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?

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Hi, I’m Dr. B, practicing functional dentist for 35 years. I graduated from the Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, CA in 1987 and am a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), Academy of General Dentistry (Chicago, IL), American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH), and Dental Board of California. I'm on a mission to empower people everywhere with the same evidence-based, easy-to-understand dental health advice that my patients get. Learn more about Dr. B

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.

Learn More: The Only All-Natural Teeth Whitening Methods I Recommend