What Is an Impacted Wisdom Tooth?

and cannot fully emerge from your jawbone or gum line. Because they’re the last teeth to develop, third molars frequently become impacted by molars that are already present, or because they’ve developed at an angle instead of straight up and down. Impacted wisdom teeth are common, but how they become impacted can differ from patient to patient. Today, we take a look at different types of wisdom tooth impaction, and what they can mean for your oral health.

Types of Wisdom Tooth Impaction

Partial Eruption

Partial eruption is one of the most common types of wisdom tooth impaction, and describes a molar that remains lodged underneath the gums, unable to completely erupt. The flap of gum tissue that remains over part of the tooth can harbor harmful oral bacteria, increasing risks of dental diseases as well as causing discomfort.

Mesial Impaction

Mesial impaction means your third molar has grown diagonally instead of vertically. As it pushes against the molar next to it, your wisdom tooth may only partially erupt, or it may not be able to erupt at all. In some cases, the tooth may develop horizontally, also known as horizontal impaction.

Distal Impaction

A distal impaction occurs when a wisdom tooth grows at an angle, but away from its nearby neighbor instead of towards it. Unlike most other types of impaction, a distal impaction may not cause discomfort since it doesn’t disturb your other teeth. But it can still damage your jawbone, and should be extracted to preserve the rest of your oral health.


Combining experience in oral and maxillofacial surgery with a genuine care for their patients’ health and comfort, the team at Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park Oral Surgery is ready to improve the health and beauty of smiles in the Sonoma County and North Bay area. To schedule a consultation, contact our office by calling 707-545-4625 (Santa Rosa) or 707-584-1630 (Rohnert Park).