Craze lines are tiny cracks that appear on the enamel or outside covering of the teeth. If you notice these cracks, should you be concerned? Are they an indication that the tooth may crack completely? It's logical to have these questions, but it's important to know that the cracks are not harmful in most cases.
What causes these lines? The short answer is normal tooth function: years of chewing! They usually appear as multiple vertical cracks on the front or back teeth. If evident on the front teeth, they may be more obvious and troubling, especially if you suddenly notice them.
These lines appear naturally over time, though they may be caused by mouth functions other than chewing. They can result from biting nails, ripping or cutting objects with your teeth or grinding your teeth, also known as bruxism.
Effects on Dental Health
Craze lines are common in adult teeth and usually require no treatment. From a dental health perspective, they are considered benign and are only a cosmetic concern. They can become stained from certain beverages and from tobacco use. Your dental health professional can determine if the cracks extend beyond the enamel and will pay close attention to them if they notice injury to the tooth or evidence of grinding.
In the vast majority of cases, these lines have no symptoms. There are no valid studies supporting the notion that craze lines allow bacteria to enter the tooth. However, a study published in Odontology explored the possibility that teeth with craze lines may experience increased sensitivity after bleaching treatments.
How can you prevent these lines from appearing on your teeth? Unfortunately, you may not be able to avoid them completely. However, regular dental visits will allow your dentist or dental hygienist to recognize any potential threats to your dental health. Preventive measures like developing a good oral hygiene routine and wearing a mouth guard if you have a habit of grinding or clenching will help you keep your teeth healthy.
If these minor cracks are a cosmetic concern, dental procedures like bondings or veneers can make you love your smile again. If your cracks become painful or more pronounced, see your dentist for an dental evaluation.