Have you looked in the mirror and noticed little gaps between your gums and teeth? It creates a small space that looks like a triangle. In dentistry, these are called “black triangles” because of the shape and how the space makes it look like the area is black.
Dental black triangles are not uncommon. In fact, one journal reports that nearly 67% of people over the age of 20 have them.
There is no one singular cause of black triangles, and it could possibly be several issues combined. If you go to your dentist for regular check-ups, they will be able to help you narrow down the potential causes and help you treat and fix the issue.
What Are Common Causes of Black Triangles?
Gum disease is a common cause of dental black triangles. It is an infection of the gums that can lead to tooth decay or bone loss. One of the symptoms of gum disease is receding gums, which creates extra space between your teeth and gums. This extra space creates the appearance of black triangles.
As you age, your gums may naturally begin to recede, or it may be a result of a bone condition called osteoporosis. If you experience bone loss, your gums will change shape accordingly, which may cause black triangles in your smile.
There are certain dental hygiene habits that can cause black triangles. Even if you brush and floss as you should, you could still contribute to receding gums.
As you brush, you should be using small, gentle circles in order to protect your gums. If you brush too harshly, you could irritate and damage your gums, causing them to recede. Another issue may be your flossing technique or tool.
Much like brushing, if you floss too hard, you can hurt your gums. Using flossing wands that are too large for the space between your teeth can contribute to receding gums as well. Be sure to use floss and flossing tools that are the right size for your teeth.
If you recently received orthodontic treatment, such as straightening your teeth, you might have developed black triangles as a result. As your teeth shift, your gums may not have properly adjusted to the new space.
What Are the Treatment Options?
Depending on the root cause of your receding gums, you may be a candidate for several treatment options. If you have gum disease, your dentist may recommend periodontal therapy in order to correct your receding gums and get your mouth healthy again.
Dental bonding is a common way to fix dental black triangles. Bonding is a cosmetic procedure that uses resin to fill the gaps between your gums and teeth. Your dentist will generally use a tooth-colored composite resin to alter the shape of your teeth in order to fill the gaps and give you a natural smile and gum line.
While orthodontic treatment may have caused black triangles to form in the first place, there are other treatment options that can correct this issue. If the gum recession is severe enough, you may need surgery to fix it. Your dentist may offer pinhole gum surgery, which is a minimally invasive procedure to alter your gum line.