Hairline Cracks in Teeth: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

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Hairline cracks in teeth are very common and can happen to anyone.

They may be the result of tooth grinding, clenching, or grinding your teeth while you sleep or sometimes just from chewing too hard on an object. These small cracks may not seem like a big deal at first, but if left untreated they can lead to much more serious problems, including root canal treatment and crowns-not to mention pain!

So if you’ve realized that your hairline cracks in your teeth, don’t panic! We’ll go over all the basics-what causes hairline cracks in teeth, what are their symptoms, how to prevent them, and what treatment options are available for these problem areas.

Wanna learn? Stick around while I dive in.

Types of Hairline Cracks in Teeth

Here are different types of hairline cracks in teeth you should know about.

  • Craze lines –  They normally appear on the enamel of your teeth and are the result of a combination of certain factors.
  • Fractured cusp –  This is basically what it sounds like, small cracks or chips that happen on the cusps of your teeth.
  • Crack –  When these cracks are minor, the tooth can usually be saved but if the cracks run down to the gum line, the tooth may not be salvaged.

What Causes Hairline Cracks In Teeth?

As I mentioned earlier, hairline cracks or craze lines can really happen to any due to the normal wear and tear of teeth. These are normal, if not even sometimes expected.

But there are also other causes of hairline cracks in teeth that could be more serious and possibly signal a problem.

Here are some additional causes of hairline cracks in teeth:

  • Teeth grinding –  This is by far the most common cause of hairline cracks in teeth. This occurs when you grind your teeth on either side of the mouth, creating a lot of pressure on the teeth. 
  • Misaligned teeth –  If your teeth are misaligned, this can cause cracks in the enamel. 
  • Tooth decay –  If the cause of your hairline cracks is tooth decay, you may have received a filling that has come loose or fallen.
  • Injury or trauma to teeth –  If you have a serious injury to your teeth, it may cause hairline cracks.
  • Chewing on non-food items –  If you chew on pens, pencils, fingernails, or any other item that’s not food, this can cause hairline cracks.

Symptoms of a cracked tooth

The symptoms of a cracked tooth depend on whether the crack is minor or major.

While some hairline cracks in teeth may be readily visible, others can be more difficult to spot.

Symptoms of hairline cracks in teeth include:

  • On-going pain that comes and goes
  • Sensitivity to touch and cold/hot temperatures
  • A dull, persistent ache in your gums or teeth
  • Tooth pain that spreads to your jawbone or neck
  • Pain when chewing on the opposite side of the mouth

If you experience any of these symptoms, you may have hairline cracks in your teeth. The next thing to do is get in touch with your local dentist to make sure you get treated as soon as possible.

Treatment for Hairlines Cracks

The extend of the crack,  along with the location of the crack determines the treatment.

There are several different types of treatment for hairline cracks in teeth including:

  • Crown –  When the hairline crack is very small, treatment may be as simple as placing a crown on top of your tooth. This requires some drilling to fit it in place and will strengthen your tooth.
  • Root canal – If you have more extensive damage, then your dentist may recommend root canal therapy.
  • Bonding – In more severe cases, your dentist may use a special bonding material that contains metal fibers to strengthen the tooth and create a protective layer over the hairline crack.
  • Extraction – As a last resort, your dentist may recommend pulling the tooth to protect your other teeth and gums.

Prevention of Cracked Hairline Cracks

Prevention is always better than cure and there are steps you can take to avoid getting a cracked tooth in the first place. Here are some tips on how to prevent hairline cracks:

  • Protect your teeth – Wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports
  • Refrain chewing non-food items –  Do not chew on pens, pencils, fingernails or any other non-food items.
  • Maintain regular visits to your dentist – If you have a cracked tooth due to an existing cavity, this can be treated quickly and painlessly with a filling. You can schedule teeth cleaning every six months to remove plaque and tartar buildup.

The takeaway

The teeth can sustain hairline cracks as a result of wearing and tearing. However, there are also other causes that may be more serious such as tooth grinding or misaligned teeth. These types of hairline cracks will most likely require treatment from your local dentist to avoid any complications like infection at the root canal level.

If you experience symptoms like pain when chewing on the opposite side of your mouth or sensitivity to touch and cold/hot temperatures contact your dentist immediately for an examination and diagnosis!

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