‘Thank you’: Jenison veteran given new teeth

Veterans Voices

GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A Jenison veteran and well-known coach and teacher has a new smile as a thank you for his service.

Fresh Start Dental Implants, Dr. AJ Lytle with Advanced Oral Surgery, NG Dental Prosthetics and Neodent Implants teamed up with McMahon Family Dental to provide Gary Cook with a complete reconstruction of his mouth. 

“Really to just kind of say thank you for your service,” Dr. John M. McMahon told News 8. “He was head baseball coach in Jenison for many years and so it’s kind of one of those things, it’s close to the heart, and it ties to something that we really we really feel strong about.”

Cook is in three hall of fames including the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame. Jenison’s baseball field is also dedicated in his name.

The Kentwood alum was drafted in 1967 and sent to engineering and mapping school in Virginia before serving in Ethiopia. 

“Gary’s an awesome guy. He’s been a special part of our practice and he’s been an awesome patient,” McMahon said.

Gary Cook
Gary Cook before and after his dental reconstruction surgery. (Courtesy)

The group completed the surgery in September after surprising Cook during a consultation. Until now, he has used partial dentures and knew the Department of Veterans Affairs would not be able to help with implants.

“I almost fell out of my chair. I mean, I was shaking. I thought, ‘You’re kidding!'” Cook told News 8 after learning he would receive the full arch prosthesis for free. “I couldn’t wait to tell my wife. It was just an awesome feeling, you know. That was a nice thing.”

Cook is looking forward to tasting food again and not worrying about his teeth slipping out during conversation. 

“I never wore my partials to bed at night and I’m in the habit in taking them out at night and I almost tried to take these out,” Cook said with a chuckle a few weeks after surgery.

The procedure for full dental implants typically runs $50,000.

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