Amalgam Tattoos

Posted on : 09-07-2014 | By : Haddon Suttner | In : Dental Implants, Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry

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An amalgam tattoo is an area of discoloration in the mouth caused by the migration of particles of dental amalgam which become embedded under the oral membranes, causing a patch of gray, black, or blue to appear. Amalgam tattoos are very common in people who have fillings and crowns, and they are not a cause for concern, unless people are bothered by their appearance. However, some oral cancers can look like amalgam tattoos in their early stages, so it is important to confirm that a dark patch is indeed an amalgam tattoo, and not something more sinister.

Amalgam Tattoos

Symptoms

Many people with these marks are unaware that they have them.Amalgam tattoos have no symptoms.Amalgam tattoo may be identified by a dentist during a routine checkup, or spotted by a sharp-eyed friend or doctor.When a dark patch does appear in someone’s mouth, a dentist will usually review the patient’s dental history and take x-rays to confirm that the spot is an amalgam tattoo. Flecks of metal in the x-ray and a history of filled teeth or crowns usually verify the diagnosis, although it is also possible to take a biopsy for study.

Diagnosis

To diagnose an amalgam tattoo, your dentist will look at the spot and check on your dental history. This includes whether you have amalgam fillings or had them in the past. A dental X-ray can sometimes show the metal particles, if they are large enough.

Some blue or gray spots may show signs of being an early cancer rather than an amalgam tattoo. In these cases, your dentist may refer you for a biopsy. In a biopsy, a small piece of tissue is removed and examined in a laboratory. Biopsies are common if the area has grown larger or changed color over time — for example, from gray to black.

Prevention

Your dentist can reduce the chances that an amalgam tattoo will form. The usual way to do this is to use a rubber dam in your mouth during dental procedures. A dam is a flat piece of latex that isolates specific teeth from the rest of your mouth.

Treatment

If you or your dentist finds a small gray or blue area in your mouth, the dentist will take an X-ray and review it to look for metal particles. The area should be measured. Then the dentist will watch it over time.

If the area gets larger or changes color, a biopsy should be done. If the biopsy shows precancerous or cancerous cells, you’ll need another biopsy to remove the entire area.

If the area turns out to be an amalgam tattoo, further treatment is not necessary. However, you may want to have it removed if it is on the edge of your lip or somewhere else that makes you feel self-conscious.

The procedure uses Q-switched ruby lasers to shatter the metal particles and remove the tattoo. Cells in your body will then be able to carry them away, or they may come out through the skin. Talk to your dentist about having the tattoo surgically removed for cosmetic reasons.

You may call Dr. Haddon Suttner for any type of dental problem on 02 9365 6197  or visit our the website Dentist Bondi.

Comments (1)

thanks for information.

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