There are three primary degrees of impaction based on the depth of the teeth within your jaw:
Soft Tissue Impaction
Soft tissue impaction refers to cases in which the crown of the tooth penetrates the jawbone, but the gums are still covering part of the crown.
Partial Bony Impaction
Partial bony impaction occurs when the tooth has partially surfaced, but part of the crown remains below the gum line and the surrounding bone.
Complete Bony Impaction
The tooth may fail to surface from the jaw, remaining fully encased in bone. This may indicate the tooth is abnormally positioned, which requires a more complex extraction procedure.
When the third molars are impacted, food can become trapped below the gum line. In addition, the area is difficult to keep clean. This can increase the risk of a dental infection, along with pain, swelling, and discomfort. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your dentist or oral surgeon immediately.