Black triangles, or dark spaces. between your teeth can detract from your smile and be unhealthy for your teeth. How can the spaces be prevented and treated? And why is dental bonding so effective?
Causes of Black Triangles
1. Tooth Position
If teeth are naturally misaligned, unwanted spaces can be present. At times, after orthodontic treatment, dark spaces are left between the teeth.
2. Shape of Teeth
Teeth that are triangular shaped touch at the chewing surface but not at your gumline and leave gaps between them. Black triangles are particularly prominent with gum tissue that has a thin biotype—or that is naturally thin.
3. Gum Recession
The sides of teeth are naturally slightly curved and angled at the gumline. Healthy gums hide the angles. Your gums can recede for a variety of reasons:
- Aggressive brushing or flossing – Aggressive dental hygiene can weaken and damage gum tissue and cause it to recede.
- Orthodontic treatment – Pressure applied to teeth and bone during orthodontic treatment can result in some bone loss. Gum tissue follows the bone and can result in recession.
- Periodontal disease – Inflammed and infected gums can pull away from teeth.
- After scaling and root planing – Scaling and root planning help gums recover from disease. Although bone loss has already occurred, after inflamed gums return to their normal state and seal against the bone again, gum recession and dark spaces between teeth are more noticeable.
- Tobacco use – Smokers have more calculus (hardened plaque) between their teeth, which causes gums to separate from teeth. It also leads to gum disease.
- Bruxism (teeth grinding) – Teeth grinding loosens gum tissue around teeth and deep pockets develop where bacteria has entered between the tissue and teeth.
- Genetics, including a thin biotype – Gum tissue that is genetically thin and scalloped is more likely to recede from the teeth and leave dark spaces between them.
- Hormonal changes – Fluctuating hormone levels can cause irritation and recession.
- Trauma to gum tissue –Accidental injury and excessive gum picking with toothpicks or fingernails can cause damage.
Reasons to Correct Black Triangles between Teeth
- Food and debris get trapped – The increased space between your teeth makes it easier for food and debris to get trapped between them.
- Bacteria buildup – The spaces give ample room for bacteria to build up and inflame your gums.
- Gum disease – Prolonged inflammation can lead to bone loss and gum disease.
- Appearance – Some people choose to close the spaces to enhance their smile.
Prevention and Treatment
Diligent oral hygiene and regular dental checkups and cleaning can help prevent black triangles that are related to gum disease.
Although porcelain veneers or direct dental bonding can be used to eliminate black triangles between your teeth, Bioclear is a tool that is used to help the dentist do dental bonding. Heated flowable composite is sculpted to reshape your teeth and make dark spaces and gaps disappear.
Bioclear and other dental bonding techniques have several advantages over porcelain veneers and dental bonding:
- It’s less expensive than veneers.
- Unlike veneers, it doesn’t require tooth preparation and removal of some of your natural tooth structure.
The before-and-after photos below are an example of the results you can expect with this treatment.
Schedule a consultation with an accredited cosmetic dentist to discuss your options.
This post is sponsored by La Jolla accredited cosmetic dentist Dr. Stephen Doan.