"We have the truck, and it's up and running," Lindsay Biller said - whose official title is "Oral Health Navigator" for the new Mobile Dental Van which is set up in the parking lot.
Funded by a grant from the Colorado Health Foundation, the van differs from other mobile-dental services in that its aim is to focus specifically on three Jefferson County schools. The van spends its time parked at the schools four days a week providing dental care at a low cost or even for free. Students without dental coverage also can receive services.
"Ninety-two percent of my [students] are at the poverty level or below," Jefferson High School principal Mike Little said.
Metro Community Provider Network operates the van - which is an extension of the medical clinic also at the school.
"This keeps my kids in school," Little said. "They don't have to travel around the metro area to get help."
Some of the help is desperately needed. Often times, the kids who come to the van have never visited a dentist. Some do not even know how to properly brush or floss their teeth. Dr. Ted Sille, a dentist who works onboard the Mobile Dental Van, told 9NEWS one example.
"Of the 20 teeth in that child's mouth, maybe 17 of them need treatment, and this is a child who is 6 or 7 or 8 years old," he said.
Sille says dental problems often lead to more than 8 million lost school hours in Colorado.
"They're not able to concentrate or sleep well," he said. "So it really is a snowball effect if you have a small issue with a tooth."
Sille has also seen infected teeth lead to other health problems.
"In a very extreme dental infections ... infections move through the various cavities and vessels in the skull and can go to the brain," he said.
Organizers of the Mobile Dental Van hope to make it a permanent fixture at Jefferson County Public schools. Community members who are enrolled in the schools' health clinics may also use the mobile-dental van.
Second grader Javier Duran got his first dental exam on-board the van. He learned everything from proper-flossing techniques to the consequences of not taking care of his teeth.
"If you don't brush your teeth, they're going to look black and ugly," he said.
He also learned that a trip to the dentist is nothing to fear.
"The doctor was pretty funny," he said while showing off his new smile.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)