Local oral surgeons provide student free wisdom teeth extractions during economic crisis

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METAIRIE, LA – The novel coronavirus pandemic has forced more than 36 million Americans and close to 600,000 Louisianans to file unemployment claims since mid-March.

The economic downfall due to social distancing has caused financial havoc for millions of people, including students–especially those with higher education expenses. Now more than ever, it is crucial to help support local students and their financial strains during this economic catastrophe.

For the first year, Oral Surgery Services is launching a new community initiative called Wisdom For Wisdom. The program will provide two local students with free wisdom teeth extractions to help offset college expenses and support their higher education goals during this uncertain time. Students can apply to Oral Surgery Services’ website until June 18.  

College affordability and student loan debt is a crisis that is plaguing the nation. Louisiana borrowers currently owe more than $20 billion in student loans, an increase of nearly $1.5 billion over the past year. On top of food, tuition, housing, and other expenses, textbook prices are higher than ever. Students in Louisiana pay an estimated $1,160 a year for textbooks and supplies, according to a report done by CollegeCalc. Statistics show that the high rise in textbook costs is the most inflated of all increasing college-related expenditures. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, college tuition and fees have risen over 60 percent and housing more than 50 percent in the past decade. With student debt on the rise, young people often are forced to put off buying homes, a reliable car, and even getting married and having children.  

“As students cope with the new norm of social distancing that has caused interruptions to their college careers and financial stability, we wanted to provide a program to help alleviate some of that burden from them,” Dr. Michael Ferguson said. “This program serves students who are low-income and who do not have the means to afford wisdom teeth extractions. Our goal is to ease the financial burden for students through the Wisdom For Wisdom program and help make a difference in the community.”  

The application period for the Wisdom For Wisdom program is open until June 18. To apply, students will watch a video about the wisdom teeth removal procedure, take a short quiz, and submit a few sentences about how the program could help them achieve their academic goals. Students residing in or around the Metairie and Gretna communities can apply here. Oral Surgery Services will announce the recipient and update the public on their Facebook page.

Wisdom teeth are the final set of permanent teeth to grow into the mouth. Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, typically emerge between the ages of 17 and 25. Wisdom teeth often do not have enough space to erupt in the mouth without causing oral health problems such as impaction, infection, crowding, and cysts. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are the most qualified to remove wisdom teeth as they have undergone extensive education and training with experience to administer anesthesia.  

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