If you have relatively straight teeth, but do not love your smile because how your “black triangles” are showing, you might consider enhancement orthodontics with a procedure called interproximal reduction, also known as IPR for short.
This technique is where an artistic and trained orthodontic specialist polishes between the teeth, going through the contact point, creating a temporary small space, then closes it to better fill the space with the gums (space usually closes within a matter of days).
Black triangles are quite common, but relatively easy to treat.
The following are factors contributing to black triangles (aka “open gingival embrasures”):
(1) CROWDING of the teeth—the gums are “suffocated” by overlapping teeth, so when the teeth are straightened, the gum recession is more apparent, revealing the black triangle
(2) TRIANGULARLY shaped teeth (as opposed to rectangularly shaped teeth) have a very small point contact near the chewing surface of the tooth. This ultimately leaves a large triangular space between the teeth, often which the gums cannot fill.
(3) BONE position around the teeth—if the point where the teeth touch is more than 5 mm away from the level of the bone supporting the teeth, there will be a black triangle present.
Things to know about why IPR is so beneficial:
- It is NOT harmful to the enamel. There have been university studies that prove that the enamel after polishing is actually smoother than natural enamel. It also DOES NOT mean your teeth are weaker or have a higher risk for cavities/decay.
- Closing the black triangle results in a more BEAUTIFUL SMILE!
- It can promote HEALTHIER GUMS and teeth, because closing the space reduces or eliminates the black triangular space which can be a trap for plaque and tartar
- It promotes better orthodontic STABILITY, which means less likelihood of shifting and relapse after orthodontic treatment. This is because the previous the small “point contact” between the teeth is more prone to shifting than a broad contact with greater surface area between the teeth