Let's talk about the reasons why your teeth may appear translucent and what to do about it!
Teeth are usually glossy looking and have some type of a sheen to them - transparency actually isn't the "normal look" for teeth. But if you have significant enamel damage, it can look like you have translucent teeth. Some translucency—especially along the biting edges of your front teeth—isn’t all that abnormal. But when we have translucency on a large scale, it’s usually due to something physically happening to your teeth that’s causing structural damage to them.
Generally speaking, dentists and dental lab technicians actually want some translucency when it comes to repairing broken teeth. That’s why certain types of porcelains or ceramics are recommended for repairing your “smile zone.” If the material was completely opaque, it would stand out and look unnatural.
To understand why teeth look translucent or clear, we have to first break down the layers of a tooth structure. First, we have the enamel which is the outermost coating or “shell” that goes around the crown of your tooth (the part that isn’t covered by gum tissue.) Enamel is some shade of white and is more transparent than any of the other tooth structures.
Next is dentin. Dentin makes up the bulk of your tooth. It’s the part under the enamel and that composes the majority of your tooth root. Dentin is yellow. Its shade and density impact the overall color of your teeth.
Cementum is an extremely thin layer that goes over the dentin on the root portion (not the crown.) You typically cannot see it, but microscopically it’s there.
Out of all three of these layers, enamel is the most transparent. While it’s not typically “see-through”, it does have some transparency to it in that light can shine through or bounce off of the structure. It’s not completely rock solid to the point where light can’t penetrate that area.
If you have more translucent teeth than someone else, or you notice that your teeth are starting to be more clear than they used to be, it means some type of physical change is going on with these tooth structures.
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