If you’ve noticed small lines on your teeth, you may have what dentists call craze lines. These web-looking imperfections should not be confused with cracked tooth syndrome (CTS), which is painful. Craze lines are merely hairline cracks in tooth enamel. Though they are cosmetically displeasing, they are not particularly harmful to oral health unless they deepen and spread.
Craze lines are usually harmless to oral health. Like tooth discoloration, craze lines make a person appear aged. If you value a youthful and attractive appearance there are cosmetic treatment options.
Craze lines do not hurt; if you have a toothache, it’s important to visit our office as soon as possible, because pain is usually caused by a crack or cavity. These conditions are detrimental to oral health and require professional treatment – the sooner the better! Cracks and cavities only worsen over time. Call our Lake Forest dental office, near Chicago, at 847-234-0517 to schedule your appointment with Dr. James Fondriest today.
What causes craze lines?
Craze lines often occur naturally but may develop after dental trauma. They usually begin as a result of regularly biting and chewing foods, extreme temperature changes, or from a single traumatic event, like biting down on a hard object. Some dental procedures cause already weak tooth enamel to form these hairline cracks.
As you consume food and drinks over time, the lines will become more obvious because staining agents build up and are difficult to remove at home. Some lines are not wide enough to accommodate toothbrush bristles for cleaning. You can try using whitening pastes, strips, and mouthwashes to treat craze lines.
Tea, coffee, red wine, and dark sauces are particularly notorious for staining teeth and increasing the visibility of cracks and imperfections in enamel.
Are craze lines dangerous?
Dental enamel is the protective outer layer of our teeth. It is the hardest substance that our bodies produce, and it’s the second-hardest substance on the entire planet. Diamonds are the hardest, and they cut glass. So, while enamel is extremely durable, it is not impervious to cracking and staining.
“Crazing” is the same term used to describe the fine cracksthat develop on well used, glazed ceramics. You’ve probably seen them on antique dinnerware. Just as these spiderweb-like lines don’t often compromise the integrity of a ceramic dish, craze lines in enamel do not usually harm the structural integrity of teeth.
In rare instances, craze lines can expand enough to increase the chance of cavity formation. By attending regular visits with your Lake Forest dentist for checkups and dental cleanings, you won’t have to worry about a cavity developing without your knowledge. At every visit, Dr. Fondriest will evaluate your teeth to determine whether early signs of tooth decay are evident. He can treat most topical tooth decay in the same visit. Deeper cavities or cracks may necessitate a return visit.
How to fix craze lines in teeth?
Craze lines cannot removed, but they can be treated. You have a few options that should be discussed with Dr. Fondriest at your appointment. He will provide you with details about each procedure and explain how your unique dentition would likely respond to the treatments. Understanding how we can correct craze lines will help you make the wisest decision for your situation.
Tooth whitening is the easiest option for erasing or reducing the appearance of the fine lines. By simply bleaching the stains in craze lines, the cracks will become much less evident. Whitening does not fill the cracks or improve structural integrity of the affected teeth, of course.
If whitening is not effective for your craze line stains, consider tooth-colored composite resin bonding or porcelain veneers. Each of these procedures has pros and cons, but both are effective for giving teeth a fresh appearance. Both treatments can also be completed in a single visit, in most cases, and they do add structural integrity to teeth.
Composite resin is the material we use for tooth-colored fillings. By applying thin layers of resin over crazed teeth, a veneer forms to conceal imperfections. While composite bonding is effective and affordable, it usually lasts only five to ten years.
Porcelain veneers, on the other hand, can endure for two decades or more. Veneers cost more than bonding, but they can correct cosmetic flaws in addition to crazing. If you have spaces between your front teeth, if they are uneven in size or length, or if you’d like your front teeth to be shaped differently, porcelain veneers are an excellent and prompt treatment option.
Will insurance pay for treating craze lines?
Most likely, insurance will not pay all or part of the cost for treating craze lines. Insurance coverage usually applies only to health concerns. Therefore, if your craze lines have caused deeper cracks or cavities that negatively impact the integrity of your oral health, insurance may pay for all or part of the required treatment.
In most cases, craze lines are a cosmetic issue. Cosmetic dentistry is not eligible for insurance coverage, but we work with third-party financing institutions that offer low- and no-interest payment options for cosmetic dental procedures.