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Craze Lines: Hairline Cracks in Front Teeth

You may have noticed hairline vertical lines in your front teeth. Several questions may be running through your mind. Are they serious? Will they need treatment? Are your teeth in danger? The good news is that most of the time these cracks are known as craze lines. These are common lines in your front teeth which pose no health risks.

Causes of Craze Lines

Common causes of craze lines include excessive pressure when you eat, clenching your teeth during the night or during the day, and biting your fingernails. Craze lines may also be a signal that you are at risk for TMJ. Sudden temperature changes can also cause them. For example, if you eat hot food and then drink a very cold beverage this may cause craze lines. This is because your teeth expand and contract quickly putting stress on the tooth enamel. This is known as percolation. It is the same effect as when you drop ice cubes into water and they crack.

Is It a Crack or a Craze Line?

Craze lines are technically cracks in your teeth, but they are only in the enamel (the very top layer of your teeth). A crack in your tooth penetrates the enamel and can go into the dentin and even the tooth nerve. Craze lines aren’t deep so they don’t allow bacteria to enter the tooth, but cracks weaken the tooth and can promote decay and infection. The only way to be sure is to have your dentist check your teeth, and keep up on your regular dental checkups.

Craze lines can actually strengthen the teeth because the enamel repairs itself and becomes thicker. But if you experience pain, sensitivity to pressure or temperature, a spontaneous pain you should seek treatment because these could be signs of a crack developing. Also if the craze lines deepen or become larger you need to visit your dentist.

Treatment of Craze Lines

The main complaint about craze lines is that they are unattractive. Your dentist may recommend teeth whitening to help make the craze lines less noticeable. Your dentist may also apply a tooth colored filling to hide the lines. Porcelain veneers are an excellent way to repair craze lines and restore your smile. The underlying cause must be addressed to prevent further craze lines. For example, TMJ, bruxism, and nail biting can cause new lines.

If you notice small cracks in your front teeth, you may have craze lines. While not threatening to your teeth, they can be very unattractive. Call or contact our office and ask about treatment to restore your smile.