While your teeth have sharper cusps and incisal edges to help you rip and tear food, a crown shouldn't be so sharp that it's causing irritation. Sometimes sharp cusps develop due to fractures or cavities, however, some people with sharp cusps may actually have a condition called dens evaginatus, or talon cusp. Read on to learn more about this condition and how to treat it.
What Are Talon Cusps, and Who Gets Them?
Talon cusps are anatomical abnormalities where a clinical crown (the area of the tooth seen above the gumline) develops an extra cusp. Talon cusps are often found on the lateral incisors, but they may also appear on central incisors, canines, and premolars. They are also more commonly found in lower teeth, but they may also be found in upper teeth; they can be found in both baby teeth and permanent teeth.
Talon cusps are a developmental anomaly that's possibly related to genetics. Anyone can get a talon cusp, but certain demographics, like women or those with Asian ancestry, may be more prone to them.
Why Are Talon Cusps a Problem?
Some talon cusps are caught and addressed very early on because a mother may notice pain while nursing. But some people may develop their permanent teeth and not realize they have talon cusps until they're older. Talon cusps don't always cause problems, but more prominent ones can cause occlusal interference with opposing teeth, which can lead to temporomandibular joint pain, accidental crown fracturing, and tongue/cheek irritation when eating or speaking.
How Are They Treated?
If a dentist diagnoses you with a talon cusp, then treatment will depend on whether the cusp contains some pulp. Pulp is the innermost area of a crown and it contains nerves, connective tissues, and blood vessels. If the talon cusp doesn't contain any amount of pulp, then your dentist can either remove that portion of enamel completely or use a dental burr to carefully soften sharp edges.
If a talon cusp does contain some pulp near the surface, then treatment can be a little more complicated. A dentist might recommend endodontic treatment to remove the pulp and seal up the cusp. Other dentists might recommend removing some enamel and pulp and then using a false crown to restore the area.
If a dentist removes the talon cusp on an anterior crown, then aesthetics may be compromised, so they might use a veneer, a false crown, or composite material to reshape the tooth. A dentist may also prescribe a mouthguard so that the cusp doesn't wear down opposing crowns.
Reach out to a dentist today for more information about dental crowns.