Q: After wearing braces for two years as an adult in my fifties, I now notice I have noticeable black triangular spaces between my teeth at the gum line. I am constantly trapping food in these spaces and I also do not like the look. What causes this and what can be done about it? Gale via email.
A: What type of triangle? Isosceles, scalene or equilateral? (a pedantic attempt of a knowledge of geometry.) My guess is the isosceles, with two equal sides; the base being at the gum line, the apex diving, down between the teeth. We call these gingival embrasures. They can arise due to age, periodontal disease, faulty restorations or after normal orthodontic tooth movement. The small triangular shaped gum between the teeth, called the papilla, becomes blunted, leaving a space.
Treatment can consist of composite resin tooth bonding, all-porcelain crowns or veneers. If it is localized to one area, specific periodontal surgery techniques can bulk up the papilla.
Note: Dr. Mitchell Josephs and Dr. Mandal, facial plastic surgeon, will give a free lecture at the Jupiter Beach Resort June 1 at 5:30 p.m. To register for “Smiles and Faces”, call (561) 832-2917. Dr. Mitchell Josephs practices Cosmetic, Implant and General Dentistry in Palm Beach and can be reached at email@example.com (888-378-6684) or visit www.palmbeachdentist.com