You may have noticed some of your teeth beginning to look translucent around the edges. There are a few causes of this. Even with the best oral hygiene habits, you can still form translucent teeth. If you are concerned you should speak to your dentist. 

At Beaches Dental Mona Vale, we are experts in oral hygiene. In this article, we discuss three main causes of translucent teeth. We talk about the symptoms, health concerns and treatment options available. 

What causes translucent teeth?

Translucent teeth are the result of enamel erosion. Enamel is the hard outer layer of your teeth. It is semi-translucent itself so the layer beneath, dentin, is what gives your teeth colour. Dentin does not extend to the outer edges of your teeth, so the tips consist only of enamel. The edges of your teeth may appear blue-ish, grey or transparent when the enamel begins to erode. 

Below are some of the common causes of enamel erosion:

Enamel Hypoplasia

This is a genetic condition that affects teeth during the development stage. People with this condition have weak, thin, chalky enamel that wears away quickly. It causes teeth to appear transparent. In some instances, the enamel does not develop at all, which leaves the dentin completely exposed. As this is a genetic condition, there is not a lot that can be done to prevent it from occurring. However, there are treatment options to treat the condition.

Coeliac disease

Coeliac disease affects more than just your gastrointestinal tract. It can also affect the development of your enamel. People with coeliac disease often have translucent portions of their teeth. They may also develop other oral symptoms such as recurrent ulcers, dry mouth and atrophic glossitis (a red, shiny tongue). If you have any of these symptoms you should check with your health professional and get tested for the disease. 

Acid erosion

Acid can slowly erode the enamel on your teeth and cause translucence. Your teeth are best in a slightly alkaline environment. The normal pH range for your mouth is between 6.2 and 7.6. People with this level have fewer cavities and less dental decay. pH levels that are lower than 5.5 can cause your teeth to erode. If you regularly consume high acidic foods, you may be putting yourself at risk of enamel erosion.

Having acid reflux is also a risk factor, if you have this condition, it is best to speak to a medical professional for treatment. Another medical condition that can cause high oral acid content is bulimia. Bulimia is a serious eating disorder that can have effects on your teeth. Again it is best to speak to a medical professional when seeking treatment for this. 

What do translucent teeth mean for my oral health?

Translucent teeth may be at more risk of decay depending on the amount of enamel missing and your oral hygiene habits. In some instances, translucent teeth are unavoidable. If you can manage the causes of this condition then you should. Maintaining good oral health habits can help protect your teeth from decay. Regular checkups with your dentist can allow for early detection, diagnosis and management of translucent teeth. Some other ways to help prevent translucent teeth include:

  • Drinking through a straw
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Eating a healthy diet (avoid sugary food)
  • Boosting saliva (this can be done by chewing sugar-free gum)
  • Managing acid reflux

Treatment options for translucent teeth

Although you cannot reverse the effects of enamel erosion you can improve the appearance and strength of your teeth. Below are three possible treatment options:

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are thin covers that are adhered to the front of your natural teeth. Veneers are a popular cosmetic dental treatment. They can improve the appearance of your smile by fixing gaps, misalignment and colour. They are made in a lab from porcelain and bonded to your teeth. Veneers are a permanent option so it’s best to discuss it with your dentist before proceeding. 

Composite Veneers 

Composite veneers are a method used by dentists to fix several oral issues including chips, cracks and colour. A tooth-coloured composite resin is used to cover the front surface of your teeth, it is shaped accordingly and set with a special light. It offers protection and can fix the appearance of translucent teeth. As the composite is bonded directly to your tooth and set it can usually be done all in one appointment. 

Crowns

Dental crowns are caps that are placed over your natural tooth for protection. This is a good option if there is a lot of missing enamel from your teeth. The crown is custom-made in a special lab and can be colour matched to your natural teeth. It is secured in place and can last many years with the correct care. 

Visit your Mona Vale dentist

If you have a concern about translucent teeth, it is best to speak to a professional. At Beaches Dental Mona Vale your oral health is our biggest concern. We tailor your treatment plans to suit your individual goals and oral health needs. Give us a call today to book an appointment.