What is that spot on my gums?

girl with strong white teeth looking at camera and smiling It can really make you worry when you first notice it – that bluish, black, or grey spot on your gums that looks very unnatural. It doesn’t look too good, but is it something you should be concerned with? Should you rush to ask your dentist about it or can it wait until your next cleaning appointment? Read on for some information on what that spot might be and what you should do about it!

Not to worry – that spot is probably an amalgam tattoo

Odds are that the spot on your gums is what’s known as an “amalgam tattoo,” and the odds are also good that the spot is harmless and absolutely nothing to worry about.

If you are over a certain age, you probably remember getting a metal amalgam filling for a cavity. These types of fillings are made of materials such as silver, mercury, copper, and tin, and they aren’t used as much anymore. These fillings, over time, can sink down into the gums, or they can even find their way to the cheeks, tongue, or lips. This may happen when your dentist is drilling out some decay in your tooth and pieces of the amalgam filling get pushed down into the gums.

Amalgam tattoos are harmless, and you don’t have to do anything about them. However, you should be aware that amalgam tattoos and mucosal melanoma look very similar.

Mucosal melanoma, although rare, is a deadly form of cancer. It can occur in long-time tobacco users and can appear in the palate of the mouth or the inner part of the sinus cavity. One sign to watch out for that can distinguish your spot from an amalgam tattoo is that you notice swelling and pain in the mouth, such that even dental appliances such as dentures don’t fit as well as they used to. If you are concerned that you might have a mucosal melanoma, you should see your dentist right away.

Is it time for your annual cleaning and check-up? Or are you concerned that something in your mouth just doesn’t look or feel right? Call Pound Ridge Cosmetic Dentistry today, at 914-468-4759, for an appointment!

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