It can be a little shocking and probably a bit worrying – one day you are flossing and see an ugly black spot on your gums that you didn’t notice before. Is this something you should make an appointment with your dentist about? Read on for some information about what this spot probably is and if you should be concerned about it.
Chances are that you have nothing to worry about if you notice a blue, black, or grey spot on your gums – it is most likely an amalgam tattoo. These “tattoos” are left over from the era of metal amalgam fillings, which were used before composite materials and ceramics were used for fillings. Amalgam fillings were made up of materials such as copper, silver, tin, and mercury.
If you got an amalgam filling when you were a kid, you are at risk for that filling sinking down into the gums or even making its way into your cheeks, lips, or tongue. Parts of the filling may get pushed out of the tooth when an amalgam filling is being removed or when your dentist is drilling out tooth decay.
Should I see my dentist about my amalgam tattoo?
You don’t have to run to your dentist if you think you have an amalgam tattoo on your gums – they are harmless. However, you should be aware that amalgam tattoos look very similar to mucosal melanomas.
These melanomas are very rare but very deadly. They appear on the inner part of the sinus cavity or on the palate, typically in people who have used tobacco for a long time. Patients with mucosal melanomas notice that dentures don’t fit as well as they used to and that their mouth feels painful and swollen. If you think you might have a mucosal melanoma, you should see your dentist or doctor right away.
Whether you see something on your teeth or gums that concerns you or you just need a good cleaning, Arlington Dental Aesthetics in Arlington can help. Call the Arlington office at (703) 527-1020!