A tooth becomes impacted due to lack of space in the dental arch and its eruption is therefore prevented by gum, bone, another tooth or all three. Lack of space occurs because our jaws have become smaller (through evolution), we do not loose teeth through decay as frequently as in the past, and our diet is such that our teeth do not wear down as much.
Wisdom teeth generally cause problems when they erupt partially through the gum. The most common reasons for removing them are:
Prosthetic reasons – patients who have had dentures constructed should have wisdom teeth removed. If a wisdom tooth erupts beneath a denture it may cause severe irritation, and if removed the patient may have to have another denture constructed to accommodate the changed shape of the gum.
cyst formation – a cyst (a fluid filled sack) can develop from the soft tissues which originally formed the wisdom tooth. Cysts cause bone destruction, jaw expansion and displacement and damage to the adjacent teeth. The removal of the cyst and tooth is necessary to prevent further bone loss. In rare circumstances, tumours may develop within these cysts or the jaw may even fracture if the cyst or tumour grows very large.