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  • Writer's pictureSoong-Ryong Jung (David) , DDS, MS, PhD

What are Zygomatic Dental Implants?

Plano, TX - People assume there is only one way for dental implants to be attached to the upper jaw. While it is a typical treatment for upper implants there are a few disadvantages for using screws in that area. For starters, the bone in the upper jaw is thin and covers a large nasal cavity. So, if a patient's upper jaw is worn down due to periodontitis, the surgeon might be hesitant to drill in that area.

However, there are other avenues where they can attach implants, with both benefits and drawbacks. That does beg the question, does the alternate form of implants work out better or worse for the dental patient?

The Origins of Zygomatic Dental Implants

When dental professionals say Zygomatic, they do not refer to the cellular definition of a zygote. Instead, they refer to the anatomical definition of the zygomatic bone, or the 'cheekbones'. They are located above the maxillary (upper jaw) bone and closer to the outer ends of the skull.

The idea is that the zygomatic bone has a greater volume than the maxillary bone, so the implant should have a better chance of fusing and sitting inside that bone. It is the option when a patient's upper jaw is missing the minimum required volume of 10mm.

Professor Per-Ingvar Brånemark, also known as the father of modern dental implantology, developed the concept in 1990. His initial research was based on the discovery of osseointegration but he had since improved it when he noted that the upper jaw of some patients would dissolve due to age, tumor resection, or trauma.

This is also an alternative to bone grafting and applying a maxillary implant afterward. Traditionally patients with a bone loss would need bone grafting which can add 6 months to a year to their treatment and has a high failure rate.

How Zygomatic Dental Implants Work

Typically, the Zygoma implant is available in lengths ranging from 30 to 52.5 mm. The head of the zygoma implant is a prosthesis attachment at a 45-degree angle to the long axis of the implant.

According to the Freidman Dental Group "After the surgery, a dentist can replace the fixed teeth after three days. The common recovery time after this procedure is about four months in length. After this time, the dentist can apply the final restoration to completely finish the operation. The end result is a new set of teeth in a person who could not have had dental implants."


The above quote states one of the main advantages of this type of procedure. This can provide implants for patients with more severe conditions that range from extensive bone loss or facial trauma to torn sinus membranes. Those three conditions often disqualify a lot of patients from getting implants at all.

Another thing it points out is that it takes less time than any kind of grafting or manual repair. The recovery time is quicker and it has a higher success rate. In truth, it is an all-around better option than the others.


There is, however, a few disadvantages to this procedure. The biggest one is that the procedure itself is far more complex than the traditional implant procedure. The area is at an angle far away from the center of the jaw, meaning all of those measurements need to be taken into account. It also means a decreased chance of finding oral surgeons who are able to handle such an advanced procedure.

Also, with such extensive work, there is going to be a hike in price. The cost of the education for the procedure, the special equipment, and the time put in would make it worth between $18,000 to $25,000. Given the cost of implants ranging from $1,000 to $3,000, you can see the increase in expenses. And that does not include the possibility of travel to a location where you can find an oral surgeon who has that kind of training.


Sometimes, new dental implants or procedures come from necessity. Whether a patient prefers one or the other depends entirely on their unique situation, and if they are willing to pay for the cost, they can have a chance at gaining functioning teeth again.

This is a case of not replacing a standard, but for providing options that weren't initially available for extreme cases. Hopefully, the more we get used to technology and training for more advanced dental work, implants might be available regardless of their situation.

If you need a dental implant in Plano, Tx visit us at

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