Wear and tear is no match for our teeth. The more we use them and neglect our oral health, the more susceptible they are to tiny hairline fractures called craze lines.
What are craze lines?
Craze lines are minute vertical lines that form on the teeth. Cracked teeth and craze lines are often confused for each other; however, they are actually two different things. (More on that later). Craze lines are superficial lines that don’t extend to the gum line but can be very unseemly.
What causes craze lines?
Craze lines do not form out of nowhere. They are caused by the stresses we subject our teeth to every day. Below you’ll find out why we get craze lines:
- Contact sports:
- Grinding/clenching your teeth and jaw:
- Chewing on non-food items:
- Frozen foods/ice:
- Nail biting:
- Using your teeth as an opener:
- Temperature changes:
An uneven or unstable bite can lead to craze lines since your teeth may not be meeting where they should when you close your mouth. You can correct an uneven bite with a six-month braces treatment or Invisalign, but these treatments are not intended to fix the craze lines that have already formed.
Getting hit in the mouth while playing contact sports can leave you with craze lines. If you do play contact sports, make sure you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth. You can purchase a mouthguard at the pharmacy that you mold to your mouth yourself – or your dentist can custom create a mouthguard for you. The over-the-counter mouthguards aren’t as effective as the one your dentist will make because they aren’t created to the exact specifications of your mouth.
The pressure from grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw can give you craze lines. When you grind or clench, you are usually unaware that you are mashing or pushing your bottom and top teeth together. In fact, most people grind or clench their teeth and jaw while they are asleep. As with playing contact sports, a mouthguard can be worn at night to minimize the impact. As mentioned above, choose a custom guard made by your dentist instead of the drugstore variety for adequate protection.
If you are prone to chewing on pens, straws or other non-food items, it could be causing your craze lines. Even the slightest impact from sucking or lightly chewing on something that isn’t food can create craze lines. To avoid chewing on non-food items, try sugarless gum. You should ask your dentist which brand of gum they recommend.
Biting into a frozen vegetable that isn’t cooked or chewing on ice are surefire ways to get craze lines. Make sure frozen foods are fully cooked before eating and suck on ice instead of chewing it.
Nail biting is not only a bad habit because of all the germs found on our fingernails, it gives you craze lines too. No matter how much you wash your hands before biting your nails, it won’t protect you from craze lines. You can ask your dentist or physician about ways to stop biting your nails.
Under no circumstances should you be using your own teeth as a means to open bottles or tear through plastic. Your teeth are not meant to open objects and packaging, they are meant to chew. The more you use your teeth as openers, the more prone to craze lines you’ll be.
In some cases, going from hot to cold temperatures can lead to craze lines. Eating hot soup while drinking cold water can cause temperature changes that your teeth may not be able to handle. To combat this problem, drink lukewarm or hot water (not too hot!) while eating hot foods.
What’s the difference between cracked teeth and craze lines?
Although craze lines are cracks in the teeth, they are minimal. When craze lines deepen, they become cracks. If you have a cracked tooth, everything from the tooth’s enamel (the outer layer) to the roots are affected.
How serious are craze lines?
Many people consider craze lines a cosmetic problem so it’s best to consult your dentist to see what treatments they recommended. Some people live with craze lines because they don’t cause them any pain. However, it’s important to fix any oral health issues before they lead to further damage. In general, oral health problems don’t clear up on their own. There is a chance that the enamel around the craze line may repair itself and thicken if you take care of your teeth. If you neglect your oral health craze lines will deepen, turn in full-fledged cracks and leave you with root damage, cavities and tooth decay.
If you notice craze lines on any of your teeth, do not wait until it turns into a crack and contact our office immediately. At Dawson Dental, we can repair your mouth to ensure you have good oral health for years to come.