Are Dental Implants Right for Me?

Dental implants are a powerful restorative option for missing teeth, but they are not right for everyone. Patients should have good oral health, a dense jawbone, and be committed to ongoing care, in addition to other factors. Dr. Kenneth W. Coffey can evaluate your candidacy for dental implants during a one-on-one consultation at our Chicago, IL-area practice. If they seem appropriate for your case, he can begin designing a treatment plan.

When Implants Are Recommended

Dental implants can replace anywhere from one missing tooth to an entire arch of teeth. Some of the most important candidacy requirements include:

Tooth iconSufficient bone density: Because dental implants are anchored directly into the jaw, the underlying bone must be dense enough to support them.

Apple iconGood health: Since these restorations are placed during surgery, patients must be in good overall health for the best outcome. Smoking or systemic medical conditions such as diabetes, in particular, can impact healing and consequently undermine your success.

Tooth iconCommitment to care: Even if implant placement and restoration are successful, your implants will not last long if you do not care for them properly. Like your natural teeth, implants require good oral hygiene and regular check-ups and cleanings.

The initial consultation with Dr. Coffey is key to determining your candidacy for implants. During this discussion, he will ask about your goals and medical history and evaluate the health of your jaw. 

Understanding the Risk of Bone Loss

One of the biggest obstacles to qualifying for implants is jawbone deterioration. When we lose teeth, we also lose stimulation from their roots. Without it, the body has no way of knowing that the jawbone needs nutrients and consequently redirects them elsewhere. Even with traditional restorations such as bridges, the jawbone will deteriorate over time. As a result, the patients who need implants the most often lack the necessary bone to support them. 

Preparatory Treatment

If you are missing teeth but do not have enough dense, healthy jawbone tissue to support implants, Dr. Coffey may recommend a bone graft to enhance your candidacy. This procedure is designed to strengthen the jaw by placing a small piece of bone tissue or synthetic materials in the jaw. 

If you are missing teeth but lack sufficient tissue to support dental implants, Dr. Coffey may recommend a bone graft to enhance your candidacy.

In most cases, patients must wait at least six months to ensure that the graft was effective before they can receive dental implants. However, some patients may be able to undergo both grafting and placement procedures during the same appointment. For patients who need an implant in their upper jaw, a specialized type of graft called a sinus lift may be necessary to make room below the sinuses.

Other Treatment Options

While dental implants are especially effective restorative options, they are not the only ones available. Though they cannot halt jawbone deterioration, traditional crowns, bridges, and dentures can still fill the gaps in your smile and restore your bite. 

Determine Your Candidacy

Dr. Coffey can evaluate your oral health, needs, and goals to find out whether dental implants are right for you. Reach out at (703) 403-7888 or online to schedule a consultation and discuss your options. 

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