Can Craze Lines Turn into Cracks? What You Need to Know About Tooth Enamel Fractures
If you have ever noticed thin, vertical lines on your teeth, you may have wondered what they are and if they pose any risk to your oral health. These lines are called craze lines, and they are very common among adults. Craze lines are superficial cracks in the enamel, the hard outer layer of the tooth. They do not affect the inner layers of the tooth, such as the dentin or the pulp, and they are usually harmless.
However, some people may be concerned that craze lines can turn into deeper cracks that can cause pain, sensitivity, infection, or tooth loss. In this article, we will explain what causes craze lines, how to prevent them from worsening, and how to treat them if they become a cosmetic or functional problem.
What Causes Craze Lines?
Craze lines can develop over time due to various factors that put stress on the enamel. Some of these factors include:
Chewing hard foods or objects, such as ice, nuts, popcorn kernels, pens, or fingernails.
Grinding or clenching your teeth, especially at night. This habit is also known as bruxism, and it can cause excessive wear and tear on your teeth.
Temperature changes, such as drinking hot coffee and then cold water. This can cause the enamel to expand and contract, creating tiny cracks.
Trauma or injury, such as getting hit in the mouth by a ball, a fist, or a car accident. This can cause sudden and severe damage to the enamel.
Aging, as the enamel naturally becomes thinner and weaker over time.
Craze lines can affect any tooth, but they are more noticeable on the front teeth, especially if they are stained by tobacco, coffee, tea, wine, or other substances.
How to Prevent Craze Lines from Worsening?
Although craze lines are usually not a serious concern, they can become worse if you do not take care of your teeth properly. Here are some tips to prevent craze lines from turning into deeper cracks:
Brush and floss your teeth regularly, at least twice a day. This will help remove plaque and bacteria that can weaken the enamel.
Use a fluoride toothpaste, which can help strengthen the enamel and protect it from decay.
Avoid acidic foods and drinks, such as citrus fruits, soda, vinegar, or wine. These can erode the enamel and make it more prone to cracking.
Drink water after eating or drinking anything that can stain your teeth, such as coffee, tea, wine, or berries. This will help rinse away the pigments and prevent them from settling into the craze lines.
Wear a mouthguard if you play contact sports or if you grind or clench your teeth at night. This will help cushion your teeth and prevent them from cracking due to trauma or pressure.
Visit your dentist regularly, at least twice a year. Your dentist can check your teeth for any signs of damage and provide professional cleaning and polishing to remove stains and smooth out the craze lines.
How to Treat Craze Lines?
If craze lines are causing you discomfort or affecting your appearance, you may want to consider some treatment options to improve them. Depending on the severity and location of the craze lines, your dentist may suggest one of the following options:
Bonding, which involves applying a tooth-colored resin material to fill in the cracks and restore the shape and color of the tooth.
Veneers, which are thin shells of porcelain or composite that are bonded to the front surface of the tooth to cover the craze lines and enhance the appearance of the tooth.
Crowns, which are caps that cover the entire tooth to protect it from further damage and restore its function and aesthetics.