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 Mercury Free Dentist
Charlotte NC Dentist Charlotte

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Amalgam removal

Mercury Free Dentist:

Dental materials are becoming more of a concern especially to health conscious Charlotte NC area patients. The material of most concern for my patients is dental amalgam which contains mercury (Hg).We have not used amalgam fillings for 20 years. I am a mercury free dentist. Fillings, crowns and bridges come in a variety of materials and some are less reactive with the body than others. Patients are also concerned about root canal material, implant material, dental cement and dental adhesive, whitening solution, denture material and even the various materials and chemicals used at cleaning appointments. In our practice we have made special efforts to ensure our materials are as biocompatible as possible. Like any conscientious dentist we want to our materials to react minimally with our patients bodies. All dentists should be knowledgeable about dental materials. 

Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is also known as quicksilver or hydrargyrum. A heavy, silvery d-block element, mercury is the only metal that is liquid at standard conditions for temperature and pressure; the only other element that is liquid under these conditions is bromine, and metals such as caesium, francium, gallium, and rubidium melt just above room temperature. With a freezing point of −38.83 °C and boiling point of 356.73 °C, mercury has one of the narrowest ranges of its liquid state of any metal. 

Mercury occurs in deposits throughout the world mostly as cinnabar (mercuric sulfide). The red pigment vermilion is mostly obtained by reduction from cinnabar. Cinnabar is highly toxic by ingestion or inhalation of the dust. Mercury poisoning can also result from exposure to water-soluble forms of Hg (such as mercuric chloride or methylmercury), inhalation of hg vapor, or eating seafood contaminated with mercury.

Mercury is used in thermometers, barometers, manometers, sphygmomanometers, float valves, some electrical switches, and other scientific apparatus, though concerns about the element's toxicity have led to Hg thermometers and sphygmomanometers being largely phased out in clinical environments in favor of alcohol-filled, galinstan-filled, digital, or thermistor-based instruments. It remains in use in scientific research applications and in amalgam material for dental restoration. It is used in lighting: electricity passed through Hg vapor in a phosphor tube produces short-wave ultraviolet light which then causes the phosphor to fluoresce, making visible light. 

Mercury Free Dentist: 

Mercury is a heavy, silvery-white metal. As compared to other metals, it is a poor conductor of heat, but a fair conductor of electricity. Mercury has an exceptionally low melting temperature for a d-block metal. A complete explanation of this fact requires a deep excursion into quantum physics, but it can be summarized as follows: Mercury has a unique electronic configuration where electrons fill up all the available 1s, 2s, 2p, 3s, 3p, 3d, 4s, 4p, 4d, 4f, 5s, 5p, 5d and 6s subshells. As such configuration strongly resists removal of an electron, mercury behaves similarly to noble gas elements, which form weak bonds and thus easily melting solids. The stability of the 6s shell is due to the presence of a filled 4f shell. An f shell poorly screens the nuclear charge that increases the attractive Coulomb interaction of the 6s shell and the nucleus (see lanthanide contraction). The absence of a filled inner f shell is the reason for the somewhat higher melting temperature of cadmium and zinc, although both these metals still melt easily and, in addition, have unusually low boiling points. Metals such as gold have atoms with one less 6s electron than mercury. Those electrons are more easily removed and are shared between the gold atoms forming relatively strong metallic bonds. At its freezing point (−38.86 °C), the density of mercury is 13.534 g/cm3. 

Mercury does not react with most acids, such as dilute sulfuric acid, although oxidizing acids such as concentrated sulfuric acid and nitric acid or aqua regia dissolve it to give sulfate[disambiguation needed ], nitrate[disambiguation needed ], and chloride[disambiguation needed ] salts. Like silver, Hg reacts with atmospheric hydrogen sulfide. Mercury even reacts with solid sulfur flakes, which are used in mercury spill kits to absorb mercury vapors (spill kits also use activated carbon and powdered zinc). 

Mercury dissolves to form amalgams with gold, zinc and many other metals. Because iron is an exception, iron flasks have been traditionally used to trade Mercury. Other metals that do not form amalgams with Hg include tantalum, tungsten and platinum. Sodium amalgam is a common reducing agent in organic synthesis. 

Mercury readily combines with aluminium to form a mercury-aluminium amalgam when the two pure metals come into contact. Since the amalgam reacts with air to give aluminium oxide, small amounts of hg corrode aluminium. For this reason, Hg is not allowed aboard an aircraft under most circumstances because of the risk of it forming an amalgam with exposed aluminium parts in the aircraft. 

There are seven stable isotopes of mercury with 202mercury being the most abundant (29.86%). The longest-lived radioisotopes are 194Hg with a half-life of 444 years, and 203mercury with a half-life of 46.612 days. Most of the remaining radioisotopes have half-lives that are less than a day. 199Hg and 201mercury are the most often studied NMR-active nuclei, having spins of 1⁄2 and 3⁄2 respectively. 

Mercury exists in two main oxidation states, I and II. Higher oxidation states are unimportant, but have been detected, e.g., mercury(IV) fluoride (HgF4) but only under extraordinary conditions. 

Different from its lighter neighbors, cadmium and zinc, mercury forms simple stable compounds with metal-metal bonds. The Hg(I) compounds are diamagnetic and feature the dimeric cation, Hg2+2. Stable derivatives include the chloride and nitrate. Treatment of Hg(I) compounds complexation with strong ligands such as sulfide, cyanide, etc. induces disproportionation to Hg2+ and elemental Hg.[30] Hg(I) chloride, a colorless solid also known as calomel, is really the compound with the formula Hg2Cl2, with the connectivity Cl-Hg-Hg-Cl. It is a standard in electrochemistry. It reacts with chlorine to give mercuric chloride, which resists further oxidation.

Indicative of its tendency to bond to itself, mercury forms mercury polycations, which consist of linear chains of mercury centers, capped with a positive charge. One example is Hg32+(AsF6–)2. 

More on mercury:

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.

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.


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 OSHA

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.


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]