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When the idea of a perfect smile comes to mind, most people think of fixing crooked teeth and whitening as examples of fixing their dental imperfections. However, a common problem not known about is the black spaces at their gum lines also known as “Black Triangles” are the third most identified aesthetic complaint. (Scientific reference- Cunliffe and Pretty, The European Journal of Prosthetics and Restorative Dentistry 12/2009 17(4):177-81).

What are black triangles?

Black triangles (Open Gingival Embrasures) are triangle-shaped gaps between your teeth, which is obvious when you smile. Roughly 67 percent of adults have them.

In addition to being a cosmetic issue it can also cause other dental problems if not treated.

If you notice gaps forming between your teeth, I would recommend that you discuss this concern with us.

What causes them?

Black triangles can appear between your teeth for multiple reasons and some may have health consequences which stem from your gums.

Gum recession

Normal healthy gums are usually pink and fill in the small gaps that surround your teeth.

Heavy handed toothbrushing, age, smoking and gum disease can cause the gums to shrink away from the teeth. This exposes the roots leaving them vulnerable to sensitivity, food getting trapped and cavities.

Aggressive brushing

Gum tissues are sensitive. Some people have thinner gums than others. If you brush your teeth too aggressively, you can damage your gums over time. Our Dentists and Oral Health Therapists can help you learn to brush correctly.

Bone loss

Active gum infection also known as periodontitis can result in the bone dissolving just under the gums. This is caused by a constant immune response to the bacteria that never leaves and hides deep under the gums. Once the bone is lost, the gums also shrink away from the teeth, leading to the formation of black triangles.

Orthodontic treatment

If you have had orthodontic care, small gaps may form between your teeth as they move into their new positions.

A 2018 study found that the likelihood of adults with braces developing black triangles between their upper and lower incisor teeth was 22 percent and 36 percent, respectively.

Triangular tooth shape

Some people have rectangular teeth, where the width of the tooth at the gum line isn’t much different than the width tooth edge. This results in broad contacts between the teeth which means that only a small space needs to be filled by the gum tissues.

Some people have narrower teeth at the gum line so that the tooth has a more triangular shape. Triangular teeth are more likely to develop these gaps as there is more space between the contacts and the gum tissue.

Thin fragile tissue

The thickness of gum tissue varies from person to person. Thin tissues are more prone to irreversible damage. So if there is gum disease, elective dental treatment such as a crown, a dental implant, or gum surgery, the gums may not return to their previous fullness afterwards.

If you suspect you may have this condition, be sure to have it treated. It will restore confidence in your smile and appearance and it will also reduce risks of further dental issues.

How can these gaps be treated?

Eliminating Black Triangles can dramatically improve your smile increasing your confidence and boosting your dental health.

Indirect porcelain crowns and veneers

To date, dentists have been using this treatment option to yield good results however it comes at a very high financial and biological cost. Tooth structure is often shaved down and removed in order to be covered with porcelain. The outcome looks very good afterwards, but it would be more ideal to be able to keep the original tooth structure.

At Bella Dental we offer a unique technique to help get rid of black triangles.

Dr Geoffrey Wan is the only dentist in Australia specifically trained to address Black Triangles using the Bioclear Black Triangle System

The BIOCLEAR method

This is a revolutionary technique characterized by composite resin injection over-moulding. Precious tooth structure is preserved and the material is added to the existing teeth. BIOCLEAR uses specialised shape barriers which helps to sculpt natural contours to fill the negative spaces in black triangles. With results in stronger teeth that support restoration to eliminate the unsightly gaps.

An example shown here is a patient who is in her 40’s who just finished her braces. She has experienced recession and noticed the spaces opening up between her teeth over the years. She considered veneers to close the spaces but did not want to shave down her perfectly healthy teeth for that outcome. She did her research wanted to fill the spaces using the BIOCLEAR method.

The photos show the black triangles that had appeared after the braces were removed. The front 6 teeth were restored using the BIOCLEAR protocols. Post-operative x-rays were taken to demonstrate the absence of overhangs and tooth contours were preserved for easy hygiene upkeep and more beneficial for gum health. This patient now loves her smile.

For more information and discussion about your smile call us today at Bella Dental on 13000 BELLA and see how we can help you.


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