Enamel Cracks: Main Causes and Treatments
Enamel is a white shiny cover on your teeth. It is the part of the tooth that is visible and it is what makes your smile nice and beautiful. But if you have cracks in tooth enamel, the damage is done not just to your smile, but to your dental health in general. In this article we’ll review how enamel cracks appear, why are they dangerous, and how to prevent them.
A crack in the enamel of the front tooth is normally easy to notice. It looks like a dark string. It becomes more and more noticeable over time because of the bacteria that gather there. However, cracks in back teeth are much harder to notice since you can’t usually see them. If you experience severe pain while eating or while applying pressure to the teeth, the cause of it might be a crack in tooth enamel. You should visit your dentist as soon as possible if you have these symptoms. They have the special instruments to test your teeth for cracks, and they can locate them even if they are so small that they’re not visible on an X-ray. There is a number of reasons that can cause cracks in tooth enamel:
- Dental cavities: Cavities appear when the surface of the tooth decays. Over time, they develop into holes and openings. It is very important to visit your dentist regularly to prevent that from happening.
- Biting on hard food or objects: If you bite on something too hard, it can cause enamel chipping off teeth. It can happen if you accidentally bite on, for example, a bone, or if you have a bad habit of biting on pens or pencils while you’re working or studying.
- Physical trauma: Your teeth might get damaged because of a physical trauma. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a fight with somebody. For example, it might happen while doing sports. Most of the time it’s an unfortunate accident, like a ball hitting the face or an accidental fall, so we advise to be careful and alert at all times.
- Temperature difference: Don’t eat hot food right after a cold drink and vice versa. While it might be unnoticeable at first, it can cause tooth enamel to break.
- Ageing: Vertical lines that emerge on the enamel may be there due to age. They can be very unnoticeable and not cause any pain, but since we can’t predict if the crack is going to deepen or not, it’s best to visit the dentist to get the right treatment.
Why are cracks in tooth enamel dangerous? This is because over time, the cracks will become deeper and deeper. The enamel protects the tooth from bacteria and other dangers, and if it is damaged the tooth’s dentin and pulp become exposed to all that. Enamel loss may lead to tooth decay and even tooth loss. Horizontal crack in tooth in this scenario is one of the most dangerous conditions since a big part of the tooth could come off, exposing the inside of it.
The treatment could require an artificial crown installation, so it’s very important to visit the dentist regularly to prevent harmful consequences.
The treatment of enamel cracks depends on the damage done to the tooth:
- Small crack: If the damage is minor and the crack isn’t too deep, the tooth is polished by the dentist and no additional procedures are required. This condition is also referred to as a hairline crack in tooth enamel or a craze line. They may even heal themselves over time through a process called mineralization. However, for the enamel to heal itself you’ll need the right diet so that you get the required elements.
- Medium-sized crack: There’s serious damage to the enamel, but the tooth itself is intact. In this case, the treatment might require a filling or tooth bonding. This is done to prevent the crack from going deeper and causing inflammation of the root of the tooth.
- Serious crack: In this case the damage is so extensive that it exposes the pulp or even the tooth nerve. You might need a root canal procedure to remove the nerve, and then a tooth restoration: a filling, bonding or a crown, so that the tooth will continue to function as normal.
After the visit to the dentist, you’ll need to maintain oral hygiene. Don’t forget to brush your teeth at least twice a day and cut down on foods that can damage the enamel. We hope you’ll never experience a crack in tooth enamel, but if you do, this article should help you take the right steps to get the right treatment. Look after the surface of your teeth and follow your dentist’s advice to keep your smile healthy and beautiful.