What Are Those Craze-y Lines in My Teeth?

Smoking smiling woman with craze lines in teeth.You look at your teeth in the mirror. You blink, and you look again – closer this time. You‘re shocked to notice vertical cracks running up and down the front of your teeth! Does this mean an emergency trip to the dentist? Don’t panic, you’re not going crazy. Just craze-y. Those thin, usually vertical lines on the front of your teeth are called craze lines. They’re the result of a lifetime of use, sometimes abuse, and often heredity. Craze lines are tiny fractures in the enamel of the tooth – its protective outside layer. They’re almost always harmless; however, they’re not visually appealing.

What Causes Craze Lines?

Craze lines can be caused by stress placed on a tooth. This can happen over the course of a lifetime of chewing, but it can also happen from stress on your teeth caused by actions like biting your nails, using your teeth as an opener, or grinding them. Yes, even fashion fads can cause crazing – metal tongue piercings which impact the teeth can also cause craze lines.

Another potential cause of craze lines is sudden temperature transitions. For example, washing down hot foods with a cold beverage causes your teeth to contract and expand, putting stress on the tooth enamel and causing it to crack. It’s the same effect that makes ice cubes crack when you drop them in water (one more reason not to chew ice cubes).

Finally, the cause of your craze lines could be in your DNA. If your parents’ teeth had craze lines, chances are, yours will too over the course of your lifetime.

What Can I Do About Them?

As previously mentioned, craze lines are usually nothing to worry about. They won’t weaken your teeth, and enamel itself is resistant to further cracking. One study found that enamel is about three times as tough as the naturally-occurring crystals of hydroxyapatite (the material that our teeth are made from.) However, if you do notice the cracks getting larger or becoming painful, it’s time to call the dentist. Both are signs that bacteria may have found a way in, causing damage to your teeth.

If your craze lines are becoming discolored and noticeable, the first thing you can do is reduce or eliminate the foods or habits that stain your teeth. Coffee, tea, red wine, and colored sodas are notorious tooth-staining culprits. If you’re not ready to cut back, consider brushing your teeth after enjoying one of these beverages. If you’re a smoker, stained craze lines are one more reason to quit. Your teeth – and the rest of your body – will thank you.

Another option for minimizing craze lines is to make them less noticeable through whitening treatments. Craze lines become visible because stains from food, beverages, or smoking work their way into the cracks, causing darkening and discoloration.

For severe craze lines, or those which won’t respond to whitening treatments, cosmetic veneers may be the best choice. Cosmetic veneers are a porcelain facing which is bonded/cemented to the front part of your natural tooth enamel. They are extremely durable and should last many years, as long as you maintain good oral health.

Contact Walbridge Dental

Concerned about those craze lines in your teeth? We can help. From routine cleaning and exams to advanced restorative treatments, the professionals at Walbridge Dental provide complete family dental care to families in the Millbury community. Contact us online to set up a visit now or call us at 419-836-1033.

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