When you look in the mirror and see craze lines on your teeth, you might start to panic.
Although it may be stressful to see these vertical cracks running through your tooth enamel, it shouldn’t cause you any concern. They are a normal part of aging, and unless you have symptoms like pain and swelling, your teeth aren’t really cracked.
How Do They Start?
Craze lines may start because you grind your teeth at night, you keep your jaw clenched due to stress or you bite your nails too often. They also may be caused by rapid temperature changes, like drinking something hot then eating something cold.
Your teeth can withstand the pressure, thanks to your strong tooth enamel, but that doesn’t mean the wear and tear won’t show up after a time, and that’s what craze lines are.
They’re Different Than Cracks
Sure, craze lines may be unsightly, but they’re not dangerous. The crack stops at the tooth enamel, and does not extend into the tooth or touch the dentin.
A cracked tooth is a bigger problem that threatens the health of the tooth. Cracks that reach beneath the enamel, into the dentin and potentially to the inner pulp make the tooth vulnerable to bacterial infection. Cracks also make a tooth weak, so any additional pressure could cause it to fracture even further.
Cracks must be treated right away, whereas craze lines don’t require treatment at all. You still should have them evaluated by your dentist, just to make sure they’re surface imperfections only, but don’t lose sleep over their appearance — it can be rectified.
How to Get Rid of Them
The first step to reducing the appearance of these imperfections is to whiten your teeth. In many cases, the reasons you notice them at all is because food and drink are caught inside and stain. Whitening can eliminate staining, and it will seem like the lines have disappeared.
It’s also possible to resolve the problem through cosmetic bonding or veneers, but to get the maximum value from tooth restorations, it’s important to address the cause. If they appeared due to TMJ, bruxism or any other jaw disorder, treating these issues will help ensure they won’t appear again in the future.
Ultimately, you don’t have to worry that craze lines will lead to further tooth damage — this rarely is the case. The best way to take care of your teeth is to focus on regular oral hygiene and visit your dentist at the recommended scheduled intervals.
Oak Hills Dentistry will give you personalized feedback on the health of your teeth and offer you solutions if the appearance of craze lines is causing you concern.