A Lifetime of Smiles: Dr. Jay Cook, DDS

Story by Jeanie Edgmon

Bridging Craftsmanship, Artistry, and Dentistry

Family First Dental, led by the remarkable Dr. Jay Cook, DDS, is more than just a dental practice; it’s a sanctuary for smiles, where generations of families have found comfort, care, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. Dr. Cook’s journey into dentistry began as a young boy and has evolved into a lifelong passion for the craft, artistry, and, most importantly, the people he serves.

A Childhood Dream Comes Into Vision

Dr. Cook’s fascination with dentistry was ignited from an ordinary childhood dental appointment, an experience that many might find mundane. However, for young Jay Cook, that visit ignited a spark that would shape the course of his life. He remembers sitting in the dental chair, contemplating the intricate work of the dentist, and thinking, “I could do this, and perhaps could do it even better.” This moment of inspiration planted the seed of a dream that would flourish into a thriving career.

As he journeyed through his formative years, Dr. Cook’s passion for dentistry only grew stronger. He had the privilege of participating in a high school internship program that allowed him to gain hands-on experience in the field. This internship was a pivotal moment in his life, confirming his choice to pursue a career in dentistry. It was during this time that he realized that dentistry was not just a profession; it was a calling—a way to blend his love for people, craftsmanship, and artistry into a single, fulfilling endeavor.

Education and Excellence

Dr. Cook’s path toward becoming a dentist was marked by dedication and a relentless pursuit of knowledge. He earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Kansas and, in 1988, achieved his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Armed with his dental degree, he embarked on a career that would ultimately touch the lives of countless individuals and families.

Family First Dental: Where Smiles Begin

In 1988, Dr. Cook established Family First Dental, a private practice that would become a cornerstone of the community. The name itself reflects his philosophy—one that prioritizes knowing patients personally and treating them like family. Its philosophy resonates deeply with his patients, many of whom have been part of the practice for multiple generations. Dr. Cook humbly acknowledges this loyalty, saying, “We recognize that it takes a massive commitment from a patient to make a practice their dental home. The loyalty of multi-generational patients is very humbling. I’m honored that many of our patients have been with us for decades.”

Family First Dental offers a wide range of services, covering everything from family dentistry and cosmetic enhancements to restorative procedures and implant dentistry. This comprehensive approach to dental care ensures that patients can receive most of their dental services under one roof, enhancing both comfort and convenience.

One remarkable feature of Family First Dental is its in-office cone beam CT technology. This advanced imaging system provides numerous advantages, such as more precise treatment planning ultimately leading to better outcomes and a more comfortable patient experience. Dr. Cook’s commitment to staying at the forefront of dental technology is a testament to his dedication to delivering top-notch care.

Caring for the Whole Patient

Having a patient-centric philosophy paired with the advantage of providing long-term, and often life-long, dental care has allowed Dr. Cook to gain a valuable perspective on a patient’s general health. He routinely provides oral exams, spotting oral cancer in its earliest stages. More than that, he notices subtle signs of health problems, in addition to dental, as well as areas that could become cancerous. He has the advantage of seeing people multiple times a year and can catch certain issues early.

The in-house cone beam CT technology also aids in providing more expansive care. He routinely identifies problems leading to sleep apnea, for example.

“Many people do not realize the connection between dental and physical health. We not only can increase the quality of life but also the length of life because people with better oral health statistically live longer. Here, we view everything through this lens and strive to provide the kind of care we’d want to receive, the kind of care we want for our own families,” shared Cook.

Family First’s Outstanding Team

Family First Dental is also known for its outstanding team, many of whom have stayed with the practice for their entire career.

“I am really proud of our people. Our team is comprised of some of the most skilled and compassionate people in the industry. They make this practice what it is and a huge reason why our patients stay with us,” he enthused.

A Life Beyond Dentistry

While Dr. Cook’s professional life is filled with the smiles of his patients, his personal life is equally vibrant. He shares his life with his loving wife, Laura, of 35 years, and three wonderful children—Jamie, Jonathan, and Jacob. His wife is a middle school teacher in the Blue Valley School District.

Their family resides in Stilwell, and they are deeply engaged in the community, exemplifying the spirit of giving back that defines the character of Dr. Cook and his family.

Beyond his dental practice, Dr. Cook’s hobbies reveal his multifaceted personality. His love for antique cars showcases his appreciation for craftsmanship and history. Backpacking allows him to connect with nature and recharge his spirit. Karate speaks to his discipline and commitment to personal growth. And every year, he steps into the role of Santa Claus, spreading joy and warmth to those around him.

He is also passionate about animals, having a wide variety of pets, and joking that there are more than he can count. His care for them extends to volunteerism within animal rescue organizations.

Dr. Cook is a proud member of the Masons and Shriners, two prominent service organizations that are dedicated to bettering the community.

Dr. Cook’s commitment to his community extends to organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America and the Kansas Mission of Mercy. He serves as a positive influence and mentor, embodying the values of leadership, service, and compassion. He travels with his mobile dental trailer, serving patients in underserved areas.

A Journey Continues: Education and Growth

To maintain the high standard of excellence that has defined his practice and career, Dr. Cook dedicates a significant portion of his time to advanced continuing education courses. His commitment to staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in dentistry ensures that his patients receive the best possible care, backed by the most current knowledge and techniques.

Dr. Cook’s commitment to continuous learning exemplifies his specialized training and certification in esthetic smile improvement, implant dentistry, and Invisalign® orthodontics. These qualifications empower him to offer comprehensive services, allowing him to address diverse dental needs with precision and expertise.

Dr. Jay Cook, DDS, stands as a beacon of excellence in the world of dentistry. His journey from a young boy inspired by a dental appointment to a respected and beloved dentist with a thriving practice is a testament to the power of passion and dedication. Family First Dental, under his leadership, is not just a dental clinic; it’s a haven where smiles are nurtured, generations find care, and the artistry of dentistry takes center stage. Dr. Cook’s life is a testament to the idea that when one’s career aligns with their passion, the result is a lifetime of smiles—both for the dentist and the countless patients whose lives he has touched.

For more information about Family First Dental, call 913-381-2600, or visit them at Family-First-Dental.com