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When White Teeth Go Translucent: What’s the Deal With See-Through Teeth?

White teeth are what Americans hope to see when they stand in front of a mirror and smile. However, what people hope for and what they ultimately get may be two very different things. For instance, sometimes teeth turn translucent, thereby leaving people with unusual looking smiles. The good news is see-through teeth may be revitalized with the proper care.

When we are young, our teeth have an inherent translucency to them. It shows up most often around the biting edge of the tooth and extends upward towards the gum line. This is due to the fact that that enamel is naturally opaque. The yellowish white coloring that many of us see when we smile is caused by a combination of factors, including the presence of dentin. It starts at the gum line and works its way downward. That’s why the tips of a young person’s teeth often appear more translucent than the rest.

As we march onward towards adulthood, the dentin in our teeth continues to grow until the entire tooth may appear yellowish white. It typically remains that color until something goes wrong or we approach old age. The list of other things that may cause our teeth’s dentin to deteriorate includes, but doesn’t end with the following:

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

  • Osteoporosis

  • Dental Caries

  • Dentinogensis Imperfecta

  • Malnutrition or Bulimia

  • Unsafe whitening techniques

  • Injury to the Tooth’s Enamel

  • Bruxism

Cosmetic dentists can help reverse the process by protecting the remaining dentin and restoring what was lost. The protection is typically provided with the aid of tooth remineralization products, sealants and fluoride treatments. Restoration work, on the other hand, may involve the use of composite resins, porcelain veneers and crowns. To learn more about translucent teeth and how to make them appear white again, please contact us at the International Institute of Cosmetic Dentistry.