Have you ever wondered what those triangle-shaped spaces between your teeth are? These triangles– officially known as open gingival embrasures– are very common and repairing them is important not only cosmetically, but also for the health of your teeth.
According to an article published by medical website Healthline, around 67 percent of people over 20 years old have open gingival embrasures. These black triangles can appear between your teeth for several reasons and some causes are related to the health of your teeth and gums.
Gum recession is one of these reasons. Age, smoking, and periodontal (gum) disease can cause gums to recede or pull away from the teeth. This can expose the roots, leaving them vulnerable to bacteria, plaque, and cavities.
Bone loss is another– gum disease, osteoporosis, and other conditions can cause a loss of bone near the base of a tooth. When bone is lost, the gum tissue in that area may also recede. This leads to the formation of black triangles.
Brushing your teeth too aggressively is another cause of open gingival embrasures and can damage your gums over time.
Sometimes, your natural tooth shape can be to blame– some people have rectangular teeth, where the width of the tooth at the gum line isn’t much different than the width at the biting point. Others have teeth narrower at the gum line so that the tooth has a more triangular shape. Triangular teeth are more likely to develop these gaps. Depending on the cause and severity of the gap, there are a number of procedures and treatment options that can be used to treat open gingival embrasures.
Treatment can start at home with gentle dental hygiene. If the black triangles between your teeth are minimal and your gums are healthy, changing your dental hygiene habits may allow your gums to return to normal.
If black triangles formed between your teeth because of a procedure or process that moved your teeth, you may be able to close the gaps by moving teeth together with Invisalign™ trays. Orthodontic treatment takes time, but the results are worth it.
Porcelain veneers are another option for filling in gaps and creating a more even smile. Most of the time, applying veneers involves altering the surface of your natural tooth so the veneer and tooth form a strong bond.
In more advanced cases of gum recession and open gingival embrasures, the periodontal procedure of tissue grafting may be recommended. In this procedure, your doctor removes a small amount of tissue from the roof of your mouth and grafts it over the receded areas around your teeth. Bone grafts may also be necessary to build up the bone at the base of your tooth.
Dr. Kilimitzoglou provides all of these services at his Smithtown office, and can help you in obtaining the best possible results as you fill in your open gingival embrasures!