Is a Darkened Gum Behind a Crowned Molar Anything to Be Concerned About? (photo)

I recently had a crown replaced on my most rear molar, here to fore, a healthy tooth. The tooth seems to be fine with no sensitivity, etc., but I noticed that the adjacent gum, the little mound where the old wisdom was, has darkened, as if bruised. It is not beneath the crown nor down either side of the gum of the crowned tooth, just the wisdom tooth mound. Crown replaced in January and noticed darkening within 2 weeks of that.

Doctor Answers 4

Darkened gum appears to be an amalgam tattoo

As others have mentioned, it does look like a tattoo. Sometimes you can see it on an X-ray. You see the silver particles floating in the soft tissue. This would be a definitive diagnosis if you can see it. Its very possible that it was there for a long time but you just noticed it because you were looking at your new crown. Yes it is possible that it formed during the crown preparation if there was silver underneath, but I doubt it. Usually this happens when a silver filling is removed and the gum was nicked. The silver particles get embeded into the gum forming the tattoo. Can also happen if you extracting a tooth with a silver filling. the particles can fall into the wound, specially if the tooth was sectioned to get it out. Maybe happened during wisdom tooth removal.

Its rare but it could be other things like benign tumor of blood vessels. You can test this by pressing the area for a few seconds. If the color goes away then you would suspect blood vessels. If you notice changes or are worried, then you should get a biopsy.

Hope this helps

Dr. T

Miami Beach Dentist

Dark Area of Gums..anything to be concerned about?

I agree with the other dentists, very likely it is an amalgam tattoo where the metal (mercury?) leaked out of the old filling into the gum area.  This most likely occurred when the original filling was placed. 

If this bothers you, the tissue can be removed and replaced with a graft of tissue from another area of your mouth.  If you are concerned that it might be melanoma, it can be biopsied.  The fact that you just noticed it does not mean that it just appeared, just more likely that after having the crown that you finally took notice of that area in your mouth.


Norman Huefner, DDS
Laguna Niguel Dentist

Dark area behind new crown - amalgam tattoo

Great photos, thanks for sending it with the questions.  Makes my life a little easier.  What you have appears to be an "amalgam tattoo".  More than likely you had a very large silver filling in your tooth which required a crown.  The silver may have leaked out and stained the gum tissue.  Totally benign, absolutely nothing to worry about. 

Leonard Tau, DMD
Philadelphia Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Darkened gum behind a new crown

From your photo, it appears to be an "amalgam tatoo". You probably had a very large old silver-mercury filling in either the wisdom tooth or the tooth that now has a crown. The mercury actually leached out of the old filling and "stained" your gum tissue. As long as the old dark silver filling was in place, you didn't notice the "tatoo". However, now that the wisdom tooth is gone and a new bright crown is in place, you began noticing the "tatoo". It should be monitored by your dentist to make sure it does not change in shape, size, texture or color. Not to worry about it as long as it stays stable.

Jay Neuhaus, DDS
New York Dentist

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