The purpose was to review the translucency of human teeth and related dental materials that should be considered for the development of esthetic restorative materials. Translucency is the relative amount of light transmission or diffuse reflection from a substrate surface through a turbid medium. Translucency influences the masking ability, color blending effect, and the degree of light curing through these materials. Regarding the translucency indices, transmission coefficient, translucency parameter, and contrast ratio have been used, and correlations among these indices were confirmed. Translucency of human enamel and dentine increases in direct proportion to the wavelength of incident light in the visible light range. As for the translucency changes by aging, limited differences were reported in human dentine, while those for enamel proved to increase. There have been studies for the adjustment of translucency in dental esthetic restorative materials; the size and amount of filler and the kind of resin matrix were modified in resin composites, and the kind of ingredient and the degree of crystallization were modified in ceramics. Based on the translucency properties of human enamel and dentine, those of replacing restorative materials should be optimized for successful esthetic rehabilitation. Biomimetic simulation of the natural tooth microstructure might be a promising method.