Having a million-dollar smile is the dream of people all over the world. Having perfectly positioned gleaming white teeth is what we all dream of, though in reality, it is not something that everyone can achieve. Our teeth are one of the focal points of our face, and how they look is something that many people will worry about and stress over.

What are translucent teeth?

Our teeth age, just like the rest of our body, and over time, they will lose their radiant look and the enamel, which coats the teeth, will gradually start to erode. This will lead to the teeth becoming translucent and start to look transparent around the edges.

Teeth consist of dentin, which is what makes up the majority of each tooth, and this is covered by enamel, which creates a white layer over them. As the enamel starts to erode, it can lead to symptoms such as sensitive teeth, stains and also the appearance of the tooth becoming transparent. This transparency only occurs around the edge of the tooth, as the dentin in the tooth does not go all the way to the tip of the teeth, which is only enamel.

What causes translucent teeth?

People who are affected by translucent teeth may have them due to the natural erosion of enamel that takes place during our lifetime, or it may be the result of a medical condition. There are a number of conditions that can affect the enamel of the teeth and lead to them looking transparent.

Coeliac disease is usually related to gastrointestinal issues, caused by gluten but it can also result in poor development of enamel in certain people.

Another common medical condition that can cause translucent teeth is enamel hypoplasia, which is a genetic condition where a person will have only very thin or weak enamel on their teeth. If a person has had translucent teeth since they were an infant, it is very likely that they suffer from one of these two conditions.

Bulimia, which is another cause of translucent teeth, is an eating disorder that affects lots of people around the world. Many sufferers of bulimia will consume huge amounts of calories during one meal, and then they will induce vomiting. As well as causing serious issues with the lining of the esophagus in the throat, the bile and stomach acid in the vomit can damage the enamel on the teeth, eroding it a lot quicker than nature and aging would.

Another similar condition is gastroesophageal reflux, which can also lead to the person vomiting frequently, though in this case, the vomiting is not being induced. This can also lead to the enamel being exposed to acid and bile that will start breaking down the tooth enamel.

What are the signs of translucent teeth?

In addition to the obvious sign of the teeth starting to look transparent around the edges, there are some a few symptoms that can be experienced by a person, who has not yet had the enamel on their teeth eroded to such a state that they start to look translucent.

One sign that the enamel on your teeth is eroding is if you suffer from sensitive teeth. Experiencing tooth pain from either hot or cold food or drinks can be a sign that the enamel is starting to weaken. Another sign is if you notice that you have a dry mouth.

The acids in your mouth that are eroding the enamel could cause this. The saliva in our mouths is important and fights cavities with the enzymes that it provides. If the amount of saliva starts decreases and leads to a dry mouth, this can put out teeth at risk from bacteria and foods that are acidic.

How can it be fixed?

If you have noticed that your teeth are starting to look translucent, then the first question you will ask is “what can be done about it”. The first thing you need to be aware of is that once your tooth enamel has eroded, it will not grow back.

If your teeth are in the process of erosion, then there are a few things that you can do in order to get more calcium back into your teeth. One of these is to use fluoride toothpaste and to make sure that you brush your teeth twice a day with it. You should also look to change your diet to cut out sugar and if not already, start taking some vitamins and calcium supplements.

All treatment that is provided by your dentist for translucent teeth is cosmetic procedures and not ones that are to replace the enamel that has been lost. There are three main forms of treatment for translucent teeth that your dentist can provide.

The first is tooth bonding, which is where your dentist will create a resin that is the same natural color of your teeth. Your teeth will have this composite resin applied to them. This is usually the cheapest option and the one that is the quickest to have done. The other options will require a couple of visits each to the dentist.

The second option is dental crowns, which are caps that are placed over the tooth to cover them. These crowns are available in resin, metal-ceramic or porcelain. The third option is veneers, which are shells that are colored the same as the natural color of your teeth, and which are then attached to the front of your teeth.

Can it be prevented?

Enamel erosion cannot be completely prevented, as it will occur naturally with aging, but there are things that you could do to slow down the inevitable. The main thing is to try to reduce your acid intake in foods and drinks.

Drinks such as soft drinks and orange juice can contain acid, so if you can try to stop drinking these, or at least reduce the amount you drink, then it can help. You could also use a straw when drinking, as this will help take the liquid to the throat, and avoid contact with your teeth.

Boosting your saliva production can also help, and chewing a sugar-free chewing gum can help with the production of saliva. It is also important that you regularly brush your teeth, though avoid brushing after you have eaten or drank anything acidic, as the brushing could actually rub the acid content into your teeth, rather than properly clean them.

If you have any questions, it is advisable to book an appointment with your dentist, and let them carry out an examination and then suggest a treatment plan if one is required.