How Apple Tree Has Grown

July 1985 Apple Tree Dental History
Apple Tree Dental Founded
Michael J Helgeson, CEO

In 1985, Apple Tree Dental was founded to address the unmet dental needs of frail elders living in the Twin Cities, subsequently growing to become the Coon Rapids Center.

1995 Apple Tree Dental History
Launch of First Sister Program
North Carolina map

In 1995, Apple Tree helped launch Carolina's Mobile Dentistry to serve nursing facility residents in Charlotte, North Carolina, starting Apple Tree's first sister program.

1997 Apple Tree Dental History
Hawley Center Established
Hawley staff

In 1997, community leaders from the rural Red River Valley area 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.

1999 Apple Tree Dental History
Second Sister Program Launched
Louisiana

In 1999, Apple Tree helped launched Operation Smile in Sicily Island, Louisiana to serve Head Start preschoolers and institutionalized elders on-site, becoming Apple Tree's second sister program.

2004 Apple Tree Dental History
Madelia Center Established

In 2004, Apple Tree opened the Madelia Center in the local hospital to help meet dental access needs among a low-income Hispanic population in southwestern Minnesota.

2008 Apple Tree Dental History
Rochester Center Established

In 2008, two geriatricians from the Mayo Clinic were desperately seeking on-site dental care for their nursing facility residents, resulting in the Rochester Center.  This initially opened as an on-site/mobile care program only.  It later expanded to a brick-and-mortar clinic in 2013.

2009 Apple Tree Dental History
Fergus Falls Center Established

In 2009, Apple Tree opened the Fergus Falls Center to help provide dental services and fill longstanding gaps in the region.

2014 Apple Tree Dental History
Mounds View Center Established

In 2014, Apple Tree opened the Mounds View Center to expand services to nearly a thousand patients on waiting lists, and to create a new source of advanced dental services for people needing IV sedation services in the Twin Cities.

2015 Apple Tree Dental History
San Mateo Center Established

In 2015, Apple Tree opened the San Mateo Center in California, creating a dental program to meet growing gaps in the availability of geriatric and special care dentistry services in the area.  This program was established through an affiliation with Sonrisas Community Dental care, which was founded in 2001.

In 2017, Apple Tree transitioned the management of the san Mateo and Sonrisas Centers to local leaders.  The new organization managing these Centers is now called Sonrisas Dental Health.

2016 Apple Tree Dental History
Little Falls Outreach Clinic Established

In 2016, Apple Tree opened the Little Falls Outreach Clinic, co-located within the Family Medical Center on the St. Gabriel's Hospital campus in Little Falls, Minnesota.  This program has pioneered medical-dental care management for people with diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions.

2018 Apple Tree Dental History
Transition of Little Falls Centers
Little Falls team

In 2018, Apple Tree transitioned the Little Falls Outreach Clinic to the Little Falls Center for Dental Health, open five days a week with a full-time dentist.

2019 Apple Tree Dental History
First Pediatric General Anesthesia Case

In 2019, Apple Tree pediatric specialist Dr. Nathaniel Cook performed Apple Tree's first in-office general anesthesia case in collaboration with a dental anesthesiologist, at the Mounds View Center for Dental Health.

2020 Apple Tree Dental History
Fairmont Center Established
Fairmont operatory with mobile equipment

In 2020, in the Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont, Apple Tree opened the Fairmont Center for Dental Health with mobile equipment.  In April 2021, the Fairmont Center moved into a refurbished section of the same building and opened with a full team.

September 2020 Apple Tree Dental History
New Fergus Falls Center Opened
Fergus Falls Building

In the fall of 2020, with the help of generous donors, Apple Tree opened the new-and-improved Fergus Falls Center, which was the first custom-built Center Apple Tree had opened.

How Apple Tree Has Grown

  • In 1985, Apple Tree was founded to address the unmet dental needs of frail elders living in the Twin Cities, subsequently growing to become the Coon Rapids Center.
  • In 1995, Apple Tree helped launch Carolina’s Mobile Dentistry to serve nursing facility residents in Charlotte, North Carolina, becoming Apple Tree’s first sister program.
  • In 1997, community leaders from the rural Red River Valley area 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.
  • In 1999, Apple Tree helped launch Operation Smile in Sicily Island, Louisiana to serve Head Start preschoolers and institutionalized elders on-site, becoming Apple Tree’s second sister program.
  • In 2004, Apple Tree opened the Madelia Center in the local hospital to help meet dental access needs among a low-income Hispanic population in southwestern Minnesota.
  • In 2008, two geriatricians from the Mayo Clinic were desperately seeking on-site dental care for their nursing facility residents, resulting in the Rochester Center.
  • In 2009, Apple Tree opened the Fergus Falls Center to help provide dental services and fill longstanding gaps in the region.
  • In 2014, Apple Tree opened the Mounds View Center to expand services to nearly a thousand patients on waiting lists, and to create a new source of advanced dental services for people needing IV sedation services in the Twin Cities.
  • In 2015, Apple Tree opened the San Mateo Center  in California, creating a dental program to meet growing gaps in the availability of geriatric and special care dentistry services in the area.  This program was established through an affiliation with Sonrisas Community Dental Center, which was founded in 2001.
  • In 2016, Apple Tree opened the Little Falls Outreach Clinic co-located within the Family Medical Center on the St. Gabriel’s Hospital campus in Little Falls, Minnesota.  This program is pioneering medical-dental care management for people with diabetes, heart disease and other conditions.
  • In 2017, Apple Tree transitioned the management of the San Mateo and Sonrisas Centers to local leaders.  The new organization managing these Centers is now called Sonrisas Dental Health.
  • In 2018, Apple Tree transitioned the Little Falls Outreach Clinic to the Little Falls Center for Dental Health, open five days a week with a full-time dentist.
  • In 2019, Apple Tree pediatric specialist Dr. Nathaniel Cook performed Apple Tree’s first in-office general anesthesia case in collaboration with a dental anesthesiologist, at the Mounds View Center for Dental Health.
  • In 2020, in the Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont, Apple Tree opened the Fairmont Center for Dental Health with mobile equipment.  In April 2021, the Fairmont Center moved into a refurbished section of the same building and opened with a full team.