Black Triangle Teeth: How to Close the Gap

by | Feb 5, 2021 | Oral Health

When you think about the perfect smile, you probably think about straight, bright white teeth. However, dental imperfections such as black triangle teeth are a common aesthetic issue that can affect your smile and be a sign of possible dental concerns. But what exactly are black triangle teeth or dental black triangles? Should you be worried if you have them? Laguna Vista Dental will explain what this dental concern is and when you should speak with your dentist.


black triangle teeth


What Are Black Triangle Teeth?

If you look at your teeth, you will see how they connect into your gums and align together to form your smile. In most cases, you will see your teeth lined closely next to each other with minimal space between them. With black triangle teeth, there will be an area at the gumline where the teeth do not come together creating a black triangle void. This is known as the open gingival embrasure. These black triangles are a relatively common condition. One study shows that as many as 67% of adults over the age of 20 have them. These open gaps can often distract from your smile, make you look older, lead to gum disease, and even affect your speech.


What Are the Causes of These Dental Black Triangles?

As mentioned, black triangle teeth or open gingival embrasures are common. There are many reasons these gaps can develop, which include:

  • Gum Disease – the most common cause of black triangles is gum disease and the gum recession it causes. As your gums recess, the narrow part of your tooth root often shows. Because this area is narrower, it will not sit flush with the neighboring tooth, resulting in a black triangle.
  • Teeth Shift – As your teeth shift positions, black triangles can appear. This can happen during orthodontic treatment or natural teeth shifting due to age, periodontal disease, jawbone changes, teeth grinding, or after tooth loss.
  • Abnormal Restorations – Problems with dental restorations, such as crowns, can contribute to black triangles.
  • Smoking – Smoking can lead to gum recession and increases your risk.
  • Bone Loss – Lose of bone near the base of the tooth, such as can occur with osteoporosis, can lead to gum recession and black triangle formation.
  • Genetics – Unfortunately, some people are more prone to black triangle teeth based on their teeth’ genetic shape.

Your Tooth Shape Can Contribute to Black Triangles

Your genetics play a role in your risk of developing black triangles during your lifetime. Chances are you haven’t really looked closely you at teeth, but not every tooth is made the same.

There are three different categories based on shape. These are rectangle, oval, and triangle. Which shape you have can play a role in your risk for black triangle gaps.

Rectangle teeth tend to have straight parallel edges that fit snugly with neighboring from top to bottom. With this straight-shaped tooth, it is very unlikely you will experience black triangles.

Oval teeth tend to have curved edges at the base of the tooth but are otherwise like rectangle teeth. Your risk for black triangle gaps with oval teeth typically occurs with the presence of gum disease and tooth decay.

Unfortunately, as you would guess, your biggest risk for black triangle gaps occur with triangle-shaped teeth. These teeth naturally narrow near the gum line, increasing the presence of open gingival embrasures.


Should You Be Concerned About Teeth Gaps?

Many people see black triangle teeth as nothing more than a distraction from their smile. While this may be the case, black triangle teeth can offer both positives and negatives. Small triangle gaps can prove beneficial when it comes to oral hygiene. It is much easier to get your floss between your teeth when there is a bit of a gap. However, if that gap is too large and you do not maintain good oral hygiene, triangle gaps are a great place to collect food debris, which can aid in plaque and tartar buildup. When this occurs, your risk of gum disease increases. This can lead to an increase in triangle gaps as well as your risk for tooth loss.


treating black triangle teeth


Can You Treat Black Triangle Teeth?

The good news is that you can address black triangle teeth with a variety of different treatment options. Treatment depends on how severe your gaps are, as well as the underlying cause of your gaps. Working together with your dentist will allow you to find one of the following treatment methods that work best for you.

  • Good Oral Hygiene – For mild cases, your best treatment option may be nothing more than improving your oral hygiene. Making sure to keep the gap clean and free from debris with regular brushing and flossing, as well as getting regular dental cleanings, is often enough to reduce the gap or prevent it from getting any larger.
  • Gum Treatments – If your gaps are due to gum disease and gum recession, treatment focuses on improving your gum health. This can begin with improved oral hygiene, but it can require gum surgery and tissue grafting in severe cases.
  • Interproximal Reduction – Interproximal Reduction, known as IPR, is an orthodontic treatment option designed to address black triangle gaps. An orthodontist polishes an area of each neighboring tooth to create a flat surface. Braces or clear aligners then work to bring the teeth together on their new surface, eliminating the gap.
  • Cosmetic Bonding or Bioclear Matrix – Cosmetic or aesthetic bonding uses a composite resin bonded to the teeth’ surface to close the gap. The Bioclear matrix technique uses a composite resin, similar to traditional methods. In many cases, such as the lower teeth, this technique is often more aesthetically pleasing and longer-lasting.
  • Veneers/Crowns – Veneers or crowns adding to the top of healthy teeth can help eliminate the appearance of triangle gaps. This is often an option for those where triangle-shaped teeth contribute to the cause of gaps.


How Can You Prevent Having Black Triangle Teeth?

Because the number one cause of black triangle teeth is gum disease, your best chance of preventing these gaps is by practicing good oral hygiene. Regular brushing and flossing and attending regular dentist appointments can reduce the risk of developing triangle gaps.

If you are concerned about the growing black triangle teeth and gaps, Laguna Vista Dental is here to help. To learn more about potential treatment options and to feel confident smiling again, request an appointment with Laguna Vista Dental today.

Krystle Fenton

Krystle Fenton

Krystle Fenton is the owner and lead dentist at Laguna Vista Dental in Elk Grove, CA. Dr. She has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Andrews University. She then went on to Loma Linda University School of Dentistry, where she graduated with honors and is a member of the prestigious Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU) National Dental Honor Society. Dr. Fenton is a member of the American Dental Association, California Dental Association, and Sacramento District Dental Society. In her time away from the office, Dr. Fenton enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, spending time outdoors and watching movies.

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