What Does It Mean to Have Translucent Teeth?

teeth showing discoloured on one side and white on the other.

Have you noticed the edges of your teeth becoming translucent? Is this normal to experience? The short answer is no, so it’s important to speak to your dentist about this occurrence.

Translucent teeth indicate enamel erosion. Healthy teeth are opaque, so you shouldn’t see through them. Whether your teeth have had translucent areas for a long time or this is something you’ve noticed just recently, be sure to have them examined at the dental office.

Let’s talk more about translucent teeth, what they mean, and what you can do about them.

What Are Translucent Teeth?

Translucent teeth appear clear on the edges. This can be a sign of enamel loss and shouldn’t be ignored. Any translucent portions are more vulnerable to damage. They can get chipped or fractured more easily.

Enamel protects teeth. Since it’s located the farthest out, it’s exposed to all kinds of debris and pressure. Lost enamel can no longer be regrown. However, you can prevent further losses. You can also strengthen your enamel by boosting your oral hygiene routine and avoiding habits that may be harming your teeth.

Potential Causes of Translucent Teeth or Enamel Loss

  • Acidic foods and drinks. Acidic foods and beverages increase acid levels in the mouth and make teeth more vulnerable to acids eating away at the enamel. Regular and excessive consumption of these foods may accelerate enamel loss.
  • Dry mouth. Lack of salivary flow in the mouth can also increase your chances of developing translucent teeth. A dry mouth can be due to the intake of certain medications, medical conditions, and habits, such as smoking and frequent alcohol intake.
  • Acid reflux and frequent vomiting. Stomach acids are strong, and frequent exposure to them may cause the enamel to wear. The enamel may sustain more damage if the acid reflux advances to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Frequent vomiting, which pregnant women and those with eating disorders may experience, may also contribute to enamel erosion.
  • Celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that can cause dental irregularities, such as poor enamel formation and discoloration. This condition causes the immune system to attack tissues following gluten consumption. The small intestines get damaged, which leads to symptoms such as diarrhea and bloating.

Can Having Translucent Teeth Be Prevented?

Genetic disorders cannot be prevented, but maintaining good dental care habits may keep your teeth from turning transparent. Here are some habits that can prevent enamel erosion:

  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Minimizing intake of pigmented beverages
  • Reducing alcohol consumption
  • Using a straw when consuming acidic beverages
  • Cutting back on starchy and sugary foods
  • Rinsing the mouth with plain water after meals or taking in anything acidic
  • Flossing at least once a day
  • Ensuring proper brushing
  • Going for routine dental exams and hygiene cleanings

Treatment Options for Translucent Teeth

Treatment options for translucent teeth depend on what’s causing this problem. Here are a few possible choices:

  • Veneers. Veneers are custom-made, thin shells attached to the surface of teeth. They give you your desired smile by masking imperfections.
  • Crowns. Crowns not only enhance the appearance of teeth, but they also strengthen and restore their function. They’re caps that are attached to the teeth, which become the visible part when you smile.
  • Bonding. This dental procedure uses composite resin color-matched to your natural teeth. They keep the enamel erosion from progressing and make your teeth look opaque again.

At Centrum Dental Centre in Kanata, Ontario, we help patients maintain healthy and beautiful smiles. Your visits are made comfortable and rewarding with the use of advanced technology and customized treatment plans.

Contact us today to schedule your appointment with our dentist. Learn straight from a dental professional what translucent teeth mean and how they’re treated.