If you are the type of person who cares about their teeth, then you probably see your dentist about every six months for a check up. Cleanings and exams can prevent the formation of cavities and other serious dental issues. Your teeth may be extremely healthy, but they may not look as pristine as they should. This is the case, especially if your teeth are covered in small cracks. These cracks are called craze lines and there are many things you and your dentist can do to reduce their appearance.
Ask for a Night Guard
Dental enamel is the hardest substance in the body. A crystallized calcium phosphate material makes up the vast majority of the outer dental covering, and other minerals, water, and organic compounds make up the rest. The dental enamel sits over the much softer cementum, dentin, and pulp layers of the teeth. The covering works well to protect the important tooth structures from bacteria, acids, and food particles.
Unfortunately, dental enamel is exposed to a great deal of stress when you bite or place hot or cold foods in the mouth. The material cannot shift, move, or compress to absorb the stress, so small cracks form in the teeth instead. These cracks only extend through a portion of the dental enamel, but they can be quite visible. This means you should try to prevent new cracks from opening and a dental guard is a good option if you place extensive pressure on your teeth by grinding at night.
Bruxism Guard Options
If you grind your teeth at night, then you place far more pressure on your teeth than you normally do. Most people will force 250 pounds of pressure per square inch against the teeth when grinding and this can easily cause craze lines to form. A bruxism guard can prevent new lines from forming, and your cosmetic dentist can make a custom device that fits your mouth exactly.
You should make sure that the guard matches your grinding condition though, so your teeth are fully protected. Soft, laminate, and acrylic guards are all available to you. Think about choosing a laminate guard with a soft interior if you grind extensively at night. Also, brush your teeth and your guard thoroughly before you place it in the mouth. Craze lines appear more visible when debris is able to move into the cracks and brushing will remove foreign materials.
Consider Filling Materials
If craze lines are extremely bothersome to you, then your dentist may suggest a laser tooth whitening. During the whitening, the peroxide whitening agents will work their way into the small tooth openings and force dental debris to break up. The debris will then be rinsed away and the dental cracks will be less visible. If dental stains have sat within the teeth for too long or if craze lines are extensive, then the whitening may not reduce their appearance significantly.
If you still see craze lines after a whitening, then ask your dentist about possible filling options.
Dental professionals can and will fill craze lines in the teeth if they are highly noticeable. Also, if the lines are deep and indicate that a crack may occur, then filling is a good choice. When craze lines are filled, your dentist will need to grind down the enamel surrounding the lines. Only a small amount of enamel will be released and resin composite material will be placed in the opening created. After the resin is secured, the filling will be ground down so it sits flush with the surface of the tooth. You can expect the resin to last up to eight years before it needs to be replaced.
If you have highly visible lines within the teeth, then you likely have craze lines that sit in the tooth enamel. These lines are not aesthetically pleasing and you can reduce their formation and appearance by wearing a night guard and by having the lines filled.