Why are my teeth transparent?

transparency in teeth

Looking at your teeth in the mirror, do your teeth look 100% white and opaque all the way down? If not, you may be wondering why your teeth look transparent. Teeth transparency is a common complaint caused by the loss of tooth enamel either due to genetics, a medical condition, or erosion of the tooth enamel.

What causes teeth to be transparent?

Transparent teeth are caused by lost enamel. Most people with transparent teeth see the transparency at the biting tips of their teeth. More than just a cosmetic issue, if you’ve lost enamel at the ends of your teeth, those areas are not as strong as they should be and could experience cracks and chips.

Enamel loss can be genetic or caused by certain medications or foods that you eat. Transparent teeth can be caused by:

  • Acidic erosion: Acidic foods like coffee, citrus fruits, sodas, and sour candies can eat away at your tooth enamel and cause the teeth to appear transparent.
  • Enamel hypoplasia – This is a genetic condition that causes a lack of mineralization in the teeth. People with enamel hypoplasia often have brittle teeth and very thin enamel.
  • Acid reflux – Stomach acid that makes its way to the mouth can wear away tooth enamel.
  • Frequent vomiting – Like acid reflux, vomiting introduces stomach acid into the mouth, which wears away tooth enamel.
  • Dry mouth – Your saliva contains elements like calcium, bicarbonate and phosphorus, which repair and protect tooth enamel. Without enough saliva, enamel loss can occur.
  • Celiac disease – People with celiac disease often have tooth enamel damage such as transparent teeth.

What can I do about transparent teeth?

Once tooth enamel is lost, there is no way to replace it. If you don’t like the look of your transparent teeth, cosmetic options can help restore your smile and make your teeth stronger, too.

Bonding – With bonding, your dentist will apply a composite resin that is the same color as your teeth to the surface of your teeth. This makes the teeth appear brighter white and opaque, as well as strengthening them.

Veneers – Veneers are covers placed on the front side of your own natural teeth. Veneers improve the look of your teeth as well as protect them from any further erosion.

Crowns – Crowns are like veneers, except they cover the entire surface of the tooth. Crowns are appropriate for people with more severe enamel loss who are experiencing lots of chips and cracks in the teeth.

Remineralizing transparent teeth

Though enamel cannot be restored, you can help to remineralize your teeth to make them stronger and protect the tooth enamel that you have. Some things you can do to help remineralize your teeth include:

  • Make sure you’re getting enough calcium in your diet. If you’re not, consider taking calcium supplements or making certain dietary changes.
  • Use toothpaste containing fluoride.
  • Opt for in-office fluoride treatments.
  • Increase your water consumption to ward off dry mouth so your body has an easier time naturally remineralizing your teeth.