If you have a missing tooth, you may be considering a traditional dental implant. Dental implants are often used as replacement teeth for natural teeth that have been lost due to blunt force trauma or dental decay. The implants make great replacement options, because once an implant has healed properly, it can withstand about the same amount of bite pressure as a natural tooth. In addition, since a dental implant is often covered using a tooth-colored crown, an implant restoration is difficult to discern from a natural tooth.
Still, there may be times when a traditional dental implant may not be suitable. A traditional or conventional dental implant is placed in the bone of the jaw. Over time, it connects to the jawbone through a healing process called osseointegration. Once the implant is assimilated into the bone, it remains firmly in place unless it is jarred out of position by a traumatic force.
Zygomatic implants connect to the bone in the same manner as traditional implants, but they are installed into the bone of the cheek. Here are a few instances in which your dentist may suggest a zygomatic implant instead of a traditional one.
A prior dental implant has failed.
If a traditional implant has been placed and subsequently failed, the site of the implant installation may have been damaged during the failure. As a result, it may be more difficult for another traditional implant to be installed in the same place on the jawbone or even near the first installation site. Thus, your dentist may suggest bypassing the jawbone altogether and installing a zygomatic implant instead.
A zygomatic implant is longer than a conventional implant so that it reaches beyond the jawbone into the bone of the cheek. Although the zygomatic implant rests in the bone of the cheek, the restoration fills the space left by the missing tooth and looks the same as a traditional implant restoration.
Your jawbone has atrophied.
As a person ages, his or her jawbone may naturally shrink. However, for people who have lost a tooth, the jawbone atrophies more severely. In order to maintain proper density, the jawbone must receive stimulation, which comes from the pressure the teeth incur as you bite or chew. The crowns of the teeth transfer bite pressure to the dental roots and the bone of the jaw. If the jawbone atrophies, it may be too thin to support a traditional implant. As a result, the cheekbone or zygoma may be a better option.
To learn more about zygomatic implants and when they may be prescribed, schedule an appointment with a dentist in your area. For more information, contact a business such as Northwest Dental Services and Implant Center.