By the age of eighteen, the average adult has 32 teeth; 16 on the top and 16 on the bottom. The teeth in the front of the mouth (incisors, canine and bicuspid teeth) are used for biting. The back teeth or molar teeth are used to chew and grind food.

Wisdom teeth (the third molars) are the last teeth to come through the gums. When they align properly and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth don’t need to be taken out. Unfortunately, most people have room in their mouth for only 28 teeth, not 32.

The extraction of wisdom teeth is necessary when they are prevented from properly erupting within the mouth. They may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum and even remain trapped, or impacted, beneath the gum and bone.

These poorly positioned impacted teeth can cause many problems. When they are partially erupted, the opening around the tooth allows bacteria to grow and will eventually cause an infection. The result: swelling, stiffness, pain and illness.

The pressure from the erupting wisdom tooth may move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth. The most serious problem occurs when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom tooth, resulting in the destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth.

Removal of the offending impacted tooth or teeth usually resolves these problems. Early removal is recommended to avoid such future problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved with the procedure.


With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, Dr. Burnham can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there may be present or future problems. He uses state-of-the art technology, such as 3D imaging and digital X-rays to see the exact position of your wisdom teeth within the jaw and to help plan a safe surgery for you.

All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize patient comfort. Dr. Burnham has the training and experience to provide various types of anesthesia. The options will be explained and you and Dr. Burnham will decide which type of anesthesia is appropriate.


After the wisdom teeth are removed, the gums may be sutured. You will rest under our supervision in the office until you are ready to be taken home. Upon discharge, your take home kit will include postoperative instructions, gauze, an ice pack and a water bottle for salt water rinses. A postoperative appointment will be schedule one week after surgery at which time you will receive an irrigation syringe and instruction for use on the lower sockets.

Our services are provided in an environment of optimum safety that utilizes modern monitoring equipment and a team that is experienced in anesthesia techniques.

Anti-Swelling Medication Instructions (Methylprednisolone 4 mg)

The anti-swelling pills help to reduce the amount of swelling after surgery. By reducing the swelling we are able to decrease the amount of pain and discomfort you experience, thus enabling you to return to work or school sooner.

The pills are to be taken for six consecutive days. You begin the day BEFORE surgery and take the pills as directed below.


Day before surgery:                     6 pills (3 at noon, 3 at bedtime)

Day of surgery:                            5 pills (3 after surgery, 2 at bedtime)

Day after surgery:                        4 pills (3 at noon, 1 at bedtime)

2nd day after surgery:                   3 pills (2 at noon, 1 at bedtime)

3rd day after surgery:                    2 pills (1 at noon, 1 at bedtime)

4th day after surgery:                    1 pill (1 at noon)

If you are a nursing mother, it is not recommended that you take steroids.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at 303-451-6767.