Apple Tree Hosts Dental Clinic for Kids in Detroit Lakes

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Here’s something to smile about: Dental health staff from Apple Tree Dental in Hawley will be available to provide all dental services for children ages 1-18 in Detroit Lakes on Jan. 11 and 12.

Dental clinic for kids coming to DL Jan. 11-12

Here’s something to smile about: A dental outreach clinic for children ages 1-18 will be held in Detroit Lakes Jan. 11 and 12.

Dental health staff from Apple Tree Dental in Hawley will be available to provide all dental services for children covered by Minnesota health care programs and Minnesota Medical Assistance.

“This is wonderful for our kids,” said Annie Vigen, registered nurse with Becker County Community Health. “We lack dentists who serve that population. There are not a lot of dentists who accept kids (covered by state health programs) in this area.”

Minnesota health programs have one of the lowest dental reimbursement rates in the country, Vigen said. “Call your legislators. You’d think they’d care a little more about children’s teeth,” she said.

That’s why the twice-yearly dental clinics in Becker County put on by Apple Tree Dental are so useful, she added.

“Some families have to drive to Hawley and Fergus Falls and Deerwood to find a dentist to treat their kids,” she said. “They have to find the time and transportation to get there. Sometimes they have to take time off from work — it’s hard on them.”

In good news for teens, the clinics now accept kids up to age 18.

“It used to be up to age 12,” Vigen said. “We found we were missing those kids (ages 13-18).”

Appointments must be made in advance by calling 1-888-683-1038 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“They can’t just show up,” Vigen said. “They have to have an appointment.”

Those who need help with transportation should ask at the time they make an appointment.

The clinic will be held at Essentia Health St. Mary’s North Campus at 114 Frazee Street E. in Detroit Lakes.

In the past, the clinic has offered about 30 appointments and “they fill up pretty fast,” Vigen said.

The Apple Tree Dental staff visits Detroit Lakes twice a year, and includes dentists as well as dental hygienists “so kids can get a cleaning and all checked out,” Vigen said. “If they need additional work, they can do it the next day, or at Apple Tree in Hawley.”

In 1997, community leaders in northwestern Minnesota asked Apple Tree to help solve one of Minnesota’s worst dental access problems, resulting in the establishment of the Hawley Center.

There has been talk of holding more dental outreach clinics in Becker County, because the need is there, Vigen said.

“Ideally, we’d like to have kids see a dentist every six months,” she said. “That doesn’t always happen. This is a chance for kids to see the dentist, sometimes for the first time.”

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