Healthy teeth look white and solid, but sometimes even white teeth can begin to look somewhat translucent, or see-through. This is especially common for people who have had braces or oral health problems. If you've noticed that parts of your teeth appear to be translucent, read on to learn how this problem develops and what you can do about it.
Why They Look That Way
Teeth shouldn't look translucent if your mouth is healthy. When teeth become translucent, that means that the enamel that should be protecting your teeth has thinned. This can cause the edges of your teeth to be slightly see-through, giving a paler appearance than a healthy, solid-white tooth.
This is typically a problem caused by poor oral hygiene or due to having braces. When acid or bacteria is allowed to build up on the teeth, erosion of the enamel can take place. If it's stopped early enough, a cavity won't form, but the damaged enamel will remain. Thankfully, this problem doesn't have to be permanent. There are two potential ways you can deal with it: restoring the enamel, or covering the tooth.
Fixing The Enamel
If you fix the enamel on your teeth, you don't need to worry about your tooth being translucent anymore. Dentists can achieve this with a process called remineralization. Remineralization is what it sounds like; your dentist uses a specialized process to feed the enamel of your teeth with calcium and fluoride. This strengthens the enamel and restores its appearance, which should make your teeth look solid and potentially even whiter than they were. In addition, this process will help to protect your teeth from further damage, which is a good idea if your regularly drink acidic beverages or still have moderate to poor oral hygiene.
Covering The Damage
If your oral hygiene is good and you've reversed the problems that caused your teeth to become translucent, you can opt for veneers instead. Veneers are porcelain teeth-shaped covers that are adhered to the front of teeth, giving the appearance of healthy and solid teeth. It's nearly impossible to tell the difference between a veneer and a healthy tooth just by looking at them, so they're a great option for people with minor cosmetic problems like translucent enamel who just want to quickly hide the problem.
Translucent enamel is a heads-up that your oral hygiene either currently has or did have a problem. If you're upset about the way your teeth look, you should talk to a cosmetic dentist to learn what your best options are for repairing your teeth.