When you look in the mirror, do you ever notice small, almost invisible lines or cracks in your teeth? These hairline fractures, sometimes called craze lines in teeth, are very common and are usually nothing to worry about. However, it’s important to understand what these cracks are, why they occur, and when you should ask your dentist about hairline tooth fracture treatment.
Hairline cracks in teeth can be caused by many things. In some cases, teeth look cracked simply because of their anatomy. Other times, crack lines in front teeth are the result of oral health habits or even medications. Depending on the cause and location of the crack, your dentist might recommend treatment to restore the appearance and function of your teeth. In fact, nearly 63% of Americans 18 and older visit their dentist for cosmetic or restorative procedures every year.
In this guide to small cracks in teeth, we’ll take a look at the most common questions people have about hairline fractures, including:
- Why do my teeth look like they have cracks?
- What are the different types of cracks?
- What are common hairline crack in tooth symptoms?
- Can hairline cracks in teeth be fixed?
Keep reading to learn more about hairline fractures and how to repair them.
Why Do My Teeth Look Cracked?
People are often concerned about the appearance of their smile, so hairline cracks in teeth can be alarming. Some people even worry that a hairline fracture indicates a severe problem. Fortunately, that’s not always the case.
There are several reasons your teeth may look cracked or have small lines running through them:
- Age: Your enamel gradually thins and becomes more brittle over time. As the enamel weakens, it’s more susceptible to hairline fractures. You might notice that small cracks in teeth appear the older you get, especially if you don’t practice good oral hygiene.
- Improper brushing: Brushing your teeth too hard or using a toothbrush with hard bristles can cause the enamel to wear away, resulting in small cracks in teeth. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and go in gentle, circular strokes when brushing.
- Poor dental hygiene: Poor oral hygiene can lead to cavities, gum disease, and even stress lines on teeth. Plaque can build up on your teeth, weakening the enamel and making them more likely to show cracks or craze lines in teeth.
- Medication: Some medications, like tetracycline, can cause severe discoloration and even thinning of the enamel, which can lead to hairline fractures and visible cracks in your teeth.
- Teeth grinding: Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is one of the most common causes of craze lines in teeth. This condition can wear away the enamel and make your teeth more susceptible to cracks. Similarly, blunt force trauma from a fall or a sports injury can result in a cracked tooth.
- Genetics: In some cases, hairline fractures might be due to genetics and how your teeth form in your mouth. Some people just have naturally weak enamel that’s more prone to cracking.
What Are The Different Types Of Cracks?
Several types of lines or cracks can appear in your teeth. Here’s a breakdown of some of the different cracks that might occur.
Craze lines are very thin, hairline cracks that run across the surface of a tooth. While they might look like deep fractures, craze lines in teeth usually don’t extend into the inner part of the tooth and don’t require treatment. They can show up due to aging, wear and tear, or bruxism.
Fractures Or Stress Fractures
These cracks are slightly deeper than craze lines and might involve some damage to the dentin (the layer of the tooth beneath the enamel). Depending on their severity, these small cracks in teeth might require a restorative treatment, like bonding or crowns.
This severe form of cracking affects the entire tooth and involves damage to both the enamel and the dentin. A split tooth requires immediate treatment and might require root canal therapy.
When Should I Visit My Dentist For Hairline Cracks In Teeth?
Realizing that you have a stress fracture in tooth enamel or even crack lines in front teeth can make you panic. But you should understand when treatment is and isn’t necessary.
If the crack is superficial and doesn’t cause pain or sensitivity, you might not need treatment. If the fracture line extends into the dentin, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible. A deep crack can expose the nerves and blood vessels of your tooth, leading to pain, infection, or even tooth loss if left untreated.
You should also consider seeing a dentist right away if you experience any of these hairline crack in tooth symptoms:
If your tooth is more sensitive to cold or hot temperatures, you may have a crack in the enamel.
Swelling And Pain
Pain when chewing, speaking, or even brushing your teeth could be a sign that a fracture has damaged the internal structure of your tooth. You might also experience swelling around the affected area.
If you notice a visible crack or fracture in your tooth, you should have it evaluated by your dentist.
Sudden Appearance Of A Crack Or Craze Line In Teeth
If you suddenly notice a crack or tooth craze line running through your teeth, it could indicate an acute problem.
If you notice any of these hairline crack in tooth symptoms – or are simply concerned you may have cracked teeth – consult your dentist. They can evaluate the fracture and recommend the right course of treatment to protect your teeth from further damage.
How Common Are Hairline Cracks In Teeth?
Hairline cracks in teeth and craze lines are quite common. Unlike more severe forms of cracking, they typically require no treatment but can still make you feel self-conscious about your smile. There’s no surefire way to prevent these types of fractures from occurring, so the best way to protect your teeth is by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly.
What Hairline Tooth Fracture Treatment Is Available?
To treat hairline cracks in teeth, dentists can offer a variety of treatments depending on the degree of fracture. Your dentist might recommend bonding, crowns, or root canal therapy to help protect the tooth from further damage.
In other cases, a simple whitening procedure might be enough to mask the appearance of minor fractures. Your dentist might recommend porcelain veneers if you’re concerned about crack lines in front teeth.
Take Care Of Cracked Teeth With Northside Dental Co.
Hairline cracks can range from harmless craze lines to large, complex fractures that require more invasive treatment. Speak with your dentist if you’re concerned about possible fractures so they can evaluate your teeth and recommend an appropriate course of action.
At Northside Dental Co., we’re proud to offer a variety of treatments to help restore and maintain your oral health. Our experienced team of specialists can provide the personalized care you need to ensure that any hairline cracks in your teeth are treated promptly and appropriately.
Book a dentist appointment today to learn more about our services.