Craze lines are hairline cracks in the outer enamel of the teeth and can appear as vertical lines on the surface. These cracks do not extend into the interior of the tooth, which is also known as the pulp. Craze lines often develop as you age and are not usually an indication of poor oral health. Although they are purely a cosmetic concern in most cases, some patients are unhappy with the appearance of their smile due to these small cracks. There are various aesthetic treatments that may be beneficial.
How Do I Avoid Craze Lines?
Normal wear and tear and time are usually the cause of craze lines, and these cannot be entirely avoided. However, there are a few ways that you can help minimize the formation of craze lines. Avoid putting stress on the teeth by reducing bad habits such as nail biting, eating ice cubes, using your teeth for anything other than eating, or knocking on your teeth with oral jewelry like a tongue piercing. If you play contact sports, you also may be more vulnerable to developing craze lines. It is important to wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth from cracks in the enamel.
Another culprit can be bruxism, which is the medical term for grinding your teeth. Work on eliminating stress and unconscious clenching and grinding. This will help lessen the chances of craze lines. If you suffer from bruxism, ask your dentist about a mouthguard or night guard. Getting treated for bruxism can reduce jaw/tooth pain and prevent serious damage.
An uneven bite can also lead to craze lines. When your bite is uneven your teeth do not meet where they are supposed to when you close your mouth. For many patients, an uneven bite can be corrected by Invisalign, which will shift the teeth to form an even smile.
When Are Craze Lines a Problem?
While craze lines are usually harmless, sometimes they can become stained and can impact your appearance. If you drink coffee, red wine, tea, dark sodas, or smoke or chew tobacco, these can further darken these lines. Craze line stains rarely respond to brushing. Don’t let these stains keep you from smiling. If you are unhappy with the look of these lines, then we can help with professional teeth whitening. Porcelain veneers may also be beneficial to cover surface-level cracks.
Craze lines are usually purely cosmetic but if you suffer from pain, sensitivity, or swollen gums, you will need to see your dentist immediately to be assessed and treated. These symptoms can be an indication of a cracked tooth that extends into the pulp. If left untreated, this can damage not only the exterior of the tooth, but the interior as well.
While craze lines are cosmetic in nature, it is still important for your overall oral health to get the proper dental care for them. Treatments like veneers and dental bonding not only make you look better, they also have restorative benefits and make your teeth stronger. Straightening your teeth and correcting your bite can have many positive effects like an easier time eating, talking, brushing, and flossing and a reduction of pain in your teeth or jaw and other more serious issues.
Treatment for Craze Lines
If you have questions about craze lines or any other marks in the enamel of your teeth, our team at Smith Dentalworks can help. We have many cosmetic treatments available to remove staining or repair damage.