Graftless Zygomatic Implants

Zygomatic dental implants use longer fixtures to place implants into the zygoma bone, otherwise known as the cheekbone. This advanced technique is used in patients with low bone volume in the jaw.


Zygomatic implants can support a fully functional restoration. The main advantage of this type of restoration over other treatment options is the shorter recovery and rehabilitation time. For example, zygomatic implants can replace dentures in just one visit.


When an individual loses a tooth, the jaw bone shrinks away, leading to a narrow ridge. The sinuses may also be affected by tooth loss. Since dental implants are placed directly into the jaw bone, there needs to be enough bone density to support the implant.


Patients may require bone grafts to increase bone volume. Unfortunately, bone grafts are unpredictable and extend the treatment time significantly. In addition, nervous patients may be reluctant to undergo multiple surgeries.


Zygomatic dental implants are used when there isn’t sufficient bone density to support an implant. So if you’ve been turned away in the past, this could offer a graftless alternative to help you smile with confidence again.


Turned down for dental implants?


Does this sound familiar?


“I’m desperate to fix my teeth, but I’ve been told I don’t have enough bone for implants. Am I a lost cause?”


I hear this question a lot. Many patients are turned down for dental implants by their dentist, and the reason is nearly always the same—bone volume in the jaw. Patients are often told they don’t have enough bone volume to support dental implants. And here I am, telling you that you can have dental implants without so much as a glance at your X-rays.


It might sound like crazy talk, but it isn’t. Unfortunately, there are many patients out there who wrongly believe they can never have dental implants. They are desperate to fix their smile, but since many dentists don’t offer zygomatic dental implants, they are turned away before they even get to hear all of their options.


Why aren’t zygomatic implants offered?


Quite simply, it comes down to training and experience. You need to have a certain amount of bone available for me to place an implant predictably. Sometimes that bone is lost if you’ve had an infection, trauma or if you had your teeth extracted a long time ago.


Some solutions allow us to predictably place implants using a graftless solution. For example, if you’ve had your top teeth missing for a long time and have a full denture, or you’ve had severe periodontal disease that has destroyed a lot of the bone, you may have been told implants are impossible. Alternatively, your dentist may have told you you need to have extensive sinus grafting to be able to place implants.


Bone grafting is a long process. It isn’t always very predictable. And once it has healed, there is no guarantee you’ll have enough bone volume to support the implant. This can be very disappointing for patients.


What is the alternative to bone grafting?


The alternative to sinus grafting is to use a treatment option called zygomatic implants. This is where we use bone from a slightly different area to stabilise the implants. This requires longer implants that can reach up to the cheekbone.


Perhaps the best thing about this treatment is that it is faster and more predictable than sinus grafting. So not only is this treatment more effective than sinus grafting, but it’s also quicker.


So, why aren’t more dentists offering this option? The answer to that is quite simple. It requires a lot of experience, training and mentoring. However, zygomatic implants have been around since 1989 and have been shown to be very effective and safe.


Who is a suitable candidate for zygomatic implants?


Zygomatic implants are suitable in the following cases:


  • You’ve had full dentures of years or decades
  • You’ve had an extensive infection in the jawbone
  • You’ve had your molar teeth removed and need a sinus lift
  • You’ve been told you don’t have enough bone or need extensive bone grafting


This treatment option will give you fixed and secure teeth fast. So you can eat your favourite foods, smile and speak with confidence, and enjoy your life without worrying about your dentures.


Since bone loss in the jawbone can lead to a sunken appearance in the face, zygomatic implants will help to prevent further bone loss. A fixed prosthesis will help elongate the face and avoid the sunken appearance typical with dentures.


The procedure


Dr Pav can often complete the procedure in a single session. It is a surgical procedure, and you will be sedated throughout. This means that you shouldn’t have any discomfort.


This is a type of sedation dentistry that is ideal for nervous patients. Intravenous sedation means that you will be relaxed throughout the procedure. Knowing that you will be under sedation can help put your nerves at ease, as it will make the procedure seem to pass a lot quicker.


We can fit a temporary bridge the same day, which means you will have load-bearing implants immediately. Then, we allow the implants to heal and integrate with the bone before placing your permanent prosthetic restoration. This process is known as osseointegration, and the time varies between individuals.


Your new teeth are secured directly into the implants. While conventional implants can support crowns or a fixed bridge, zygomatic implants are best suited to a complete arch restoration when you’ve had significant bone loss.


How long do zygomatic implants take to heal?


In all, the process can take between 4-6 months for the zygomatic implants to heal completely. Every step of the treatment is completed in our practice, which means you don’t have to spend time travelling between sites.


Don’t give up hope if you’ve been told you don’t have enough bone for implants; Dr Pav can help you.


The first step is to arrange an appointment to learn more about the treatment and clinical procedure. Your appointment is a great time to ask questions about the technology used and the difference between available treatments.


How do zygomatic implants work?

Very simply, when you don’t have enough bone for dental implants in your top jaw, you have a number of options. These options include sinus grafting (you may be without teeth for a year), grafting using bone taken from your hip (trust me, it’s not a pleasant procedure and not predictable!), or have zygomatic implants.


Zygomatic implants use your cheekbone for anchorage and are longer implants compared to the standard sizes. This means we can use your existing natural bone to give you fixed teeth supported on implants. This is possible even when you don’t have enough bone by anchoring the implant in an adjacent site.

How successful are zygomatic implants?

This treatment is more successful than sinus grafting or hip grafting by a wide margin. Additionally, we can usually give you fixed teeth the same day and have only one surgical procedure instead of several.


The studies have shown zygomatic implants to have a success rate of 95% over a ten year period. Compare this to the 70% achieved by sinus grafting or hip grafting, and it’s quite obvious zygomatic implants are by far the better choice.

Are zygomatic implants safe?

The answer to this is yes. This is a safe procedure that is far more predictable than sinus grafting or hip grafting. The most significant factor with zygomatic implants is they need to be placed with a very high level of precision.


Most implant dentists in the UK are not comfortable with the anatomy in the area or are not comfortable ensuring the zygomatic implants are placed in the exact position required. They, therefore, refer these cases out to more experienced colleagues.