FAIRMONT, Minn. (KEYC) — Apple Tree Dental and Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont are partnering to provide dental care to low-income families, those with disabilities and the elderly thanks to a grant from the Schmeeckle Foundation.
The Schmeeckle Foundation is providing a multi-year grant totaling more than $2 million to support the partnership with Apple Tree Dental and Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont.
“And we identified 21,000 people in Fairmont, in Martin County and in the surrounding counties that have public benefits for dental care but who never even got one dental visit last year,” said CEO of Apple Tree Dental, Dr. Michael Helgeson.
Apple Tree Dental is a non-profit community clinic founded in 1985 that provided more than 96,000 dental visits and screenings in Minnesota last year.
The Fairmont site will become Apple Tree Dental’s eighth site in the state.
“Our work here in the Fairmont center is going to begin early next year in some space that already exists, during next year we’ll be recruiting more local staff we’ll be finishing plans for permanent remodeling right here in the mayo health clinic site,” said Helgerson.
Apple Tree Dental hopes to complete the site in 2021 and has a four phase plan to make the site’s offerings mobile and make it handicap accessible to help all community members attain a healthy mouth.
“The connections between dental problems and medical problems have been studied more and more in recent years and there’s a lot of evidence that a small investment in dental care have huge returns in preventing general health complications,” said Helgerson.