Implants Change Lives at Cooper Moss Advanced Dentistry

Unless you’re a professional dentist, odds are you can’t tell the difference between a real front tooth and an implant. “They’re extremely natural looking,” says Dr. Bruce Cooper, co-owner of Cooper Moss Advanced Dentistry in Olympia. “Nobody will have a clue that there’s a missing front tooth. That’s a life changer.”

Implants changed the game when they came on the scene over 30 years ago, say Cooper. “In the past, if you had a missing tooth, your options would have been a removable appliance or a fixed bridge. Bridges required extensive dentistry on the two neighboring teeth, which weren’t the original problem. It actually weakened them.”

Once a rarity, implants are now the most common solution for many dental problems. “Every single day of the week we’re either restoring or replacing someone’s missing tooth or teeth,” says Cooper. “Patients have vastly improved options compared to what they once had.”

Such patients tend to fall into three categories, he notes. “The most common is someone between 40 and 65 who’s had a tooth fail. The structure became weak and eventually broke and had to be removed.” Others may be in their late teens or early twenties and have teeth that never fully formed during development. “We used to have to put bridges on those,” says Cooper.

Then, there are the patients who’ve lost all of their teeth. “Just a few well-placed implants can stabilize dentures,” he says. “It’s not like having an all new set of teeth, but people can gain a lot of satisfaction and comfort. Most find them hugely beneficial.”

In cases where a tooth needs to be surgically replaced, the team at Cooper Moss uses a 3D scanner. Dr. Joseph Moss, co-owner of Cooper Moss, is certified to perform the procedure. “The scanner helps us get right to where the tooth goes,” says Moss. Implants are placed surgically into the jawbone and as the patient heals, the implant fuses with the bone and the two grow together to form a strong foundation for the replacement teeth. Once that happens, custom connector is placed on top of the implant to connect it with the replacement tooth, which is then attached.

For patients, especially those with missing front teeth, the experience is transformative. “First, we’re restoring the function of the tooth,” he says. “It feels like a natural tooth and you don’t have to clean it any differently.” That’s a significant difference from bridges, which can be difficult to clean and floss.

Aside from improved function, people gain confidence, which is just as important, says Cooper. “It really makes a change as far as someone’s smile. Some of the most satisfying implant cases we’ve had are when we’re working with front teeth.”