If your teeth appear patchy or discolored, you may have craze lines. Craze lines are small vertical cracks in the enamel of the teeth. While these lines are not usually painful, they are unsightly and can indicate underlying issues.
Craze lines are not considered a dental emergency since the cracks are confined to the enamel and do not affect the interior of the tooth. However, craze lines can weaken your enamel over time, making you more vulnerable to tooth decay. Visit your dentist to have your craze lines assessed and restore your smile.
Symptoms of Craze Lines
The most obvious symptom of craze lines is the forming of vertical discoloration on the teeth. These can often present as brown or tan lines, although they can be red due to consuming colored foods and drinks, like berries and red wine.
Another symptom to watch out for is sensitivity. Since the lines are areas with weakened or no enamel, your tooth may be sensitive to heat, cold, or sugar. If the craze lines on your teeth hurt or are sensitive, it is a sign that they are craze fractures that require immediate treatment.
Causes of Craze Lines
Craze lines can form for a variety of reasons, including:
- Chewing: While regular chewing does not usually cause craze lines, chewing on hard foods regularly - such as hard candy or ice - can lead to craze lines. Accidentally biting down on silverware or a bone within a piece of meat can also lead to craze lines.
- Impact: A hard impact to the jaw or mouth, such as a fall, accident, or punch, can lead to craze lines forming.
- Gum disease: Gum disease can lead to bone loss, weakening the teeth and making them more susceptible to craze lines.
- Tooth grinding: Tooth grinding creates intense pressure on your teeth, weakening them and making it more likely for craze lines to form.
Craze Lines vs. Craze Fractures
A craze line is usually purely a cosmetic issue, while craze fractures are more serious. A craze fracture is a deeper craze line that reaches the dentin. These fractures can be dangerous due to the potential formation of bacterial films. These bacterial films can lead to infection and tooth loss.
Dental Treatments for Craze Lines
The first thing for patients to do when they notice a craze line is to visit a dentist. Your dentist can then determine whether the line is a fracture and needs immediate treatment.
Your dentist will use indocyanine-green-assisted near-infrared fluorescence (ICG-NERF) technology to find cracks in the enamel. This process illuminates the enamel to find any structural issues.
If your dentist finds the lines are craze lines instead of craze fractures, they may prescribe dental bonding to fill in the cracks and whiten your teeth. Cosmetic dental bonding involves contouring the enamel, then applying thin layers of tooth-colored composite resin, which are hardened with a specialized light.
If the lines are more severe, you may need a custom-fit porcelain veneer applied to the front of your tooth. This process covers the lines and accompanying stains while protecting your tooth enamel.
Treat Craze Lines at Your Valley Dental
If you have noticed craze lines forming on your teeth, it is time for you to schedule a consultation with Valley Dental Care. Call us at our Aurora office: (630) 892-2193 or Oswego office: (630) 551-7000 to schedule your visit today.