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Black Triangles: A Warning Sign of Receding Gums

Starting to notice black spaces between your teeth when you smile in the mirror can be an alarming discovery. Dentists typically refer to this dental issue as "black triangles. While they're more commonly seen in older patients, black triangles can appear for a few reasons regardless of a person's age. 

Learn the warning signs of black triangles and what you can do to keep them from appearing in your smile. 

Common Causes of Black Triangles

In a perfectly symmetrical and healthy smile, the teeth are aligned in a straight row, with each tooth touching the one next to it and healthy gum tissue in between. If black triangles have begun to form between the teeth, the chances are it's related to one of these reasons why:

Gum Recession

If you brush too hard, or if you're using a hard-bristled toothbrush, you can easily cause gum recession from applying too much pressure while you clean. The damaged gum tissue will begin to recede, and if it recedes enough, these dark areas can show up in your smile. 

Gum Disease

Many patients who endure gum disease don't know they have it until they begin to experience bone loss due to the disease. Black triangles show if bone loss has already occurred, but the gum tissue hasn't followed yet. When it is unhealthy, the gum tissue tends to be larger than expected, and once the gum tissue is healthy again, it starts to follow the bone, which opens up those spaces. 

Bone Loss

Your gums follow the shape of the bone around your teeth. When you lose bone, the gum tissue slowly begins to decrease. One of the first places people begin to lose bone if they have gum disease is between their teeth. As this bone recedes, the gums can no longer fill the space between your teeth all the way, leaving you with a black triangle where the gum tissue is no longer present. 

The Shape Of Your Teeth

Teeth that only tough each other lightly at the tip have a much larger space that needs to be filled in by the gum tissue. The specific shape of your teeth determines how much gum tissue your mouth will have to adjust to the shape and size of your teeth. 

Stopping Gum Recession Before Tooth Loss 

If your gum recession is caused by brushing too hard, you may be able to slow it by not brushing as vigorously and by switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush. When you brush your teeth, be mindful of your sensitive gum tissue and use soft, gentle motions when brushing around the tissue. 

If your recession is caused by inadequate oral hygiene and your precession is moderate, you can still do your part in getting it back on track. Begin by flossing and brushing twice daily using an antibacterial toothpaste and rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash. 

If your recession is more severe, you may have gum disease or periodontitis. By scheduling an appointment with Tompkins Dental, we can help you get your mouth back to fighting shape. 

Black Triangle Treatment Options

Depending on the severity of your situation and the circumstances behind your black triangles, we may be able to help restore your teeth and gums to their original state. 

Standard treatment options may include:

Dental Bonding - Dental bonding is a tooth-colored composite applied to the exposed root to improve the tooth's appearance and protect it simultaneously. Your dentist may be able to "fill in" the space between your teeth. 

Veneers - If you're unhappy with the appearance of your teeth, cosmetic dentistry could be the right solution for you. Veneers are incredibly customizable, and we will work with you to determine precisely what you would like your veneers to look like to give you the smile of your dreams. 

Botox - The purpose behind placing Botox in these areas is to plumb up the papilla to create proper gingival contours. This technique can also be used on patients with veneers lacking gum tissue surrounding the new teeth. 

Don't Ignore Black Triangles Between Your Teeth 

If your smile has you feeling less than confident for any reason, Tompkins Dental r is here to help! We're determined to help get down to the cause of your black triangles and will also assist in correcting them. Schedule your consultation with us today, and be on your way to a better, healthier smile. 

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