Treatments

Can Whitening My Teeth Make Them Appear Translucent?

Help! I've been using whitening strips and now my front teeth appear translucent. What can I do to correct my smile?

by Dr. Burhenne

Can Whitening My Teeth Make Them Appear Translucent?
Q:

Over the past few years, my front teeth have become increasingly translucent. I started to notice it after I used Listerine teeth whitening strips (which I noticed have been pulled off the market.) Can whitening my teeth make them appear translucent? Is there anything that can be done to correct my smile?

A: I don’t think it was the whitening strips. Whitening doesn’t typically make teeth appear translucent and if it does, it’s not permanent.

I suspect that you’re grinding your teeth in a protrusive grinding motion to the point where you are edging the incisal tips, which are the biting edges of teeth. Those edges are being worn from the back at an angle and the effect is almost prismatic – the worn edges are thinner and the effect is that you’re able to see right through them, creating the translucent appearance you mention.

The reason you may have been noticing this while using whitening strips is that whitening your teeth makes the contrast greater. See your dentist, who will tell you if you’re grinding your teeth.

The solution is to wear a night guard to protect your teeth from future grinding, or chipping away of the teeth. You should also troubleshoot the root cause of your grinding, which is a major symptom of sleep apnea, stress, and other conditions.

Blog Notes: About Mark Burhenne DDS

Welcome! My name is Dr. Mark Burhenne, or Dr. B for short. When did we start seeing the mouth as separate from the rest of the human body?

The mouth doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is intimately connected to the health of the rest of the body.

In fact, the bacteria and entire environment inside the mouth are connected to the rest of your body so intimately that the state of your oral health can predict whether you’ll have heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.

In my 30 years of practice as a dentist, I’ve seen a lot of misinformation and people who have fallen through the cracks due to our healthcare system’s failure to understand the oral-body connection.

I created this blog to empower people to understand how your mouth is a window into the health of the rest of your body.

It is my sincere hope that the knowledge and tools on this blog will lead to greater health and well-being for you and those you love.

Throughout this website you’ll find high-quality articles and free resources for getting and staying healthy. It’s the info I use to keep myself and my family healthy, and how I treat my patients.

I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a B.S. in Biochemistry and B.A. in History of Art and had the privilege of attending the University of the Pacific Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, consistently ranked among the best in the US.

I am an active member of several continuing education groups and study clubs in prosthetics and periodontology that perform actual clinical work on patients. I have worked as an expert witness in legal dental cases. I’ve also volunteered as a dental surgeon in Jos, Nigeria.

I raised three daughters without cavities (all without ingestion of fluoride). I enjoy downhill skiing, alpine touring, mountain biking, photography, and listening to jazz and classical records (you know, those flat analog 12-inch vinyl discs).

I am passionate about restoring teeth to their original function and beauty – and as someone who studied art history and is a hobbyist photographer, the intersection of art and the opportunity to help people makes dentistry my dream profession.

I welcome your comments and questions and encourage you to like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter to get the latest on oral and dental health.

Mark Burhenne DDS

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Dr. Mark Burhenne DDS

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