What are the black triangles between your teeth?
Also known as open gingival embrasures, black triangles between the teeth appear when the gum tissue is not filling up the space between the teeth. Certain black triangles between the teeth can be normal and do not require any intervention. However, some are caused by dental problems for which you should seek treatment.
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What is the problem with black triangles?
The issue can seem trivial to someone who has never experienced or encountered another person affected by black triangles between the teeth. But the problem is real, with considerable implications regarding aesthetics, daily function and, therefore, general health and wellness.
Black triangles are dreaded first because they are not aesthetically pleasing. People affected by the issue often feel self-conscious and can even experience social anxiety.
From a functional point of view, in severe cases, they can make it difficult to speak clearly and may even make it hard for someone to eat certain foods. As someone talks, the gaps can make whistling sounds and distort some syllables. When eating or drinking, saliva and some food or drink can dribble down the lips, and food very easily gets stuck between the teeth.
Some of the health issues which can cause black triangles between teeth include gingivitis and periodontitis. If these are not treated early, they can lead to loss of tooth-supporting structures, and eventually teeth themselves, and are also associated with other health issues, such as diabetes.
Causes of black triangles between teeth
There are many possible explanations for why you could spot black triangles between your teeth. Some of the most common ones are:
Your gum can recede or thin out because of gum disease. As the gum tissue thins out, what is left behind are the characteristic empty black triangles.
Bone loss can exacerbate the problem of gum recession. As the mass of bone making up your jaw recedes, the gum tissue recedes, leading to the appearance of black triangles.
Orthodontic treatments like dental braces can shift your teeth such that empty spaces appear between them.
Triangular tooth shape
Different people have differently shaped teeth. If your teeth are more triangular or wedge-shaped than rectangular, spaces will inevitably appear in between.
People with diabetes are much more likely to experience dental issues such as cavities, gingivitis and periodontitis and therefore have an increased chance of having black triangles between the teeth.
Thin biotype gum tissue
Some people have much thinner and more fragile gum tissue. Such people are likely to experience receding gums, especially if they have had certain treatments performed, such as periodontal surgery or orthodontics.
As we age, the bones and gum tissue recede. It is only natural for people of advanced age to experience certain dental issues more intensively, including the appearance of black triangles.
Poor oral hygiene
Without regular brushing, one becomes prone to gingivitis (gum inflammation) and recession, making it likelier for black triangles to appear. The opposite can also be true. If you brush your teeth too aggressively, you may also weaken fragile gum tissue.
Getting rid of the gaps
There are several treatment options available for remedying black triangles between the teeth. Which one is most suitable depends mainly on the severity of the problem.
Tissue grafting is a surgical procedure where tissue is harvested from the roof of your mouth and grafted over the receding gum.
For some people, the most practical solution to mask black triangles is a form of composite resin. The resin can be made to mimic gum tissue or tooth enamel for aesthetics.
Dental crowns help remedy black triangles and other dental issues such as broken teeth. This is because the crown covers the entire tooth surface, not just the gaps.
Braces are not the go-to solution for correcting black triangles. However, if the gaps appeared in the first place because of imperfect dental treatment procedures, as in orthodontics, braces can be used to remove the gaps.
Although one may read about gingival or gum veneers, their effectiveness and safety are still a strongly debated topic.
Invisalign dental aligners can be used to close up the gap between teeth in certain situations.
Should you have your black triangles corrected?
The gaps are often not pleasant for your appearance. But even more importantly, they trap food, making it harder to clean your teeth and even more likely to develop cavities or gum disease. However, if they do not bother you aesthetically and you maintain impeccable oral hygiene, you do not necessarily need to have them corrected.
Can black triangles be prevented?
As discussed previously, black triangles can be prevented with good oral hygiene. Other practices and precautions that can help you in avoiding black triangles include:
- A healthy diet with plenty of minerals such as calcium and phosphorus, as well as essential vitamins
- Prompt and effective treatment of teeth and gum issues
- Regular dentist consultations and check-ups
Do black triangles hurt?
In most cases, black triangles don’t hurt. This is because black triangles are often there due to the natural alignment of teeth. Even where underlying issues and factors cause black triangles, they usually take a while to appear and thus do not cause pain.
Black triangles are dark gaps in between your teeth that can be caused by several factors. With the correct diagnosis, it is possible to eliminate black triangles.
A dental surgeon or orthodontist usually provides the patient with several plausible treatment options before recommending a particular course of action. It is often essential to seek the cause of black triangles and correct it even where they don’t cause actual pain, as the issue could develop into a more serious and expensive dental problem.
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