Are Zygomatic Implants Safe? Understanding the Safety and Reliability of this Advanced Dental Procedure

zygomatic implants

Are people with deteriorated upper jaw (and missing teeth therein) as much eligible for dental implants as those with intact jawbone? The answer is YES! Zygomatic Implants is an advanced dental procedure designed just for these people. But are Zygomatic Implants safe? This is a common concern among such people.

Concerns about the safety and reliability of Zygomatic Dental Implants make sense since these are not conventional implants and follow a rather complex process compared to traditional implants

This blog will evaluate the safety and reliability of Zygomatic Implants, exploring its process, its success rate and assessing the complications that may arise following the procedure.

What Are Zygomatic Implants?

Before we discuss the safety and reliability of Zygomatic Implants, let’s have a quick look at what they are and how they work.

Zygomatic Implants are a type of implants that are placed in the zygomatic bone (the cheekbone, in simple terms) rather than the upper jawbone (where ordinary implants are placed to replace missing teeth in the upper jaw). They are specifically made for people who have severe bone loss in the upper jaw, due to which they aren’t eligible for receiving ordinary implants. Therefore, the cheekbone is used as a substitute for the upper jawbone, providing the necessary supporting structure for implants.

Note that these implants are an alternative treatment for replacing missing teeth in the ‘upper’ jaw only, and patients receiving zygomatic implants can get normal implants (in addition to zygomatic implants) to replace missing teeth in the ‘lower’ jaw if needed. In fact, a combination of zygomatic and traditional implants can also be used even in the upper jaw if there’s localized deterioration of the upper jaw and the rest of it is dense enough to receive traditional implants.

How And Why Are Zygomatic Implants Placed In The Cheekbones?

The process and the justification for placing implants in the cheekbone are two important aspects to explore to get an insight into the Zygomatic Implant treatment, which will ultimately help you understand its safety and reliability. These two aspects are discussed as follows:

The Process Of Zygomatic Implants Placement

The process of Zygomatic Implants placement starts with your dentist assessing your eligibility for the said implants by putting you through several diagnostic protocols (x-rays, CT scans, etc.). This is necessary to check things like your sinus anatomy (since your sinuses are close to your cheekbones and their size/location and may interfere with the installation process), your general health (to ensure that you don’t have any medical condition that’d interfere with implant healing), your overall dental health, etc. Once you’re deemed fit for Zygomatic Implants, you undergo implant surgery, where small openings are made in your gums to reach your cheekbones for implant placement, after which the openings are stitched close. This is done under anesthesia to avoid pain. 

The Reasons For Placing Implants In The CheekBones 

There are several reasons for using the cheekbone as a substitute for the upper jawbone. For one thing, the cheekbone is the nearest bony structure to the upper jaw, making it easy to access for implant placement. For another, the density of the cheekbone provides the ideal level of support needed for implants. Thirdly, placing implants in the cheekbone eliminates the need for bone grafting (which would otherwise be necessary if regular implants were to be placed in the upper jaw to increase bone density), making the treatment convenient, less invasive, and quick.

Are Zygomatic Implants Safe?

Since zygomatic implants are not like regular implants, their installation process is also different (already explained in the above section) and more complex than that of regular implants. This naturally makes patients worried about their safety and reliability and also raises concerns about post-surgery complications (which we’ll discuss in the next section of the blog).

The good news is zygomatic implants are completely safe, provided that the recipient is compatible with them and does not have any medical (such as diabetes or immune disorders) or dental conditions that would risk the treatment’s success. Talking about treatment success, studies have shown a success rate of 96.1% calculated over the period of 5 years in patients with severe upper jaw atrophy, which is a very high success rate.

In fact, Zygomatic Implants are less traumatic than receiving a bone graft (which is required to get regular implants in your upper jaw if it lacks density), making these implants comparatively more comfortable, safe, and less invasive. The healing time of these implants, therefore, is also less than the healing time for bone grafts and would take approximately 8 months to heal. During this healing period, you need to make sure that your cheekbones remain protected. For this, you need to avoid acts that may potentially cause trauma to your zygomatic bones or your face, such as contact sports. 

Possible Complications Of Zygomatic Implants 

As we’ve already discussed, the procedure for the placement of Zygomatic Implants is generally very safe and effective. However, like with all dental treatments, Zygomatic Implants come with their unique complications. Following are some complications that may arise after zygomatic implant surgery:

  • Sinusitis: It’s a relatively common (but treatable) complication that may arise after zygomatic implants surgery. It usually happens due to the proximity of the sinuses from the cheekbones.
  • Inadequate/Failed Osseointegration: This refers to the inability or failure of the surrounding cheekbone area to integrate with the implants. This complication can be treated by finding out the reasons responsible for it (which includes smoking/drinking, peri-implantitis, incorrect implant placement, etc.) and taking appropriate measures to resolve them.
  • Peri-implantitis: This is an infection of the area surrounding the implants, which causes inflammation and pain in that area. It’s also a common complication with regular implants, not just Zygomatic Implants. However, it’s treatable, especially if caught in the early stages.
  • Other rare complications: Mild nasal bleeding, irritation in the soft intraoral tissues, etc.


Zygomatic implants are a generally safe, effective, and long-lasting teeth replacement option for people with severely deteriorated upper jaws, involving the surgical placement of implants in the cheekbones. If you are deemed suitable for this procedure by a qualified surgeon, then there’s very little chance of the treatment going wrong.

Greenville Implant Clinic is a premium dental practice located in Greenville, South Carolina. Our surgeons have exceptional expertise in Zygomatic Implants treatment and have performed thousands of successful implant cases. Book a FREE consultation with us today, and we’d be glad to discuss the suitability of this procedure for your dental needs!

In this article