If you take great care of your teeth, you’ve probably noticed that your smile tends to stay on the whiter side. In fact, many of us are accustomed to seeing pearly white teeth when we keep up with proper oral hygiene habits like brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist for teeth cleanings a couple times a year. Unfortunately, even if you practice these good dental habits, you may still notice that parts of your teeth are becoming translucent.
But what causes translucent teeth, and what are your options for treatment?
Translucent Teeth Causes
Having translucent teeth is a clear indication that your tooth enamel is suffering from erosion. All of us have a very thin layer of protective tooth enamel that surrounds our teeth, but it can sometimes diminish and then cause our teeth to take on a translucent appearance. If you notice translucent teeth, it could be due to the following reasons:
- You consume acidic foods and drinks. Over time, our favorite meals and beverages can erode our protective tooth enamel. The acid found in tomato-based products, citrus foods, and soda can cause your teeth to lose enamel-strengthening minerals, resulting in translucent teeth.
- You have acid reflux. When the acid in your stomach comes back up during an acid reflux attack, it can make its way to your teeth and cause erosion.
- You grind your teeth. If you tend to grind your teeth while you sleep or during stressful times, you risk grinding away your tooth enamel.
- You have cavities. When plaque builds up on your teeth, it not only causes tooth decay, but the acid produced by bacteria feeding on the plaque can result in erosion.
- You overuse teeth whitening products. If you leave teeth whitening strips or trays in your mouth too long, your enamel can erode, resulting in translucent teeth.
- You have celiac disease. Not only does celiac disease cause terrible gastrointestinal issues, it can also keep your tooth enamel from developing properly.
- You have enamel hypoplasia. This condition is a developmental defect that can cause your enamel to be weak, thin, or chalky. Sometimes, your dentin may even be completely exposed due to no enamel forming at all.
- You take certain medications. Sometimes your daily medication can also result in translucent teeth. Medications like antihistamines for allergies, or aspirin for heart health could be the cause of the transparent appearance. (Don’t ever stop taking your doctor-prescribed medications just because you have translucent teeth!)
What are the Signs of Enamel Erosion?
While some people can definitely see that their teeth are becoming translucent, enamel takes time to erode. The sooner you discover enamel erosion, the better off your teeth will be. If you notice any of the following signs of erosion, it’s best to head to the dentist’s office right away for for treatment:
- You notice that your teeth look darker. This could mean that the deeper, darker layers of your teeth (called dentin) are beginning to show through the outer layer — a surefire sign of translucent teeth.
- You or your dentist may notice that certain teeth are cracked or chipped.
- You see indentations or speckles on the surface of your teeth.
- When you run your tongue along your teeth, you may feel that the edges feel jagged or rough.
How to Fix Translucent Teeth
While you can’t grow back tooth enamel that has eroded, your dentist may be able to restore your teeth to protect them and even make it look like the enamel is still there. Your dentist may recommend any of the following common dental treatments for translucent teeth:
- Tooth-colored fillings & dental bonding. Your dentist can use tooth-colored fillings made of composite resin to fix teeth that are suffering from decay, or shape the resin over your teeth to cover imperfections such as translucency.
- Dental crowns. Sometimes your dentist will recommend a ceramic or porcelain dental crown to help your tooth gain back its strength, structure, and pearly-white appearance. You can even get a CEREC same-day dental crown created and placed in just one visit.
- Porcelain veneers. If your teeth are translucent, your dentist may suggest porcelain dental veneers — especially if you are bothered by the appearance of your front teeth. Veneers are made of layered, extremely thin sheets of ceramic that are shaded to look like your natural tooth color. They are bonded over your existing teeth with powerful dental cement so they stay put.
Tooth Enamel Protection Tips
- Proper oral hygiene is one of the best ways to ensure that your tooth enamel stays intact and tooth transparency doesn’t become an issue. Gently brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and seeing your dentist for regular teeth cleanings and exams is crucial to keeping your smile and enamel healthy.
- Strengthen your tooth enamel with toothpaste and other oral health products that contain fluoride and calcium.
- If you can’t avoid eating or drinking acidic foods and beverages, always rinse your mouth thoroughly with either water or a mouthwash after consuming them to reduce possible enamel damage.
- If you are prone to grinding your teeth, talk to your dentist about teeth grinding treatment such as getting fitted for a custom mouthguard to wear while you sleep, or ask about dental botox treatment to combat grinding and TMJ issues.
Remember: The above information points are to be used as general guidelines and you SHOULD NOT use this information to determine anything yourself. If you think you may need dental treatment for translucent teeth, contact our experienced dentists for a thorough dental exam.
Translucent Teeth Treatment in Columbus Ohio
If you’ve noticed signs of tooth enamel erosion, or have seen that your teeth are becoming more translucent, come see our skilled dentists at Capstone Dental in Clintonville. During your appointment we will diagnose the cause of your issue and advise the best, most appropriate treatment plan to get your teeth looking white and bright again. Contact us today to set up an appointment.