A Guide to Zygomatic Implants

In the world of implant dentistry and teeth restoration, zygomatic implants are a unique and welcome option for individuals who may be ineligible for traditional implant procedures. Learn more about zygomatic implants, and how they are able to help patients with missing teeth and significant bone loss or degeneration.

What are zygomatic implants?

Zygomatic implants, also referred to as ZAGA or zygoma implants, are longer than traditional implants and used for ‘remote anchorage’ in full mouth dental rehabilitation. Dentists use them when there is massive bone loss or other issues in the upper jaw preventing the use of traditional implants. Zygomatic implants can replace an entire upper arch of teeth in combination with other implant posts. Full jaw rehabilitation usually requires the dentist to place four implants. One to four Zygoma implants can be placed securely into the zygoma bone, more commonly known as the cheekbone.

How do they work?

When teeth are missing in the jaw, the surrounding bone ‘wears’ away and becomes lost over time. This can make it complicated to replace an arch of teeth, as full mouth implants require patients to have a sufficient level of bone volume in their jaw. This is where zygomatic implants play a key role, as the implant posts extend past the jawbone and anchor in the zygoma bone instead. Using the zygomatic bone provides the necessary stability while also avoiding the need for any bone grafting.

The zygomatic implant treatment process begins with scans of a patient’s mouth and 3D imaging technology. WIth this, our team carefully plans the placement of the implants, identifying the best positions to ensure stability and longevity. In a standard case placing four implants, we place two in the middle of the upper jaw, and the other two at approximately a 45 degree angle into the cheekbone. The angle ensures they avoid areas of low bone density and helps them to securely support the full arch of replacement teeth. In some cases, all four implants will be placed into the zygoma if bone volume and density in the jaw is significantly lacking.

The zygomatic implants procedure is completed under anaesthetic, with implants inserted into the bone through an incision in the gum. It is important to secure the new replacement teeth soon after surgery. The new teeth are usually attached to the implants within 48 hours.

Who can get zygomatic dental implants?

As mentioned, zygoma implant treatment is appropriate for patients with bone loss in the jaw who would otherwise have to go through lengthy bone grafting to receive full mouth implants. This level of bone loss in the upper jaw can come from missing teeth, or from other issues including periodontal disease, trauma to the jaw, or congenital conditions.

We typically recommend zygomatic implants to patients who have previously had one or more unsuccessful bone grafting procedures, or have been considered a poor candidate for traditional dental implants. Before committing to any treatment, a dentist will go through a detailed evaluation of a patient’s overall oral health and detailed dental history to determine whether zygomatic implants would be suitable for them.

Benefits of zygoma implants

Receiving zygomatic implants can be a significant change for a patient with most or all of their upper teeth missing, with the treatment providing a series of important benefits, including:

  • Stable Implant Support: The zygomatic bone provides a strong foundation for a replacement arch of teeth, particularly for patients with serious bone loss in their jaw. 
  • Quality of Life: Replacing missing teeth with implant supported teeth usually allows patients to eat, speak and smile with ease and without any worry, improving their overall day-to-day lives.
  • Reduced Treatment Time: Zygomatic implants allow patients to bypass the need for bone grafting, meaning they can receive their full set of replacement teeth with a reduced number of dentist appointments and time in the chair.

Risks

In all procedures, we strive to ensure the highest level of safety for our patients and to provide treatment that will last as long as possible. However, there are always some risks with surgical procedures. Zygomatic implants share many of the same risks of full mouth implant treatment, including infection or implant failure, where the implants struggle to fuse with the existing bone. However, there is a minimal risk of either of these issues occurring.

In addition, zygomatic implants also run the risk of causing sinus complications due to their placement in the cheekbone. However, this is also unlikely when an experienced dentist performs the procedure. Prior to any work being done, your dentist will explain all possible risks and how to manage your aftercare period to ensure optimal health and recovery.

How much do zygomatic implants cost?

The cost of zygomatic implants varies with each different case, depending on the complexity of the surgery required and the number of implant posts that will be used. While often a more expensive upfront cost than other replacement options like single implants or dentures, zygomatic implants are more cost-effective as they typically last much longer. Our team will be able to provide a comprehensive breakdown of your full zygomatic implants cost — get in touch for a quote.

How long do zygomatic implants last?

Zygomatic implants are typically a long lasting replacement option with proper aftercare, including regularly visiting the dentist for a check up to identify and prevent any complications. Your dentist will also provide a comprehensive list of post-surgery care instructions to ensure your implants heal well. This usually involves following a soft diet for the first couple of months following the surgery and using over-the-counter pain medication for a few days post-operation. 

Unfortunately, while the implants should last a lifetime with proper care, the replacement teeth will wear over time, though following daily oral hygiene practices will help them to last. Depending on the rate of wear, we may be able to replace the full arch in a day, removing the old teeth in a morning appointment and reinserting the new teeth in the afternoon.

Zygomatic implants at CDIC

Zygomatic implants are an excellent option for patients with missing teeth who have lost significant bone in their upper jaw. Dr Hillel New, one of Australia’s formative dentists trained in All On 4 and other full mouth treatments, brings experience and confidence to all his procedures, and commits to supporting patients on their smile journeys. Get in touch to book a consultation and find out how we can help you recover your smile.