Dental implants have changed the way restorative dental care is seen the world over. For many people who have lost teeth decades ago or recently, this treatment provides a straightforward way to restore their teeth and help them with the more manual aspects of eating, such as biting and chewing.
But when you read about dental implants in most articles, they are in fact referring to endosteal implants when in actuality, there are a few more varieties available. Almost every dentist Bondi Junction now has the training and facilities to fit endosteal implants, and as it is becoming more commonplace, they are now moving on to other types of implants too, such as zygomatic implants. In this article, zygomatic implants are explored in a bit more depth.
What are zygomatic implants?
As mentioned earlier, in most cases of restorative dental care, endosteal implants are the type that is referred to in articles, studies etc.
Zygomatic implants, however, are relatively new and can be used to secure heavier prosthetics (like dentures) to the upper jaw, using the zygoma or cheekbone as the anchor point rather than the jaw itself.
Why would zygomatic implants be needed?
To be suitable for endosteal implants, you need to have a healthy jaw bone that is thick and not under attack from disease or medication. For these implants to fuse, you need to be healthy, and there needs to be new bone being laid down, which can be trickier if you have an illness or are older. For instance, if you have advanced osteoporosis, you would likely be unsuitable for traditional endosteal implants.
With zygomatic implants, you can have the implant fitted even if you have less jaw bone, are suffering from a degenerative disorder or are undertaking a medication regimen that may involve immunosuppressant drugs. Physically, the implants are around 3 times longer than standard implants; this allows them to go through the upper jaw to the cheekbone.
Fitting and fusing
As these implants are longer than standard implants, it can take your dental team a bit longer to fit them; an average implant fitting takes around 2 hours, but with zygomatic implants, it can take up to 3. As a result, the procedure may be spread over multiple sessions.
The fusing time is much the same as a standard implant; 3-6 months for healthy people and for those who are a bit older, it can take up to 9 months. Extraction rules still apply, and if a zygomatic implant is showing no signs of fusing 12 months post-fitting, your dental team will probably remove it.
There are no more risks linked to having a zygomatic implant fitted than that of a standard implant. But you should not assume that all dental teams can fit zygomatic implants; it takes a bit more additional training than a standard implant. Therefore, you should search for this subsection of implant fitting on dental surgery websites.
Patients often worry that having a larger implant fitted will increase the infection risk, but if the fitting is cared for correctly and fitted by a dental team with knowledge of this area, this is unlikely.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.