Craze lines, which are vertical lines in the enamel of our teeth, are tiny cracks that can become discolored. This can often be embarrassing, but does not mean that your actual tooth is becoming cracked. The easiest way to correct the cosmetic problems that craze lines can cause is to have your teeth whitened. Thanks for visiting Mountain View Family Dental of Brighton, CO. Enjoy reading.
Craze Lines: Vertical Lines in Our Teeth
These vertical lines in front teeth are actually known as craze lines. Over years of use, our teeth tend to develop tiny cracks in the hard outer layer known as enamel. These cracks normally don’t cause any pain, but can easily stain, causing embarrassing discolored lines on your front teeth.
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 or by any other process that causes a lot of stress on our teeth.
Some common causes of craze lines are biting your nails, grinding your teeth (many people do it in their sleep without realizing it), using your teeth as tools, trauma to your teeth, or simply routine use of your teeth.
In Dr. Cohen’s textbook about root canals, he states, “Craze lines are merely cracks in the enamel that do not extend into the dentin and either occur naturally or develop after trauma.”
This case report describes a situation where craze lines were caused by biting on hard objects such as the top ring of an aluminum soda pop can. Speaking of metal rings, wearing tongue rings can cause craze lines in your teeth.
Interestingly, some research points to temperature changes as a possible cause of craze lines. That’s a great incentive to not chew ice cubes (especially after drinking hot coffee!)
One other cause of craze lines that should be discussed is going to the dentist. This research article states that he process of drilling away a cavity and filling a tooth can cause craze lines. That’s certainly not a reason to avoid the dentist, though, since craze lines are harmless whereas untreated cavities can lead to significant complications.
Do Craze Lines Mean Your Teeth are Cracked?
Although craze lines are very tiny cracks in the outermost layer of your tooth, you don’t need to worry about your tooth cracking in half.
One good way to think about craze lines is to take a look at the photo of this porcelain doll. The cracks in the porcelain occurred after years of use. Although they are cosmetically displeasing, the cracks don’t mean that the doll’s head is about to crack open!
If you suffer from craze lines, you’ll be pleased to know that the way that our teeth forms makes the enamel highly resistant to cracking.
A recent study looked at the crack resistance of the enamel in our teeth compared to a synthetic enamel. The study concluded, “While enamel is the most highly mineralized tissue of the human body, the microstructural arrangement of the prisms promotes exceptional resistance to crack growth.”
If that isn’t enough, this study says that “The microstructure of enamel is functionally optimized to guide cracks from the more brittle outer enamel inwards where they experience higher growth resistance and are prevented from causing fracture and chipping.”
This study found that enamel is about three times as tough as the naturally-occurring crystals of hydroxyapatite (the crystal that our tooth is made from.)
How to Get Rid of Craze Lines
So, what should you do if you have craze lines and you hate how they look? There are a few alternatives.
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