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A Cracking Good Solution: Dealing With Craze Lines

You've been told for years that your teeth are made of incredibly strong enamel, but one day you realize there are all these little vertical cracks in your teeth. Does that mean something's gone very wrong with your health? Not at all. It's actually common to have these cracks, called "craze lines." They can look scary, especially if you eat a lot of foods that stain your teeth, but as long as you're not having pain, craze lines are harmless.

Pain Signals Something Else

Obviously, if you experience pain or notice that your tooth is actually chipped, get to a dentist immediately. And, if the lines really do concern you and you can't stop thinking about them, get them checked out just to put your mind at ease. But if you aren't having issues with pain or missing pieces, here's what's likely going on.

Your teeth can develop small cracks that don't fully breach the enamel as a result of either age or general use. Sometimes these cracks develop because you bit down on something too hard, but a lot of times the cracks just happen.

Making the Lines Less Visible

Because the enamel is still generally intact -- think of craze lines as cosmetic surface cracks -- decay isn't an issue. Stain, however, can become a problem because the stain concentrates inside the cracks. One way to fight this is to have your teeth whitened, but if the cracks in question are particularly dark with stain, you might want to consider veneers.

Veneers can still stain, but having them attached to your existing teeth will hide the craze lines if the stain is so bad that you can't fully get rid of it. Do be aware that veneers, while long-lasting, may eventually have to be replaced themselves. In other words, getting veneers is not permission to start mistreating your teeth.

Before undergoing tooth whitening or getting the veneers, you'll have to get your teeth fully checked out and cleaned. That will allow the dentist to see how bad the stain is and to uncover any potential hidden problems, such as areas where the craze lines might actually be about to breach all the way through the enamel.

If you have craze lines that are bothering you because of how they appear, contact a dentist who specializes in reconstructive and cosmetic dentistry. For more information, contact Wigwam Dental Care or a similar location.