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138 N San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91775

Hours : Mon-Sat: 8:30A to 5:30P
  Contact : (626) 287-2625

Black Triangle / Open Gingival Embrasures and Orthodontics

What are black triangles?

Black triangles or ‘open gingival embrasures’ are little gaps between two teeth.  

Because every individual’s teeth and gum shape varies, it is actually common to see black triangles before, during, or after an orthodontic alignment of teeth.

What causes black triangles?

Black triangles are caused by either the triangular shape of the teeth or the health, shape, and size of the gums.  

If the teeth are triangular then the embrasure, triangular valleys between teeth, is larger and will likely appear as a black triangle.

The shape and size of the gums between the teeth is another determining factor of having black triangles. 

In general, our gums start-off taller between the teeth and usually fill the embrasures.  As we get older, the height of our gums naturally decreases and the triangular spaces between the teeth begin to appear more prominent.

Can black triangles be prevented?

Because some patients have triangular teeth or thin gum tissues, black triangles are not necessarily preventable.  

It is possible to limit your gums from receding by consistently following a good daily oral health routine which includes thorough and gentle teeth brushing twice daily and flossing once a day.

Are black triangles caused by Invisalign?

Invisalign that is applied properly will not cause gum loss and black triangles.  

Crooked front teeth often overlap leaving no space for the papilla, the pyramid-shaped dense structure of the gums that project between the teeth. In these cases, aligning the teeth exposes the fact that there was no papilla between the teeth and the gums will not be bulky enough to fill the space.  This may result in some patients to mistakenly believe that the black triangles were due to their Invisalign use. 

How can I treat black triangles?

There are several ways to treat black triangles.

If your black triangles are small and caused by mild gum recession due to gum disease, you may be able to reduce the embrasure space with improved oral hygiene routine.

If your gum disease is more advanced, you may need to see your dentist or a periodontist, gum specialist, for treatment to help with your gum disease.

Finally, if you have misaligned or rotated teeth and are looking to correct them, Interproximal reduction, the removal of small amounts of outer enamel, is a good option for changing the point contact between two teeth.  Interproximal reduction together with an orthodontic treatment like Invisalign is a good method in treating black triangles.