very hard to spot and usually can only be seen with a black-light.
Photo Credit: Christian Hunt
Enamel restoration can be tricky to spot. But if the restoration and paint job is done by an amateur, the restoration can be very easy to spot. You will see enamel restoration on teeth that are usually 5 inches or larger. Most of the time divers will find big teeth that have great serrations but they will have really bad enamel peel. Often they will send these teeth to get the enamel restored and make the tooth look more appealing to a potential buyer. One of the most useful ways to spot for enamel restoration just by looking at a picture, is checking where the enamel meets the bottom of the bourlette. There is a distinct difference between restored enamel on a tooth and all natural enamel just by looking at this area. It's very hard to describe what exactly to look for, so here are a couple examples below.
Photo Credit: Christian Hunt
Root restoration is the hardest type of restoration to spot, especially if the restoration was done by a professional. There is no real big hint to spot root restoration in pictures or even just looking at a tooth in person. But there are ways you can test if a tooth has root or any sort of restoration. We will go into more detail after this specific topic. Here are a couple examples of root restoration.
Different methods to test if a tooth is repaired or restored
If you own a tooth and you think it's repaired or restored, there are a few different methods you can try to test your assumption.
Ultraviolet Light Testing
Ultraviolet light is a great way to test for any enamel restoration or any sort of broken pieces being reattached. Low ultraviolet light will make any natural enamel shine while the dark spots show the repaired sections of a tooth. If a tooth is repaired and there are any signs of glue where the tooth was reattached, the ultraviolet light will make the glue around the repaired area shine.
Acetone will usually break down any glue that has been used in a repair or restoration, no matter how strong the glue may be. Even though this is a great way to test for root restoration and tooth repair, acetone can remove paint. So unless you don't want to mess up your restored or repaired tooth, I would stick with the UV light method.
The Hot Needle Test
I wouldn't recommend doing this if you don't want to mess up your restored or replicated tooth. But if you don't care, then a hot needle test is good for showing if a tooth is fake or restored. The hot needle will melt into plastic or epoxy, but it won't damage an all natural tooth.