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Non-profit Apple Tree Dental opens facility in Fergus Falls

Apple Tree Dental has opened a comprehensive dental clinic in Fergus Falls to improve the oral health of people in the Otter Tail County region who cannot access quality dental care.

The Apple Tree Dental Fergus Falls Clinic, located in the Westridge Mall, is the fifth regional dental operation opened by the Minnesota nonprofit.

The new Fergus Falls clinic opened May 10.

Apple Tree Dental began providing dental services on a limited basis at the Fergus Falls Dental Group in Fergus Falls late last year. The new location will allow Apple Tree to provide clinical services five days a week.

Apple Tree Dental provides education, preventive care and a complete line of dental services for people in rural and urban areas across Minnesota. Apple Tree Dental specializes in treating low-income patients, Minnesota Health Care program recipients, Head Start children, senior citizens in nursing homes or assisted living settings, minorities, recent immigrants, and children and adults with disabilities.

Quality dental care is needed throughout the Otter Tail County region, with the greatest need among people without traditional health insurance coverage.

According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, there are more than 17,000 people on Medical Assistance or Minnesota Care in Otter Tail, Grant, Douglas, Stevens, Pope and Wilkin counties.

In Otter Tail County alone, more than 8,200 people are on Minnesota Health Care programs.

Historically, dental care for this vulnerable population has been provided by a designated group of community clinics called safety net providers.

In recent years the number of safety net providers has all but disappeared. There are no full time designated providers left in Otter Tail County.

"The inability to access quality dental care is the top unmet healthcare need for low income and special needs children, adults, and seniors," said Dr. Michael Helgeson, D.D.S., Chairman and CEO of Apple Tree Dental. "It's even more severe in rural Minnesota, where there is a shortage of dentists, higher poverty levels, and lower numbers of insured individuals or families."

Apple Tree Dental will provide comprehensive dental services, including oral health education, cleanings and preventive care, dental exams and x-rays, fillings, implants, root canals, crowns, bridges, extractions, dentures and denture repairs.

"Poor oral health is a serious problem," Helgeson said. "There are many studies that show poor oral health is linked to serious health issues such as diabetes, pneumonia and heart disease. By opening this clinic, we can start to make a difference here in the Fergus Falls region."

Hours for the new clinic are Monday-Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The clinic is located in Suite 33 of the Westridge Mall. Parking and easy access is available on the southeast corner of the mall through Entrance C.

Apple Tree Dental accepts most insurance, including Minnesota Care and Medical Assistance. An Affordable Plan program is also available to people who are uninsured and can't afford the full cost of dental care. The program reduces the fees a person is charged and is based on their income and family size.

To schedule an appointment, or for more information, contact the clinic at 218-998-2218 or toll free at 877-998-2218.

Apple Tree Dental is a nonprofit organization committed to improving the oral health of people with special access needs. Apple Tree Dental provides care to more than 16,000 patients at four clinics and at 100 community sites in 29 counties in Minnesota. Apple Tree Dental was founded in 1985.