Katie Kloster is finally getting her wisdom teeth removed, thanks in large part to a newly formed local scholarship aimed at supporting college students.
Kloster, 22, of White Salmon, Wash., is the first-ever recipient of Beacon Oral Surgery's newly created Wisdom for Wisdom program, which removes a patient's troubled teeth while offsetting the costs. Beacon is located at 24850 S.E. Stark St., Gresham.
"I've been trying to get my wisdom teeth out for forever, but it's expensive," Kloster said. "I heard about this scholarship and thought I would apply."
As a first-generation college student, Kloster was chosen for a variety of reasons. Now a senior at Washington State University, she is paying her own way through school with an eye on becoming a nurse and helping others. Her caring nature, work ethic and financial strife all made her a deserving recipient, employees with Beacon said.
"We want this program to deliver scholarships to offset the cost of having wisdom teeth out," said Russell Lieblick, the oral surgeon who removed the teeth Thursday, Aug. 10. "Next year this will be even bigger, because we love connecting with our patients."
Once the teeth came out, Beacon saved them to be used for Dental Pulp Cell extraction and banking, a new medical innovation and the second part of the scholarship. The process saves stem cells from the teeth, which Kloster may need in the future. Stemodontics is the stem cell banking company that donated its services.
"Stem cells are heavily researched and used to reconstruct diseased body parts," Lieblick said. "Wisdom teeth are chock-full of stem cells, and the idea is not unlike parents saving umbilical cord blood for their baby."
Research and case studies are currently underway to use stem cells from wisdom teeth to treat ALS, diabetes, cancer, strokes, arthritis and much more. The benefit of using the teeth is no extra surgery is required to gather the cells, so for someone like Kloster it makes perfect sense to have them banked.
And as for what she will do with the financial savings afforded by the scholarship, Kloster thinks it will be a nice way to offset the costs of textbooks.
"This scholarship will really help support me in my final year of college," she said.
For more information about wisdom teeth extraction or stem cell banking, visit www.beaconoms.com.