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The Black Triangles Between The Teeth: What Is It? Can Orthodontic Treatment Help?

In some patients, black triangles can be seen between the teeth. These can have several origins – for example gingival recession or loss of papilla – and can be treated in different ways. Orthodontics is one of the possibilities – let’s examine all of this together.

What is a black triangle between 2 teeth?

In orthodontics, reference is made to black triangles to designate the space or the slot visible at the level of the gingival embrasure. It is found under the point of contact of certain teeth. The interdental papilla does not completely close the space, which leads to a visible opening between the teeth: the black triangles. As we have said, this discrepancy can have several different origins. Also, it often requires an interdisciplinary approach: the intervention of a periodontist but also of an orthodontist in order to carry out an orthodontic and repairing treatment. It is a treatment is generally carried out based on the aesthetic preferences of the patient. However, a severe recession of the gums may justify periodontal treatment.

The factors behind black triangles

With healthy gums and well aligned teeth that touch each other well, there is usually no space between the gum and the teeth.

Black triangles are caused

  • Either by the shape of the teeth or their position,
  • Either by the evolution of the state of the gum.

The shape of the teeth is very important

The shape of the teeth plays a crucial role in the presence of black triangles:

  • If the teeth have a rather rectangular shape: their flat sides are side by side and there is very little space between them. There is little risk of black triangles appearing.
  • If the sides are more rounded or if the teeth have a more triangular shape: the doorway will be larger and will be more likely to appear as a space (black triangles). This occurs especially if the inter-dental papilla is not very developed.

    The shape and size of the interdental papilla

    The other factor favoring the presence of black triangles is the shape and size of the interdental papilla. When we are young, the inter-dental straw is more developed between the teeth and the spaces are generally completely filled. As we age, its size naturally decreases and triangular spaces begin to appear, even between straight teeth.

    Orthodontics is not the cause of black triangles

    Well aligned teeth have room for gum tissue of normal shape between them. On the other hand, the crooked teeth often overlap, so that there is no place between them for the interdental papilla. In the case of orthodontic treatments, the alignment of the teeth during treatment can reveal – temporarily or not – black triangles. Orthodontics removes the black triangle between the incisors on the upper jaw. The alignment of the teeth on the lower jaw reveals very slight spaces after the treatment. For this reason, many patients mistakenly believe that their orthodontic treatment is the source of the black triangles.


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