woman suffering from tooth sensitivity At the very least it can be a surprise when you see it – at the worst it can cause you to panic just a bit. One day you are flossing or brushing, and you happen to notice an ugly black spot on your gums. But is this spot something you should be concerned about? Should you rush to your dentist or can it wait until your next cleaning appointment?

Should you be worried?

The answer is, most likely, “no.” That spot on your gums is most likely what is known as an “amalgam tattoo,” and they are fairly common. They might be black, grey, or a bluish color. They are found in patients who had metal amalgam fillings in the past – cavity fillings made up of a combination of metals, such as tin, mercury, silver, and copper (nowadays, composite materials and ceramics are used for fillings). These fillings may have been placed a long time ago; over time they can sink down into the gums or even the lips or cheeks. They can be pushed out of the tooth and into tissue when your dentist removes this amalgam filling or when tooth decay is being removed.

Although the odds are pretty good that your spot is an amalgam tattoo, you should also know that these can look very similar to mucosal melanomas, which are rare but deadly. Mucosal melanomas are typically found in people who have used tobacco for many years, on the palate or the inner part of the sinus cavity. Besides the spot in your mouth, other signs of a mucosal melanoma are that your mouth feels painful and swollen and your dentures don’t fit as well as they used to. If you think you might have a mucosal melanoma, you should see your dentist or doctor right away.

If you notice a spot on your gums, it’s probably nothing to worry about – but do mention it to your dentist if you are concerned. Dr. Bentz and the staff at the Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center can help you to keep your teeth and gums healthy and problem-free. Call (610) 272-6949 for an appointment today!

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