Missing teeth can wreak havoc on both your physical appearance and your oral health. Whether you have lost a tooth to damage or decay, your dentist will probably suggest that you use a dental implant to replace it.
Traditional dental implants are anchored to the jawbone, then fitted with a specialized crown that resembles your natural tooth.
There are some patients who are not suitable candidates for traditional implants. These patients may be able to take advantage of a new type of implant known as a zygomatic dental implant.
1. What is a Zygomatic Dental Implant?
The primary difference between traditional implants and zygomatic dental implants is the location of the anchor point. Traditional implants feature a post that is securely anchored into the jawbone. This post provides a sturdy base for the crown that will replace a missing tooth.
Zygomatic dental implants are not anchored in the jawbone. Instead, these implants are anchored in the cheekbone (also known as the zygoma). Since the cheekbone is a sturdy bone, it can serve as a valuable anchor point that will support dental implants for the life of the patient.
2. When are Zygomatic Dental Implants Used?
Zygomatic implants are designed for patients who are exhibiting a high percentage of jawbone resorption. The chewing of food items helps to stimulate the flow of blood to the jawbone, keeping the bone healthy and strong. When a tooth is missing, the jawbone doesn't receive the proper stimulation. This can cause the bone to deteriorate. A deteriorated jawbone may not be strong enough to support a dental implant over a long period of time.
Zygomatic implants offer an alternative anchor point. The cheekbone does not rely on manual stimulation as the jawbone does, so most people's cheekbones are strong enough to support any dental implants needed to restore missing teeth.
3. Are Zygomatic Dental Implants Safe?
Zygomatic dental implants are just as safe as their traditional counterparts, as long as they are placed by an experienced maxillofacial and oral surgeon.
Precision is needed to place zygomatic implants because the anchor points for these implants are in close proximity to the eyes and sinuses. Serious complications could arise if a zygomatic implant is anchored in the wrong location.
As long as you choose to work with a qualified and experienced surgeon, zygomatic dental implants should be safe, effective, and painless once the surgical site has fully healed.