Receding gums can make your smile look unattractive in many ways. Receding gums can reveal cementum, which is like enamel, but it’s only supposed to cover the root of your tooth. It’s not as attractive as enamel because it has a dark color and a rough texture.

Receding gums can also make your teeth look longer than they should.

But one of the most noticeable effects of receding gums is the appearance of black triangles between your teeth.

What Causes Black Triangles Between Teeth

Our smile uses contrast to create an attractive appearance. Lips, gums, and teeth contrast with each other and with negative (empty) space. This is good when you want your smile to stand out, but it can be bad when receding gums create extra negative space around your teeth.

When gums recede, exposing some of the roots of your teeth, the shape of your teeth becomes visible. With narrow roots and flared crowns, the result is a triangle-shaped hole in your smile, which are called black triangles.  This is often one of the first signs of receding gums because the part of your gums that fills this triangular space, called the papilla, is very vulnerable to loss.

But receding gums aren’t the only cause of black triangles. Black triangles can be natural, related to crooked teeth or poorly shaped teeth that create open spaces in the smile.

Black triangles can also be related to poorly done dental work. Dental implants that don’t preserve the papillae around them can lead to black triangles. And porcelain veneers and dental crowns that aren’t correctly shaped can create black triangles.

Can Invisalign Cause Black Triangles?

Although Invisalign can cause black triangles, it’s more likely that it is simply exposing a lack of gum tissue that was already problematic. 

Invisalign–and other orthodontic treatments–causes black triangles if you aren’t practicing good oral hygiene. This can lead to minor gum recession between your teeth. If you follow good oral hygiene guidelines during your Invisalign or other orthodontic treatment, then it’s likely your Invisalign didn’t cause black triangles. 

However, people commonly experience black triangles after orthodontic treatment because it exposes a lack of gum tissue. Whether you were dealing with crowded teeth or rotated teeth, the roots of your teeth are now further apart than they used to be. Gum tissue that used to be squished between your teeth now has space to expand sideways but might not be tall enough to fill the space. This is a common issue when crowded teeth don’t give enough room for gum tissue to develop properly.

Correcting Black Triangles

The good news is that we can almost always get rid of black triangles in your smile. There are three good solutions to black triangles: interproximal reduction (sometimes called IPR), veneers, and Juvéderm injections in your gums. 

Interproximal Reduction (IPR)

With IPR, a cosmetic dentist reshapes your natural teeth. We shave off parts of the dental crown that make it wider than the tooth root. This allows the tooth roots to move closer together with the aid of a concise course of orthodontics. IPR has the advantage of retaining more of your natural teeth than with veneers, but there is a risk that it could lead to tooth sensitivity. Plus, it requires orthodontics, so it’s often unappealing to people who developed black triangles after orthodontic treatment. 


Veneers are a great solution to reshape your natural teeth and close the gap between them. This approach works well and gives results quickly. You can also use veneers to address other cosmetic concerns you may have, too. For example, if you want to lengthen your incisors to help your smile look more youthful and counter worn enamel, we can do that. Traditional veneers require that we remove some of your natural tooth enamel to place them, but some other options might be placed without removing enamel. Veneers have the advantage that they can last for decades. 

If your black triangles are partly due to unattractive dental restorations, we can perform a cosmetic renewal to give you more attractive veneers or crowns.

Juvéderm Injection

With Juvéderm injections, we can fill the black triangles with gum tissue. Juvéderm is a dermal filler made from hyaluronic acid, a material naturally present in your gums. The results are instant. Juvéderm injection has the advantage of looking very natural and attractive–your teeth can maintain their tapered shape. You don’t have to worry that your teeth will look too large or square. The disadvantage of Juvéderm injection is that results are temporary. Plus, some people may not like the idea of gum injections, though a topical numbing cream makes it almost painless. 

Eliminate Black Triangles in Savannah

No matter the cause of your black triangles, they can make you reluctant to share your smile. At Beyond Exceptional Dentistry, we are dedicated to giving you a smile you will be confident to show off. We will assess your teeth and recommend the best strategies to provide you with a smile that you love. 

If you are unhappy with black triangles in your smile, please call (912) 234-8282 for an appointment with a Savannah cosmetic dentist at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry.