Why does my tooth look transparent?

As you age, our tooth enamel can wear away through normal wear and tear. When this happens, it can make the teeth appear transparent. While this is considered to be a natural form of tooth discoloration, the process can be sped along by the effects of acids in the foods and beverages we consume.

What is acid erosion?

All of the food we eat and beverages we drink contain or break down into natural acids. Tooth wear from acid erosion occurs when these acids begins to eat away at the tooth enamel. One of the most common causes of this are soft drinks, however it can also be caused by healthy beverages such as orange juice. Over time, the dentin underneath the enamel becomes visible, and your tooth appears somewhat transparent.

How will acid erosion be treated?

Discoloration from acid erosion cannot be treated the same way as other forms of tooth discoloration. Because the enamel is being worn away, your teeth become weaker. This leaves them more prone to breaking, chipping, or cracking. For most patients this can be treated using dental bonding. Not only will this return your teeth to a more natural appearance, it will also build the tooth back up to health. In some cases, you may receive other treatments instead, such as porcelain veneers or even dental crowns. This helps to protect the tooth and prevent any further damage. For some patients, acid erosion is being caused by a medical problem such as GERD or acid reflux disease. Treatment for these root causes should be done first.

Can acid erosion be prevented?

In some patients, acid erosion is preventable. When acid erosion is caused by dietary habits such as consumption of unhealthy foods or drinks, you can prevent further erosion of your tooth enamel by modifying the diet. Avoid sodas or overly acidic beverages. When brushing, use a soft-bristled toothbrush that has been approved by the American Dental Association. Our dentist may also recommend that you use a prescription fluoride supplement in order to remineralize your teeth and build them back up to a healthy level of enamel. If the underlying cause of erosion is due to a medical issue, you may need to begin using over-the-counter medications such as antacids. Increasing your intake of dairy products, can also help to reduce acid levels in the mouth and stomach.If you have noticed a tooth looking transparent or discolored, or if feel that you are experiencing the effects of acid erosion, call our office today to schedule a consultation. Our caring staff will be happy to answer any questions you might have, and we look forward to helping ensure that your smile is as healthy and bright as possible for years to come.

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