Do you see cracks in your front teeth? These are hairline cracks also known as craze lines.
These superficial vertical lines appear on your enamel usually as a person ages.
The lines can be translucent, gray, brown or yellow in color.
While they may look unsightly, they are not a cause of worry.
It is simply a cosmetic imperfection.
That said, it can still bother you.
Thus there are ways to prevent and treat it but for that, you will first have to know where they come from.
This article discusses the causes, treatment and prevention of these superficial cracks. Keep reading to know more!
What Causes Craze Lines in Teeth?
These vertical lines appear on your tooth enamel and stay there.
They do not get deeper into your dentin or pulp.
As you age, your enamel is exposed to daily wear and tear through the action of chewing and grinding.
Thus your teeth are put under pressure through these actions.
As a result, the enamel wears down and these lines form in the shape of cracks.
While they resemble a crack, it is important to note that it is not actually a crack as it does not reach beyond the tooth enamel.
Besides chewing and biting, other actions can also cause these lines over the years, such as:
If you suffer from bruxism then regular grinding of your teeth can wear down the enamel.
Teeth grinding exerts pressure on your teeth thus eventually forming these harmless but unappealing lines.
Changes in Temperature
A rather unusual cause is the rapid change of temperature in your mouth.
This happens when you are eating and drinking food at different temperatures.
For instance, eating a hot meal with a cold glass of water.
Biting your nails can weaken your enamel over time.
Hence, if you keep up with nail-biting since young then you are more susceptible to getting these superficial cracks.
So can using your teeth as a tool.
Do not open packaging with your teeth because this can harm the enamel as well as create cracks.
While filings help to recover your tooth from the harm of cavities, large fillings can put pressure on it too.
This pressure can weaken the enamel resulting in the lines.
Injury to the Mouth
A mouth injury or one to teeth, chin or jaw can also wear down the enamel.
Misalignment of teeth causes an uneven bite.
As a result, the upper and lower teeth do not meet properly.
This can exert pressure thus, weakening the teeth.
Chewing Hard Objects
If you are fond of chewing ice and other hard objects then you put your teeth in harm’s way.
These hard objects like bones and fruit stones can result in cracks as well as enamel wear and tear.
Craze lines are shallow and vertical.
They not only occur on the front but also on the back of the teeth.
You can have multiple lines on a tooth.
While they can appear as you grow old, it is also possible to have them young.
This is usually because of the other causes and habits.
They are quite noticeable and may also reflect light if the lines are translucent.
But are they the same as cracks?
Let’s find out in detail below!
Craze Lines vs Cracked Tooth: Are They The Same?
A cracked tooth reaches the pulp. This can result in an infection.
These hairline cracks are just a minor form of a crack that will not worsen beyond its appearance on the enamel.
Hence, you do not need any further treatment to preserve the tooth.
However, you may like to reduce its appearance.
They can increase your self-consciousness.
Thus, treatment can be for cosmetic purposes otherwise it is not needed.
Cracks, on the other hand, will cause other symptoms as they reach beyond the enamel.
Therefore, if there is swelling, pain as well as sensitivity then it is a crack rather than a craze line.
In that case, you will require a root canal treatment if the infection has increased.
The lines do not cause pain and they do not make your teeth susceptible to cracks.
But as your enamel weakens, your teeth are more likely to get cavities.
You can prevent this from happening by following a good oral care routine.
Brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly.
Other than that, the lines do not weaken your teeth overall besides affecting the appearance of your teeth.
But what can you do the fix the lines? More on that below!
Treating the Superficial Cracks Through Teeth Whitening
The lines can be translucent but also gray, brown or yellow in color.
Due to that, they can become even more unappealing.
What’s worse, these lines can make your teeth prone to staining.
Therefore, if you drink tea and coffee, smoke and chew tobacco then you are predisposed to the stains.
There is a solution in teeth whitening treatment to reduce their appearance.
Whitening solutions include:
- teeth whitening kit
- teeth whitening pen
- zoom teeth whitening
- laser teeth whitening
- whitening toothpaste
You can get the best results by visiting a dentist.
Zoom teeth whitening can give you up to 8 times whiter teeth hence also decreasing the pigment of the lines.
Laser teeth whitening is another procedure you can get at the dentists’.
If you are not sure about whitening treatments working, you can always start with at-home kits.
These contain mouthguards, strips, pens and toothpaste.
Essentially, most of these contain a gel with a bleaching agent such as carbamide peroxide.
However, a teeth whitening toothpaste may contain the abrasive baking soda instead.
Start with these treatments at home to see any change in the appearance of your lines.
Also, remember to brush properly because otherwise, you can get cavities.
Bacteria and plaque can get stuck in between the lines predisposing your teeth to decay.
So, while you are whitening your teeth, clean them properly too.
Other than whitening, you can get dental procedures to get rid of the lines.
Dental treatments such as veneers, bonding and cosmetic contouring can change the look of your teeth hiding the imperfections.
Your dentist can fill in the cracks with a composite or plastic resin.
This is known as dental bonding.
If the crack has turned into a fracture then you may also need cosmetic contouring.
Craze lines will not worsen hence, it is probably a cracked tooth from the beginning.
Therefore, the cosmetic contouring will smoothen the edges of the cracked tooth.
Another popular solution is to get veneers.
Veneers are made of plastic or porcelain.
They can fit right over your tooth and improve its appearance.
These shells go on the front of your teeth where the lines will be visible.
Besides covering for these lines, they can also restore chipping and cracks.
So veneers can be your solution to cover the lines completely.
However, if there is another reason behind it, then maybe dealing with that can help.
If there is enamel wear and tear due to teeth grinding then your doctor can recommend wearing a mouth guard at night.
This may not stop you from grinding teeth but will at least protect your teeth from damage by covering them.
Since the lines can concern you, seeking treatment in order to whiten them or covering them remains your only option.
That said, you can also take steps to prevent the lines from occurring.
Overtime wear and tear may not be preventable because the pressure is exerted on teeth while chewing.
Though, you can address the unhealthy habits that cause the cracks.
Preventing Craze Lines
First off, get rid of the habits that can potentially cause the lines in the near future. Such as:
- teeth grinding
- ice chewing
- using your teeth as tools
These habits result in the wearing down of enamel causing superficial cracks to form.
For teeth grinding, you can start exercising and meditating to reduce your stress.
Bruxism stems from taking stress.
Hence, notice your stress triggers so that you do not grind and gnaw your teeth during your sleep.
Alongside also consult your doctor and get a mouthguard.
In order to stop nail-biting, you can wear gloves.
Also, be careful to never chew ice or other hard objects.
Make sure, you no longer use your teeth to tear packaging or open a bottle.
This can cause a crack, a fracture and over time the lines appear.
Nicotine and tobacco products can worsen staining in your teeth.
The lines will darken.
Hence, you need to abandon dark beverages, smoking, chewing tobacco and other foods plus drinks that can further worsen your stains.
Also, take good care of your oral hygiene.
Since, the bacteria can settle into the lines posing a risk of cavities, brush your teeth and floss regularly.
With the course of time, craze lines may appear.
All in all, it is a cosmetic imperfection and not a cause for concern.
Thus, if you are bothered by them you should get treatment to cover them through whitening, bonding or applying veneers.