March 17, 2021
Translucent teeth are a result of wearing off of the enamel layer. The enamel is a hard tissue covering of the teeth that gives it strength and resistance to various forces and microorganisms. Below the enamel lies the dentin, another hard tissue layer that is responsible for protection of the tooth against external microorganisms. However, these two hard tissue layers play a major role in giving the tooth its characteristic colour. The removal of the enamel layer leaves the dentin exposed. An exposed dentin paves the gateway for further infection and sensitivity.
Teeth become translucent for many reasons. To begin with, hindrance in the tooth development process can lead to improper formation of the enamel or dentin. This hindrance can be genetic or traumatic in nature. Enamel hypoplasia or amelogenesis imperfecta are some of these developmental disorders. Another process through which the enamel coats off is due to consumption of high acidic food. These include alcohol, sodas, candies, coffee, etc. The acid destroys the crystals that make up the enamel and thereby erodes it.
Gastrointestinal disorders are another common reason for enamel loss. Frequent vomiting causes the stomach acids to brush against the back surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth that get affected the most. The reflux of acid, bloating or diarrhea seen after consumption of excess gluten diet can damage not only the intestines but also the enamel.
It is important that the oral cavity remains moist and hydrated. This function is satisfied by the saliva that is constantly secreted through the salivary ducts. However, there are conditions like Sjorgen's syndrome and xerostomia where there is less or complete cessation of the salivary flow. Apart from increasing age, such dry mouth can also be seen in diabetic patients and by the consumption of certain drugs. A dry mouth results in easy chipping off of the enamel as certain minerals obtained from the saliva are unavailable.
The biggest disadvantage of having translucent teeth is the fact that the enamel layer cannot regenerate. Thus, treatment usually involves adding an external biocompatible substance to improve strength and aesthetics of the teeth. Bonding the teeth with composite resins is a commonly used technique. These are tooth colored cements that lock with the eroded teeth and thereby are also long lasting.
Porcelain or metal crowns are another treatment modality. In some cases simply resin cements won't suffice. Severely eroded teeth may need to be covered with crowns for better durability and resistance. Depending on the tooth or teeth affected and the socioeconomic status of the patient, the dentist shall give the necessary options to the patient.
Veneers are shell-like coverings that can also be fixed in the affected teeth. These are popular among actors with less aesthetic teeth. They are used in mild to moderate severity of tooth discoloration or translucency.
In cases where teeth translucency is extremely mild, the dentist can suggest home remedies for the same. This involves intake of lactose-free milk, increased diet that is rich in calcium and Vitamin-D, consuming probiotic curd and regularly drinking water. The aim is to try and remineralize the teeth. So a remineralization toothpaste like GC Tooth Mousse may also be recommended. In the dental clinic, a dentist can also provide fluoride therapy which lasts for ten minutes.
Prevention is better than cure might be a cliché but it certainly holds true for translucent teeth. Translucent teeth can occur anytime in lifetime if not of genetic predisposition. Regular consumption of water keeps the mouth hydrated and the salivary flow intact. Chewing gums can also facilitate the salivary flow but should not be consumed excessively. There should be a restriction on acidic diets that are mentioned above. Sugary foods must also be consumed in a certain limit to prevent not only erosion but also tooth decay. Toothbrushing with a fluoride containing toothpaste can help in keeping the teeth mineralized.
A routine dental visit every 6 months can help you in knowing about the status of your teeth that includes the status of your enamel. The approach to translucent teeth should thus be such that they should be prevented first, treated at the earliest and ignored the least in order to prevent expensive cosmetic treatment modalities.