When you first notice the line on your tooth, you might be tempted to panic. Our teeth are so important to our self-identity that any sign of danger can evoke an immediate and strong reaction. But, if you’re noticing a line in your tooth resembling a crack that has no other symptoms and is causing you no pain, there’s a very good chance that you don’t need to panic at all. Craze lines, although they can be scary in appearance, are not a panic moment, but rather a cosmetic condition. So what, exactly, are craze lines and what, if anything, should be done about them?
What Are Craze Lines?
Craze lines are small cracks in the enamel only of the tooth. The cracks do not extend into the inner parts of the tooth. Enamel does not contain any nerves, so the enamel is the only part of the tooth that is involved, it does not hurt. The cracks can be on any tooth; although they are more common on back teeth that have more chewing stress, they may be more visible if they occur on front teeth.
How Common Are Craze Lines?
Craze lines can be fairly common as we get older. They are a natural consequence of a lifetime of chewing, and they are more common in people who grind or clench their teeth. Basically, the more force you regularly apply to your teeth, the more likely you are to have craze lines.
How Can You Tell If A Line Is A Craze Line Or A Deeper Crack?
You probably will need to visit your dental care team for a definitive answer. However, if the crack is visible only, does not get bigger across its length, and causes no pain, it’s more likely to be a craze line. Your dentist may use a diagnostic light to see if the light shines through the whole tooth or only a part. If the whole tooth lights up, the inner structures of the tooth are intact and the line is a craze line. Your dentist may use a microscope to examine the tooth surface and verify that the inner parts of the tooth are not involved.
Are Craze Lines Dangerous?
Craze lines are considered cosmetic defects, not structural defects. They do not require specific treatment, although if they are in a visible spot, you may prefer to have them treated for cosmetic reasons.
Can Craze Lines Cause Other Problems?
Although they are generally not considered problems, one study found that they make it slightly more likely to experience tooth sensitivity after whitening using hydrogen peroxide. If you know you have craze lines and are looking at tooth whitening, consider the risks of sensitivity and the potential benefits of adding a remineralizing gel with nano-hydroxyapatite to help manage the additional risk.
What Can Be Done For Craze Lines?
Conventional treatment for craze lines is to treat the appearance if it is bothersome. Your dental care team may recommend veneers or bonding to improve the overall appearance of the tooth. Of course, well-mineralized teeth may be better resistant to cracking or any other type of damage (like dental caries). Consider working at home and with your dental team on remineralizing strategies for your teeth to treat existing cracks and to try and prevent future craze lines or serious cracks from developing.
If you are concerned about a problem with your teeth, it’s always best to check with your dental care team to make sure you are taking the best steps to preserve your oral health. They can help you correctly identify any problems and select a course of care that will help you meet your oral health goals.