Have you ever seen someone with black triangles in their smile? Even though you may not recall it, you likely have. These black triangles appear in about one-third of American’s mouths in the spaces between the teeth and. The shadow from the inside of the mouth creates the illusion of black triangles when in fact, it’s just empty space where healthy, pink gums should be.
In the dental community, these spaces are often called open gingival embrasures or deficient interdental papilla. They can be caused by gum recession, bone loss, shifting teeth and even genetics says Dr. Ken Collins of Collins Dentistry and Aesthetics in Spokane, Washington.
“Sometimes it can just be the natural way the teeth are shaped,” Collins said. “Patients with narrow roots and wide crowns often see spaces between the gums and teeth. Some patients are also simply more prone to gum recession due to the variations in the thickness of the gums.”
An article published in the British Journal of Applied Science and Technology cites research has shown about one-third of adults have these black triangle-shaped open spaces between their teeth near the roots.
“Spaces between the gums can harbor bacteria and food particles that can lead to infection and decay,” Collins said. “It can also be frustrating for patients from an aesthetic point of view who take great care of their teeth or have taken steps to enhance their smiles in other ways, but still see these dark gaps between them.”
The dreaded black triangle spaces between teeth have long been one of the more difficult things to correct in dentistry. Although some cases see improvement from orthodontic practices, sometimes the teeth are shaped so they can’t be aligned closer without crowding.
One method that has been effective in correcting the space between teeth near the gum line is with the use of composite. This tooth colored mixture is applied to the surface of the tooth and used to help fill in the space that leaves the illusion of these black triangles.
Porcelain veneers are another popular way to correct not only the black triangles but the overall shape of the teeth. Made popular by celebrities, these very thin covers can be used on just a few teeth or the entire smile. They’re used to correct cracks, discoloration, misshapenness and even moderate crookedness and gaps.
A surprising method to plump up the gums in these recessed areas is with dermal fillers. Some dentists that provide Botox and other dermal filler injections have found success in using products to enhance the thickness of the gums and fill the spaces. Although it’s not a permanent solution as results fade, it’s a less invasive solution to a problem that often requires extensive work.
The good news is there are a variety of treatment options if you find yourself unhappy with dark, triangle-shaped spaces between your teeth and gums. Talk to your dentist or orthodontist to find out which option is best for you.
Or office in Spokane is located at:
3151 E. 28th Ave.
Spokane, WA 99223
Office phone # 509-368-7788