If you’ve noticed very fine lines in your teeth, you may have craze lines. Maybe you’ve heard about this condition, or maybe it’s new to you. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what craze lines are, how you can prevent them, and how they’re different from cracks in your teeth.
What Are Craze Lines?
Craze lines are light, vertical, hairline cracks in tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the tough substance that coats the visible exterior of your teeth and protects the softer tissues inside, like the dentin and tooth pulp. In some cases, craze lines are so light, you’ll only be able to see them with a very close inspection. In other cases, craze lines can appear a bit darker with a yellowish, grayish, or brownish color. Craze lines are generally harmless, but deeper craze lines can expose the softer parts of your teeth and cause tooth sensitivity.
What Causes Craze Lines?
If you’ve noticed these small cracks in your teeth, you might wonder what causes craze lines. Craze lines are generally caused by stress to your teeth. This might be from several different causes, including:
Bruxism: Bruxism, or teeth grinding, usually occurs at night, and it puts extra stress on your teeth.
Heavy impacts: Being struck in the jaw or face can put a lot of sudden stress on teeth, and can cause craze lines on the impacted teeth.
Large fillings: If cavities aren’t addressed, large parts of a tooth can decay, which requires a large filling. These can put stress on the rest of the tooth, and can cause craze lines.
Chewing hard objects: Frequently chewing on harder objects, like pen caps, ice, or other things can put extra stress on teeth and cause craze lines.
Tooth misalignment: If your teeth are misaligned, force won’t distribute evenly as you chew. Some teeth will be put under more stress than others, and this extra stress can cause craze lines on these teeth.
The Difference Between Craze Lines and Tooth Cracks
While a deeper craze line that is visually noticeable to the naked yet may cause you to fret, these shallow cracks are typically harmless and do not generally require attention. If you have an actual crack in your tooth that goes beyond the enamel, this is a dental emergency, and you should see a dentist right away. A crack in your tooth exposes the softer tissues in your teeth to bacteria, and your sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks will be very high.
So, how can you tell if you have craze lines or a cracked tooth? While a craze line may lead to some light sensitivity, a crack in your tooth can be very painful, and can make it difficult to chew, or even sleep or talk. An actual crack in the tooth will also be darker and much more visible than craze lines.
If you live in the greater Las Vegas area and are experiencing shooting pains when something touches your tooth and see or think you may have a cracked tooth, make an appointment with one of our dentists today.
What You Can Do About Craze Lines
If you have craze lines and these fine cracks in your enamel are more visible than you’d like, or they’re causing you discomfort, there are solutions. If you visit your dentist, there are a few things you can do about craze lines.
- Bonding: Your dentist can apply a dental resin over the craze lines to cover them and strengthen the tooth.
- Contouring: Your dentist can gently buff and contour your tooth to remove the appearance of the lines.
- Veneers: Veneers are thin coverings that your dentist can apply over tooth surfaces to conceal imperfections.
- Whitening: If craze lines appear discolored on your teeth, teeth whitening may help to make them less visible. Talk to your dentist before using whitening methods on visible craze lines. If your dentin is exposed, whitening products may hurt your teeth or worsen tooth sensitivity.
How to Prevent Craze Lines
If you’re worried about craze lines, or you think you have them and you don’t want them to get worse, there are some things you can do to prevent craze lines from forming or worsening. The best ways to prevent craze lines are to reduce stress on your teeth. Here are a few tips:
- Mouth guard for sleep: Nighttime teeth grinding is a common cause of craze lines, and wearing a mouthguard at night can help absorb the extra stress and protect your teeth.
- Mouth guard for sports: Wearing a mouth guard made for sports can protect your teeth from the type of heavy impacts that can cause craze lines.
- Reduce bad habits: If you often find yourself chewing on objects throughout the day, reducing these habits can help you keep your teeth safer.
If you notice craze lines on your teeth, don’t panic. Taking a few measures to protect your teeth can stop these lines from getting worse, and practicing good dental hygiene will keep your teeth healthy. If you’re concerned about craze lines on your teeth or you think you have a cracked tooth, make an appointment with a dentist.