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Every day your mouth performs a suprisingly complicated number of tasks. Most of the people I know take for granted the ability to talk, chew, kiss, smile and bite. We do these things routinely without stopping to think about the various structures that must cooperate for these things to happen. Your teeth are a part of many of these cooperative efforts whether they are actively or passively participating and their health should not be taken lightly. Teeth can be separated into layers: the first outermost layer is the enamel which protects both the middle dentin layer and the sensitive innermost pulp. Changes in any of these layers can affect the entire tooth so an understanding of what is happening is critical. While I am not a dentist I am interested in things that I think may be wrong with my body. When I asked my dentist about the lines running up and down my two front teeth he explained that they were harmless craze lines. My dentist informed me that almost everyone has them including himself and I actually got to see inside the mouth of my dentist so I could verify his information. For a long time that explanation bothered me. I believed what my dentist had told me however I thought there might be more information on the subject.

Back in November of 2009 I made a special trip to the dentist since I was experiencing moderately bad dental pain. My dentist took x-rays, he examined my mouth carefully and I went home feeling rather silly since my dentist could not reproduce the pain nor could he identify anything pathological on my films. At my appointment in July of 2010 my cavity was deep, I was watching my niece the day my tooth was filled and since my appointment ran late I took the girls out to lunch. My filled tooth caused no pain during lunch and I was upset about the cost and the cavity since I had complained back in November however people are human and sometimes it takes a while for the decay to become observable. A week after my cavity was filled my tooth was so painful I would have done just about anything to make the pain go away. Thankfully the painkillers my dentist prescribed minimized the pain. He ground down the filled surface in case that was bothering me and I went home feeling better. My filled tooth had a couple of craze lines however my dentist assured me that they were nothing to be concerned about. My hygienist was also very nice about it even indicating surprise that I had a cavity since according to her I have a very clean mouth. From time to time my tooth bothered me however it was not significant so I tried not to worry about it.

It wasn't until I was at the orthodontist that the issue of craze lines came up again. After my tooth was filled my orthodontist made some adjustments to my splint. I mentioned the periodic pain to him and I wasn't really concerned until he called one of his colleagues over to look at my mouth. I left that appointment with a referral to see the endodontist next door. My orthodontist was fairly sure that my tooth was cracked and if you research pain caused by biting you will discover that if you bite along a crack you may not have any pain however if you bite across the fracture the crack expands and you experience pain. During my research I came across a site that explained that craze lines can be insignificant marks in your enamel or they can be the result of damage to an inner part of your tooth. Craze lines can be the result of internal expansion that has not forced through the outer tougher enamel layer, this is why it is in your best interest to know which type of craze line you have if you have one. People can have tooth abnormalities and defects without associated pain which is why periodic visits to your dentist are recommended. Stains on your teeth may be either superficial or deep. Stains that follow a particular craze line should be evaluated by a dental professional who can determine the depth of the stain and any possible damage. A cracked tooth can not heal or repair itself which is why knowing what type of craze lines you have is important. The lines on my teeth bother me especially since the bottoms of my teeth have very thin enamel. When I was in my twenties a small piece broke off my left front tooth. I have some other medical conditions that affect my mouth adversely and sometimes there isn't a lot you can do to prevent craze lines from developing into major problems later.

What you can do is speak to your dentist about good oral hygiene. The internet is not always the best source of information however it can be useful if you are researching a particular topic and not satisfied with the answers you are getting from your dentist. Biting down on particularly hard objects may stress craze lines, an article I read credited crunching on ice cubes as a major souce of tooth fracture however crunching on foods such as raw vegetables can provide a good resistance and help strengthen your teeth. Good nutrition is a critical component of good health particularly if you already have cavities, craze lines or other dental issues. Obsessing, over brushing and worry are all useless and may aggravate your mouth further as people have a tendency to clench their jaws when they are stressed. Another thing to ask your dentist about is the possibility of wearing a night splint if you grind your teeth as that is another way teeth get worn. Your mouth is responsible for temperature regulation, you may want to speak to your dentist if hot and/or cold foods bother you since that sensitivity is also associated with decay. Your relationship with any healthcare provider should be a good one so shop around if you are not comfortable with the provider you currently have. Your dentist should address your concerns, provide information and educate you while doing his or her best to prevent any future complications to the best of their abilities. I hope by sharing my experience people may learn and benefit from knowledge they may not have had in the past however it certainly should not be construed or used in place of professional advice.


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