By Makenzie O'Keefe

THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4) – Students at Thornton High School now have access to crucial dental care within the hallways of their own school. Through the school’s Royal Health Clinic, students can now enroll in preventative dental care.

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Services include screenings, cleanings, fluoride treatment and sealants.

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“It’s a great resource for the students in our community who don’t have the chance to have the resources that many others do have,” explained Daisy Gomez, a senior at the school.

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Staff says dental decay is a problem for medically underserved teenagers. The pain can distract students from learning, and cause them to miss class.

“On average, students in Colorado miss 58 hours of school a year because of dental issues,” explained Jennifer Skrobela, principal of Thornton High School. “I’m so proud we have this available for students now.”

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The service is provided through a partnership with Kids First Health Care and Clinica Family Health. Students can enroll in the program and sign up for an appointment during the school day.

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“When you offer the services they need here in the school building, it just really helps them to be successful,” Skrobela said.

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The health center will bill insurance for students who have it, but will not collect any out-of-pocket copays or fees. Students who do not have insurance can use the services as well.

Staff says this partnership allows students to grow, at a critical time in their lives.

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“For us to help them develop bright smiles at a point where they’re developing that self-confidence is really, really crucial,” explained An Nguyen, the Vice President of Dental Services. “A smile is important.”

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The dental services are provided for students every Tuesday. The Royal Health Clinic also provides medical services such as immunizations or checkups for students.

Makenzie O'Keefe