fitting family dental visits into a crazy schedule

Craze Lines: Ugly But Easy To Deal With

by Andre Daniels

If you smiled one day and saw a long, vertical line running down one of your front teeth, do not panic. While that line could be a real crack that needs attention, it may also be a craze line, a partial crack in the tooth's enamel that doesn't go all the way through the enamel. Craze lines can look horrible, but they are harmless. You also have a number of ways to make them look better.

What They Are and Why They Occur

A craze line is a vertical crack that can appear on part of the tooth or run from the top to the bottom. As mentioned, this is a partial crack in the enamel, but overall, the enamel of your tooth is still basically intact, protecting the material inside. Craze lines occur when there has been excessive stress on the tooth. One potential cause is if you've been clenching your teeth in your sleep; another possible cause is a major temperature swing, like eating very hot food (temperature-hot, not spicy-hot) and then drinking something very cold. Craze lines may be barely visible, or they can be blindingly obvious because stain has built up in the crack.

How to Fix Them

Having your teeth cleaned can often reduce the stain in the craze line; whitening methods may also help. It's important to brush your teeth regularly to prevent stain from increasing, and if you regularly drink or eat staining substances like tea, berries, and coffee, you must be extra careful about oral hygiene. If nothing else works, you can always have a veneer placed on the tooth.

How to Tell if the Tooth Needs Attention

If the tooth hurts, or if the stain seems to be turning into decay, then you need to have a dentist look at the tooth in a non-cosmetic light. Pain and decay are signs that the line has gone from being just a craze line to an actual crack. That's as unpleasant as it sounds, and you need to get attention for that tooth as soon as possible.

If you think what you have might be craze lines but aren't sure, or if you want to discuss ways to reduce the line's appearance, contact your dentist. Craze lines are very common, and you and your dentist can figure out the right treatment plan. For more information about craze lines, talk to a dentist like Justice Dental.