Smile With Confidence – The Remarkable Benefits of Zygomatic And Pterygoid Dental Implants

Sep 14, 2023
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Both Pterygoid and Zygomatic implants are special types of long dental implants, used when a patient has insufficient bone, but how do they help? Continue reading to find out more.

Dental Implants have long been the gold standard of missing teeth replacement that far surpasses any other. The problem is that implant-based restorations aren’t always for everyone.

While bone grafting is an option for those with some degree of bone loss, what happens when the patient has significant bone atrophy? Often, they’re (wrongly) told they cannot undergo dental implant therapy and instead are rehabilitated using conventional dentures.

Of course, the challenges with conventional dentures are well-documented and in truth, they are not an ideal replacement for real teeth as further bone loss, movement and a distinct loss of bite force are a real concern.

Inevitably, this leaves patients with severe bone loss caught between a ‘rock and a hard place’. This is where zygomatic implants and pterygoid dental implants come in.

Zygomatic and Pterygoid Implants – No bone? No problem!

The good news is that both zygomatic and pterygoid implants are sound considerations for patients with severe bone loss in the upper jaw. Instead of being anchored directly into the jaw bone like conventional implants, zygomatic and pterygoid appliances are anchored directly into the pterygoid (sphenoid bone) and zygomatic (cheek) bones, respectively.

The main point to remember about these key areas is that they don’t succumb to bone loss (resorption) like the jaw bone (maxilla) would once teeth are missing. As such, both the pterygoid and zygomatic bones are a good and constant source of sufficient and dense anchorage. 

Once in position, zygomatic implants and pterygoid dental implants are strong enough to support an entire arch of teeth. Moreover, because the zygomatic bone, in particular, is extremely dense, zygomatic implants allow for immediate replacement (known as loading) to accommodate a fixed dental bridge.

So how are they anchored?

While the placement of pterygoid dental implants is easier than zygomatic implants, both require knowledge outside that of conventional implant placement. For these reasons, patients may need to be referred to a specialist, although this isn’t always the case.

That said, in both instances, patients will avoid the need for sinus augmentation or bone grafting procedures, and indeed, any recovery that follows, making the whole process quicker.

Essentially, pterygoid implants, although longer than conventional implants at 15-20mm in length, are inserted and anchored at a 45-degree angle into the pterygoid bone. The pterygoid bone is a flat thin lamina situated in the pterygoid region of the sphenoid bone – the bone that forms the base and lateral sides of the skull. This makes pterygoid dental implants ideal for rehabilitating missing upper-back (posterior) teeth.

Conversely, zygomatic implants are considerably longer because they have further to go to anchor into solid bone. As a result, they are between 35 mm and 55 mm in length and are positioned at a similar 45-degree angle but up into the cheekbone around the upper second molar position. Often but not always, this may include a passage through the maxillary sinus. 

Depending upon stability, dentists may only need to use one or two zygomatic implants alongside 2-4 regular implants to stabilize an entire arch restoration. It’s a similar story for pterygoid implants where a revolutionary ‘VIV design’ facilitates the use of two pterygoids and 3 regular implants.  

So how can zygomatic and pterygoid implants help patients?

In cases where patients experience:

  • certain rare bone diseases
  • extreme bone loss through long-term denture wear; or
  • have undergone radiotherapy to the head or neck

it isn’t always possible to undergo a bone graft. As a result, they are often told that they aren’t eligible for an implant-based restoration.

For these reasons, pterygoid or zygomatic implants provide the ideal solution. They give patients the chance to experience a full set of stabilized and functioning teeth that allow eating, smiling, and talking without discomfort, embarrassment or dietary restriction.

Moreover, like regular implants, zygomatic and pterygoid appliances are designed to last indefinitely, meaning that once they’re in position and stabilized, that’s it!

Ultimately, zygomatic and pterygoid dental implants give people the chance to lead a normal life who would otherwise be severely restricted.

Zygomatic and pterygoid implants – The key benefits

Both pterygoid and zygomatic dental implants have many benefits. Here are some of the key advantages:

  • The replacement of missing teeth, even after severe bone loss
  • Bypassing the need for bone grafting surgery, instead using immediate-load techniques for an instant smile.
  • The ability to combine with other implant types for best stability and effect; and
  • No dietary restrictions, allowing patients to eat whatever they like.

If you are missing one or more teeth and aren’t sure whether you’re a good candidate for dental implant therapy, talk to the team at Chesterfield Dentistry.

Dr Akinwande always aims to find the best solutions for her patient’s needs. So even if you aren’t eligible for conventional dental implants, she will help you investigate other alternatives like zygomatic implants and pterygoid dental implants for a much improved quality of life. 

Remember, everyone is entitled to a great-looking smile, so why can’t that be you?

To find out more, call 314-936-3621 or visit us online to schedule a consultation.