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 Heavy Metal, Dental Material, Mercury
NC North Carolina Charlotte Dentist

 Dental Metal Dentist Charlotte NC North Carolina
Holistic Biological Biocompatible
 


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Mercury is a heavy metal. Heavy metals is a topic that many of my Charlotte North Carolina NC area patients are concerned about. I continuously have patients presenting to my office who have been told they have high levels of heavy metals. We do not test for heavy metals in my office but apparently a lot of other healthcare providers are. Being that dentists deal with metals in various forms in our dental materials, it makes sense to understand this topic. 

A heavy metal is a member of a loosely-defined subset of elements that exhibit metallic properties. It mainly includes the transition metals, some metalloids, lanthanides, and actinides.

All dentists should understand toxic metals are metals that form poisonous soluble compounds and have no biological role, i.e. are not essential minerals, or are in the wrong form. Often heavy metals are thought as synonymous, but lighter metals also have toxicity, such as beryllium, and not all heavy metals are particularly toxic, and some are essential, such as iron. The definition may also include trace elements when considered in abnormally high, toxic doses. A difference is that there is no beneficial dose for a toxic metal with no biological role. 

Toxic heavy metals sometimes imitate the action of an essential element in the body, interfering with the metabolic process to cause illness. Many metalss, particularly metalss are toxic, but some heavy metals are essential, have a low toxicity, and bismuth is non-toxic. Most often the definition includes at least cadmium, lead, mercury and the radioactive metals. Metalloids (arsenic, polonium) may be included in the definition. Radioactive metals have both radiological toxicity and chemical toxicity. Metals in an oxidation state abnormal to the body may also become toxic: chromium(III) is an essential trace element, but chromium(VI) is a carcinogen.

Toxicity is a function of solubility. Insoluble compounds as well as the metallic forms often exhibit negligible toxicity. The toxicity of any metal depends on its ligands. In some cases, organometallic forms, such as dimethyl mercury and tetraethyl lead, can be extremely toxic. In other cases, organometallic derivatives are less toxic such as the cobaltocenium cation.

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Note: In coordination chemistry, a ligand is an ion or moleculethat binds to a central metal atom to form a coordination complex. The bonding between metal and ligand generally involves formal donation of one or more of the ligand's electron pairs. The nature of metal-ligand bonding can range from covalent to ionic. Furthermore, the metal-ligand bond order can range from one to three.

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Patients should understand that decontamination for toxic metals is different from organic toxins: because toxic metals are elements, they cannot be destroyed. Toxic metals may be made insoluble or collected, possibly by the aid of chelating agents.

Toxic metals can bioaccumulate in the body and in the food chain. Therefore, a common characteristic of toxic metals is the chronic nature of their toxicity. This is particularly notable with radioactive heavy metals such as thorium, which imitates calcium to the point of being incorporated into human bone, although similar health implications are found in lead or mercury poisoning. The exceptions to this are barium and aluminium, which can be removed efficiently by the kidneys.

Living organisms require varying amounts of "heavy metals." Iron, cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc are required by humans. Excessive levels can be damaging to the organism. Other heavy metals such as mercury, plutonium, and lead are toxic metals that have no known vital or beneficial effect on organisms, and their accumulation over time in the bodies of animals can cause serious illness. Certain elements that are normally toxic are, for certain organisms or under certain conditions, beneficial. Examples include vanadium, tungsten, and even cadmium.

The following is from:

http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/metalsheavy/index.html

Mercury toxicity:

Many of my patients present to my office with concerns about mercury toxicity. Often they were tested by another healthcare provider in the Charlotte NC area and told they have high mercury levels in their body. They are concerned about the mercury in their amalgam fillings. They are looking for a dentist to remove their amalgam fillings . 

Mercury poisoning (also known as hydrargyria or mercurialism) is a disease caused by exposure to mercury or its compounds. Mercury (chemical symbol Hg) is a heavy metal occurring in several forms, all of which can produce toxic effects in high enough doses. Its zero oxidation state Hg0 exists as vapor or as liquid metal, its mercurous state Hg+ exists as inorganic salts, and its mercuric state Hg2+ may form either inorganic salts or organomercury compounds; the three groups vary in effects. 

Mercury is such a highly reactive toxic agent that it is difficult to identify its specific mechanism of damage, and much remains unknown about the mechanism. 

Elemental mercury: 

Quicksilver (liquid metallic mercury) is poorly absorbed by ingestion and skin contact. 

Inorganic mercury compounds:

Mercury(II) salts are usually more toxic than their mercury(I) counterparts because their solubility in water is greater; thus, they are more readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. Mercuric cyanide (also known as Mercury (II) cyanide), Hg(CN)2, is a particularly toxic mercury compound. If ingested, both life-threatening mercury and cyanide poisoning can occur. Hg(CN)2 can enter the body via inhalation, ingestion, or passage through the skin. Inhalation of mercuric cyanide irritates the throat and air passages. 

Organic mercury compounds:

Compounds of mercury tend to be much more toxic than the element itself, and organic compounds of mercury are often extremely toxic. The most dangerous mercury compound, dimethylmercury, is so toxic that even a few microliters spilled on the skin, or even a latex glove, can cause death. Methylmercury is the major source of organic mercury for all individuals.[1] It works its way up the food chain through bioaccumulation in the environment, reaching high concentrations among populations of some species. Larger species of fish, such as tuna or swordfish, are usually of greater concern than smaller species. 

dental metal 

Ethylmercury is a breakdown product of the antibacteriological agent ethylmercurithiosalicylate, which has been used as a topical antiseptic and a vaccine preservative (further discussed under Thiomersal below). Its characteristics have not been studied as extensively as those of methylmercury. It is cleared from the blood much more rapidly, with a half-life of 7 to 10 days, and it is metabolized much more quickly than methylmercury.

Thiomersal:

The mercury-based preservative thiomersal (commonly called thimerosal in the U.S.) has been added to vaccines since the 1930s to prevent their deterioration. Its use in vaccines has been hypothesized as a cause of autistic behaviors. This hypothesis is controversial, as much evidence suggests that the cause of autism is about 90% genetic. The hypothesis has not been confirmed by reliable studies. However, organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics have recommended that the use of thiomersal be reduced as a precautionary measure. With the exception of some flu vaccines, it is no longer used as a preservative in routinely recommended childhood vaccines in the United States; it is still in limited use as a preservative in multi-dose flu and tetanus vaccines and a few other non-childhood vaccines. 

Dental amalgam:

Dental amalgam, an alloy of about 50 percent elemental mercury, was first introduced in France in the early 19th century. Although this amalgam is a source of low-level exposure to mercury, no scientific evidence links it as a cause of clinically significant toxic effects, except for the rare local hypersensitivity reaction. In the United States, the National Institutes of Health has stated that amalgam fillings pose no personal health risk, and that replacement by non-amalgam fillings is not indicated. In Scandinavia, amalgam fillings are banned due to concerns about environmental pollution with mercury.

In 2002, Maths Berlin, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Medicine and chair of the 1991 World Health Organization Task Group on Environmental Health Criteria for Inorganic Mercury, published an overview and assessment of the scientific literature published between November 1997 and 2002 as part of a special investigation for the Swedish Government on amalgam related health issues. The report concluded: "With reference to the fact that mercury is a multipotent toxin with effects on several levels of the biochemical dynamics of the cell, amalgam must be considered to be an unsuitable material for dental restoration." [Dentist Charlotte NC North Carolina Dentists]

Lead toxicity:

Exposure occurs through inhalation, ingestion or occasionally skin contact. Lead may be taken in through direct contact with mouth, nose, and eyes (mucous membranes), and through breaks in the skin. Tetraethyllead, which was a gasoline additive and is still used in fuels such as aviation fuel, passes through the skin; however inorganic lead found in paint, food, and most lead-containing consumer products is only minimally absorbed through the skin. The main sources of absorption of inorganic lead are from ingestion and inhalation. In adults, about 35–40% of inhaled lead dust is deposited in the lungs, and about 95% of that goes into the bloodstream. Of ingested inorganic lead, about 15% is absorbed, but this percentage is higher in children, pregnant women, and people with deficiencies of calcium, zinc, or iron.[10] Children and infants may absorb about 50% of ingested lead, but little is known about absorption rates in children. 

The main body compartments that store lead are the blood, soft tissues, and bone; the half-life of lead in these tissues is measured in weeks for blood, months for soft tissues, and years for bone. Lead in the bones, teeth, hair, and nails is bound tightly and not available to other tissues, and is generally thought not to be harmful. In adults, 94% of absorbed lead is deposited in the bones and teeth, but children only store 70% in this manner, a fact which may partially account for the more serious health effects on children. The estimated half-life of lead in bone is 20 to 30 years, and bone can introduce lead into the bloodstream long after the initial exposure is gone. The half-life of lead in the blood in men is about 40 days, but it may be longer in children and pregnant women, whose bones are undergoing remodeling, which allows the lead to be continuously re-introduced into the bloodstream. Also, if lead exposure takes place over years, clearance is much slower, partly due to the re-release of lead from bone. Many other tissues store lead, but those with the highest concentrations (other than blood, bone, and teeth) are the brain, spleen, kidneys, liver, and lungs. It is removed from the body very slowly, mainly through urine. Smaller amounts of lead are also eliminated through the feces, and very small amounts in hair, nails, and sweat. 

Lead has no known physiologically relevant role in the body, and its harmful effects are myriad. Lead and other heavy metals create reactive radicals which damage cell structures including DNA and cell membranes. Lead also interferes with DNA transcription, enzymes that help in the synthesis of vitamin D, and enzymes that maintain the integrity of the cell membrane. Anemia may result when the cell membranes of red blood cells become more fragile as the result of damage to their membranes. Lead interferes with metabolism of bones and teeth and alters the permeability of blood vessels and collagen synthesis. Lead may also be harmful to the developing immune system, causing production of excessive inflammatory proteins; this mechanism may mean that lead exposure is a risk factor for asthma in children. Lead exposure has also been associated with a decrease in activity of immune cells such as polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Lead also interferes with the normal metabolism of calcium in cells and causes it to build up within them. 

The primary cause of lead's toxicity is its interference with a variety of enzymes because it binds to sulfhydryl groups found on many enzymes. Part of lead's toxicity results from its ability to mimic other metals that take part in biological processes, which act as cofactors in many enzymatic reactions, displacing them at the enzymes on which they act. Lead is able to bind to and interact with many of the same enzymes as these metals but, due to its differing chemistry, does not properly function as a cofactor, thus interfering with the enzyme's ability to catalyze its normal reaction or reactions. Among the essential metals with which lead interacts are calcium, iron, and zinc.         Other dental metal.

Arsenic Toxicity:

Arsenic interferes with cellular longevity by allosteric inhibition of an essential metabolic enzyme pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) complex, which catalyzes the oxidation of pyruvate to acetyl-CoA by NAD+. With the enzyme inhibited, the energy system of the cell is disrupted resulting in a cellular apoptosis episode. Biochemically, arsenic prevents use of thiamine resulting in a clinical picture resembling thiamine deficiency.

Beryllium toxicity:

Beryllium is harmful if inhaled and the effects depend on the duration, intensity, and frequency of exposure. If beryllium concentrations in air are high enough (greater than 100 µg/m3), an acute condition can result, called acute beryllium disease, which resembles pneumonia. Swallowing beryllium has not been reported to cause effects in humans because very little beryllium is absorbed from the stomach and intestines.

Cadmium toxicity:

Cadmium is an extremely toxic metal commonly found in industrial workplaces. Due to its low permissible exposure limit, over exposures may occur even in situations where trace quantities of cadmium are found.