Some people have an enamel growth on the back of a tooth called a talon cusp. This growth is a cone-like shape. It usually grows as teeth develop and erupts with them.

While talon cusps themselves aren't usually anything to worry about, they sometimes need treatment because they cause other dental or oral problems.

When might you need to have your talon cusp treated?

1. Oral Irritation

Many people with a talon cusp don't have any adverse effects. Most of these growths are small and don't cause any difficulties.

However, some cusps can cause irritation in the mouth. They might rub on your gums or on your tongue. Your dentist might want to grind the growth down to reduce its size if that is possible.

2. Decay

Some talon cusps are hard to clean. They can also make it harder to clean the surface of the tooth. If a cusp has irregular edges that a toothbrush can't get into, then these areas might be more prone to developing problems with decay.

If you're likely to have persistent problems with this kind of cusp, then your dentist might recommend smoothing down the growth. They might want to put a filling in the site to protect the back of the tooth after that.

If the cusp contains some pulp, then your dentist can't just grind it down. You might need a more extensive treatment to remove the cusp without affecting the pulp and exposing the nerve. So, you might need a type of root canal work or a crown.

3. Overcrowding or Misalignment

If you have a larger talon cusp, then it might cause some overcrowding or misalignment problems in your mouth. For example, if a cusp sticks out to the side, then it might prevent adjacent teeth from sitting straight. They might also have less eruption room than they need.

If your cusp is affecting adjacent teeth, then your dentist will look for ways to treat the growth. For example, they might want to create more space for adjacent teeth or to stop pressure from changing their positions.

4. Cosmetic Problems

Talon cusps typically sit on the back of a tooth. They aren't usually visible from the front.

However, sometimes, you can see parts of the cusp from the front. You might not like the way it makes your teeth look. So, your dentist might also agree to treat the cusp to improve the cosmetics of your smile.

To find out more about talon cusps, speak with your dentist.