MAXILLARY ATROPHY AND ZYGOMATIC IMPLANTS
WHAT IS SEVERE MAXILLARY ATROPHY AND HOW IS IT TREATED TODAY?
In certain situations, the bone of the upper jaw can “shrink” and become significantly smaller to the point that sometimes, it can literally disappear. This is what is known as “bone loss”. The result of this is an upper maxillary bone made up of a very pneumatized sinus that contains a lot of air and is separated from the mouth by a thin bone septum, only a few millimeters thick. Colloquially, this is also known as “jawbone loss,” a situation where there is not enough bone material for conventional implants to be placed. Currently, our process involves using the cheekbone, or zygomatic bone, to anchor implants and place fixed teeth in 24 hours.
WHAT ARE ZYGOMATIC IMPLANTS?
Zygomatic implants are longer than conventional implants. Starting at the residual maxillary bone, they are anchored to the zygomatic bone, malar bone or cheekbone. One of the distinguishing characteristics of the zygomatic bone is that, unlike the maxillary bone, tooth loss does not cause it to atrophy.
Zygomatic implants are used to secure fixed teeth in atrophic maxillary bones and help prevent complications that derive from the use of bone grafts in the maxillary sinus, nose or the alveolar ridge. Zygomatic implants are therefore the preferred option for treating tooth loss in patients who cannot have regular implants because of a lack of sufficient maxillary bone.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF MAXILLARY ATROPHY?
Maxillary atrophy usually occurs after tooth extractions, either due to dental infections and tooth decay, fractures or periodontal infections around the teeth, such as periodontitis or pyorrhea. Shrinkage of the maxillary bone can also be caused by losing dental implants or by bone graft failure. When sinus grafts fail, it is normal for maxillary atrophy to manifest more severely in the posterior areas of the mouth. Hormonal factors can also influence maxillary bone loss and is therefore common in middle-aged women. Finally, maxillary bone loss can be the result of resective neoplasm treatment, which affects the craniofacial bones.
ADVANTAGES OF ZYGOMATIC IMPLANTS OVER BONE GRAFTS
The first advantage is that they help prevent the complications that derive from bone grafts, minimizing the risks of the intervention. In accordance with the ZAGA philosophy for zygomatic implant placement, a bone donor site (such as the hip) is not required. If bone grafts are not used, they do not need to be successful, and patients do not have to wait for months with missing teeth or with a removable denture for the graft to take place.
The success rate of bone graft procedures is approximately 80%. In other words, bone grafts fail in 20% of cases. Zygomatic implant treatments have a yearly 97% success rate. In other words, these treatments only fail in 3% of cases.
The treatment of bone loss or maxillary atrophy with bone grafts requires approximately 12 months until fixed teeth can finally be placed. Using zygomatic implants to treat bone loss or maxillary atrophy with the ZAGA method, however, requires less than 24 hours until a fixed prosthesis can be placed in the maxilla.