What are zygomatic implants? How do they differ from traditional ones?

Dani Dinkel

Written by Dani Dinkel RDH

In the recent past, you had to be the perfect, ideal candidate in order to get a dental implant. Zygomatic implants allow people with severe bone loss an alternative to traditional implants. Since dental implants are the best tooth-replacement option, this new development in dental implants is beneficial to many patients.

What is a zygomatic implant?

Different types and parts of dental implants

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

Zygomatic dental implants were designed for patients who have had too much bone loss for traditional implants. They are much longer than other dental implants because they must reach the zygomatic bone or zygoma. Your cheeks sit directly on top of the zygoma, so you can see that these implants are quite long.

Patients who have undergone bone loss are not ideal candidates for traditional implants. To even be considered, the patient would have to have bone grafting procedures, which are not always very successful. Zygomatic implants have made dental implants available to even those with severe bone loss.

The zygoma bone, or cheekbone, is denser than other facial bones, which provides for even more stabilization once the implant has had time to integrate into the surrounding bone. As with traditional implants, zygomatic implants can last a lifetime and restore full chewing function for people with missing teeth.

Zygomatic implant surgery and recovery

Dental implant process

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

The procedure to place zygoma implants is not much different than traditional implants. You will be numb during treatment and should only feel pressure and vibrations during the placement.

The recovery process is quick. You should expect some tenderness and swelling, but those symptoms should only last for 24-48 hours after the procedure. You can place an ice pack on your face and jaw periodically for the first couple of days to help with the swelling.

You should only experience mild discomfort and your surgeon may recommend over-the-counter pain medications as needed. On the third day of recovery, you may notice more swelling and bruising as the area begins to heal. This is a good sign and should only last for a couple of days.

Make sure you stay hydrated and get plenty of healthy nutrition during the healing process.

What is the zygomatic implant success rate?

The zygomatic implant success rate is just as high as traditional dental implants - between 97% and 98%. Healthier patients who have minimal health conditions and are non-smokers may have a better result than others.

Zygomatic implants cost

Zygomatic implants are more costly than other implants. The reason is that not as many dental providers can place these implants. They require a special technique and are usually performed by a specialist. They can also vary based on where you live and how many implants you need. The average cost for zygomatic implants is between $12,000 and $30,000 when traditional implant cost varies from $3,500 up to $6,700.

FAQ

Who is a good candidate for zygoma dental implant?

There are several types of patients who would be good candidates for zygomatic implants. Patients who have mobile maxillary (upper) teeth are good candidates, as well as patients who currently have a traditional denture and would like better retention.

Zygomatic implants are also a treatment option for individuals who have had traditional implants that have failed, or those who do not have enough supporting bone for regular implants.

Where are zygomatic implants placed?

Zygomatic dental implants are placed in the zygoma bone, which lies directly under your cheeks. They are placed at an angle, following the shape of your face.

Are zygomatic dental implants painful?

Placing zygomatic dental implants is not any more painful than implants, which only cause mild discomfort. In fact, placing a zygomatic implant will prevent you from needing bone grafting, which would consist of several surgeries. If anything, a zygomatic implant will reduce pain and discomfort.

Your dentist or oral surgeon will administer anesthetic and ensure you are comfortable throughout the procedure. Feeling pressure and vibrations are normal, but the procedure should not be painful.

What are possible complications after zygoma implant surgery?

Zygomatic implants enjoy a high success rate - between 97% and 98%. There are possible complications, as there are with traditional implants. You could develop sinusitis, which will resolve itself on its own.

You could also develop paresthesia, which is a tingling or prickling sensation, around the area of the implant placement. Implants are placed very close to nerves, and if one is disturbed, it could cause paraesthesia. Most of the time, this also resolves on its own.

Lastly, if the maxillary sinus is perforated, you may develop an oro-antral fistula. If this occurs, your surgeon may need to perform a simple procedure to close the opening between the oral cavity and maxillary sinus.

How long do zygomatic implants take to heal?

One of the great things about zygomatic implants is that they can be restored with an implant crown immediately. There is no healing time involved, with regards to placing the crown. The gum tissue around the area may need a week or two to heal, and osseointegration of the bone and implant will not finish for about five months.

References

  1. Complications of Zygomatic Implants: Our Clinical Experience with 4 Cases - NCBI