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Have you ever noticed tiny little black triangles between your teeth? Those small voids usually sit between the teeth and above the gums. Studies show that about 67% of the population over 20 years of age have these. They’re just spaces, so no big deal, right? Well, not necessarily. They could be what’s called gingival embrasures, which could be a sign of advancing gum disease. Imagine the black triangles as the Bermuda triangle, where food gets lost, and gum disease thrives.

Fergus Orthodontics recognizes these signs of potential gum disease and whether they are a concern now or will be in the future. How do you know if your black triangles mean something more? Let’s explore exactly what the black triangles are, what they could mean and how you can take care of them. 

What Is a Black Triangle?

Black triangles, also called gingival embrasures, are spaces that can occur because of the shape of the teeth or because the gums lack tissue to fill in the spaces correctly. This can be simply caused by genetics, gums receding due to age, or signs of gum disease. This is why you tend to see black triangles in adults more than in children. 

Fergus black triangle 1200x630 - Black Triangles in Teeth: What They Say About Your Dental Health

These three main factors aren’t the only cause of black triangles. Bad habits can contribute as well. If you bite or pick your nails with your teeth, floss too hard, or use toothpicks excessively, you can cause the gums to recede and create black triangles. If you’re receiving orthodontic treatment, there is a chance you will see black triangles as your teeth realign, but orthodontics tends to reveal what’s already there. It doesn’t cause black triangles. 

The causes of black triangles include:

  • Gum disease
  • Genetics
  • Receding gums due to aging
  • Space between teeth
  • Misshapen crowns or tooth restoration
  • Excessive flossing or gum trauma
  • Diverging roots after braces or Invisalign treatment
  • Nail-biting or picking
  • Excessive toothpick use

Some of these may be difficult to control, such as genetics and diverging tooth roots. Others, such as gum disease, can be controlled and prevented. One of the best ways to do this is to recognize what can cause gum disease or the deterioration of your gums. Causes include:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Crooked teeth that make it hard to keep them clean
  • Genetics
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Certain medications
  • Tobacco use

Why Are Black Triangles Bad?

So what’s so bad about having little spaces between your teeth? They certainly seem innocuous enough. The problem is what those spaces can do. They can hold food particles close to your teeth and over your gums. That can cause tooth decay and gum disease because the plaque eats away at the enamel of your teeth, and the food particles get between the gums and the teeth and cause inflammation. Eventually, this could lead to tooth loss. 

Black triangles are some of the most obvious indicators of impending gum disease. That’s why if you see black triangles, you should discuss it with your dentist as soon as possible to address the problem. 

Do Braces Cause Black Triangles? 

Often, people start to see black triangles show up more during or after treatment with braces or Invisalign. They mistakenly believe orthodontic treatment causes black triangles.

The triangles are visible because there isn’t enough gum tissue to fill in the space. Moving the teeth with braces or Invisalign can make the lack of gum tissue more obvious, but it does not cause your gums to recede. As a patient of Fergus Orthodontics, you never have to fear that our treatment will cause black triangles between your teeth. If our treatment does reveal issues with your gums, we have solutions we can recommend to take care of your gums and stave off gum disease.

What Can Fix Black Triangles?

You’ve spotted black triangles between your teeth. What can be done to fix them? There are several options available, depending on your situation. Your dentist and orthodontist can work with you to determine which option is best. 

In cases that don’t include gum disease, orthodontics may help. You may have spaces created by teeth that aren’t completely straight. We can straighten those teeth with braces or Invisalign and help eliminate the spaces. Other methods can help. 

The solutions include: 

  • For misshapen teeth or crowns, a technique called Interproximal Reduction can use diamond-coated strips to file down the enamel of your teeth and reshape them so orthodontics can move them flush against each other and eliminate the black triangle. 
  • Tissue engineering involves injecting regenerative cells into your gums to help regrow gum tissue.
  • Tissue volumizing uses hyaluronic acid to add volume to the gums and reduce black triangles. 
  • Tooth reshaping can eliminate black triangles by adding crowns, veneers, bonding, or recontouring. 
  • Pink restoration uses pink porcelain other materials to hide or reduce black triangles. 
  • Gingival veneers can hide black triangles with a removable veneer, but it’s only temporary and requires you to practice excellent oral hygiene for it to continue to be effective. 

Solutions for Your Black Triangles

Fergus Orthodontics can help alleviate your black triangles using orthodontics and by working with your dentist to figure out the best solution for you. 

Patients in the Jonesboro, AR, area can contact Fergus Orthodontics. We can discuss any questions, concerns, or treatment options for your black triangles and any other issues you may have. We will work with you on finding the best path forward to your perfect, healthy smile!