Ask The Dentist – ‘Craze Lines’

A patient asks our Cheshunt dentist about hairline cracks on her teeth.

In this patient’s question, we take a look at restoring a healthy, but unsightly, tooth to its former glory.

Q. I have always looked after my teeth and have been fortunate in that they are pretty straight. Recently though, I’ve noticed what appear to be hairline cracks in the front ones. Now I have seen them, I can’t get it out of my mind how unattractive this makes them look. I am not in any pain or suffering any sensitivity, so I presume these are purely cosmetic cracks, but I would like to correct this if it is at all possible. Can this be done?

Thank you for your question. From your description, it sounds very much like these are what are sometimes referred to as ‘craze lines’. They vary in pattern and can simply be lines down the teeth or make up more of a pattern like ‘crazy paving’, hence its name. The fact that your teeth do not appear to be sensitive would indicate that these are indeed  surface cracks, and, unlike deeper cracks, have not exposed the more sensitive dentin layer that lies underneath. This is good news in the prevention of tooth decay too as it shows that the enamel is still fairly strong.

There can be a number of causes of this effect, such as an aggressive bite or even sudden extremes of temperature such as washing down hot food with an ice cold drink. This causes rapid expansion and contraction of the enamel and can occasionally create this effect. As to correcting this ‘problem’, a short trip from your home in Waltham Cross to visit the cosmetic dentist at Lodge Dental Suite would be a very good place to start. Naturally, we would carry out a thorough examination to determine the full nature of the problem, although from your explanation I’m hoping that it is nothing more deep-seated and that the affected teeth are otherwise healthy.

If the problem is indeed as we think, and providing the damage is essentially cosmetic, then dental veneers could be an option for you.

The veneers, which are usually made from porcelain, are created following removal of a very fine layer from the front of your teeth (during which the cracks would be removed of course). Impressions are then taken and sent to a dental laboratory for the veneers to be made. Temporary veneers will be fitted to protect your teeth during this short period. Once returned, the replacement porcelain veneers will be attached to the front of your teeth using a strong dental adhesive; in effect replacing the old enamel. These are then polished and trimmed to give a natural and attractive appearance to the teeth.

With regular dental care of brushing, flossing and dental visits, veneers should last approximately ten years and are replaceable after that. Certain habits such as nail biting and pen chewing are best avoided as this can cause them to become detached. In the unlikely event that this does happen, please, under no circumstances, attempt to re-attach them yourself using regular or super strong adhesive as further problems will result. It may sound strange but there have been cases of attempted dentistry DIY which have gone horribly wrong! Please give us a quick call at The Lodge Dental Suite on 01992 643 388 and we will refit them professionally for you as soon as we possibly can.

I hope that this helps to answer your question and we are always available should you need any further assistance. It is important to note that we can only make a full diagnosis and recommendation for treatment after we’ve seen you to carry out a detailed assessment.