We all know that time often shows up in our skin as wrinkles, but no one warned you that you’d have lines on your teeth, too!
While they’re normally harmless, these cracks in your teeth, called craze lines, can be concerning when they first appear.
Craze lines show up gradually as fine, vertical lines on your tooth enamel. They don’t mean that anything is wrong, but you should keep an eye on them. It’s common for craze lines to dig deep enough into the dentin that they cause staining or damage.
Follow these three “healthy enamel” tips to keep your craze lines from worsening.
1. Ask About a Professional Whitening Treatment
Craze lines are usually more visible to you than they are to anyone who sees your smile. If they’re driving you, well, craze-y, talk to your dentist about the pros and cons of whitening treatments.
Yes, you could do an at-home treatment with an over-the-counter product, but tread cautiously if this is your preferred route. Remember, the active ingredient in any whitening product is a form of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. These are chemicals, and we’re taught from a young age to avoid putting chemicals in our mouths.
Using OTC whitening products increases the risk of damaging the dentin in your enamel, which causes sensitivity in your teeth. The average home kit doesn’t have enough of the bleaching agent to help craze lines, so you may be tempted to leave the product on longer or use it more frequently than is safe.
Professional treatments use safety measures, including the highest-grade whiteners, to reduce this risk. You’ll get better, longer-lasting results faster, making these treatments worth the higher price tag.
2. Use Night Guards to Stop Grinding
Where did those craze lines come from, anyway?
Yours could come simply from wear and tear. Eating, chewing, talking, and connecting your teeth in other ways puts pressure on the enamel. Eventually, craze lines appear in almost all of us.
But you can also get them earlier than you would naturally have if you’re a bruxer. This condition, also called tooth grinding, is when you subconsciously clench your jaw and grind your teeth.
Because bruxism usually occurs when you’re sleeping, you can’t stop the behavior. So, your jaw muscles clench and grind at a pressure you’d normally stop if you were awake. The extra stress speeds up the cracking process, leaving you with craze lines.
Bruxism is responsible for many other health conditions, like headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and cavities from weakened enamel.
While you’re working on finding a way to quit grinding, use a night guard when you sleep. This oral appliance limits the connection between your upper and lower teeth and reduces the damage that bruxing causes.
3. Consider Veneers to Fix Serious Cracks
Most of the time, craze lines aren’t anything to worry about. If your enamel is pretty healthy, stepping up your oral hygiene a bit should keep them under control.
Sometimes, these lines become visible and distracting or are so deep that they have the potential to create oral health problems. When that happens, your dentist might recommend a solution called a veneer.
What’s a Veneer?
Dental veneers are popular and easy fixes for discolored or cracked teeth. They’re frequently used by celebrities who want to correct minor imperfections on a tooth or multiple teeth, and they’re easy ways to cover up craze lines you’re not happy with.
A veneer is nothing but an enamel-colored shell that is so thin that it slides right over the tooth’s surface. They’re made from resin-composite or porcelain and are bonded to your teeth in a safe process.
These are rarely covered by insurance because they’re considered a cosmetic solution, and prices range depending on whether you opt for porcelain or resin composite.
In addition to craze lines, veneers can fix any cosmetic dental issue concern you have, from “too-small” teeth to chipped or broken enamel. When your craze lines are more than you want to see when you look at your smile, a veneer may be the fix for your woes.
Craze lines might be annoying to see in the mirror, but they probably don’t mean you have a health condition to worry about. Still, if you aren’t happy having vertical cracks in your smile, these three solutions can reduce or make them disappear.
Read More: 4 Natural Ways to Reduce Neuroma