If you want to have an implant supported denture in your upper jaw, your jaw bone needs to be strong enough to support the implants. If the bone in your jaw isn’t strong enough, you have 2 choices: bone grafting (where bone is added to your jaw to strengthen it) or a special type of implant called a ‘zygomatic dental implant.’
Zygomatic dental implants are longer than normal implants. They bypass the upper jaw and anchor into your cheek bone, also called the ‘zygoma’. They provide better stability when bone grafting is not looking promising.
The great thing about zygomatic dental implants is that you can often have a denture fitted within 1 to 2 days of implant placement. Unlike bone grafting where you may be without a denture for several weeks or longer.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are the only practitioners with the skills and training to carry out this procedure.
As part of planning your procedure, Dr van Mourik will refer you to get a cone beam x-ray. This gets scanned into a computer to generate a precise 3D model. He will then use virtual surgical planning to assess your anatomy as well as the amount and quality of bone. This may involve making a customised computer-generated guide for the surgery.
Zygomatic implant surgery can be done in a private hospital under general anaesthetic or in Dr van Mourik’s private rooms under intravenous (IV) sedation and/or local anaesthetic. For safety reasons Dr van Mourik always uses an anaesthetist who is a specially trained medical doctor to perform his general anaesthetic and intravenous sedation.
The procedure to place the zygomatic implants takes 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the complexity of your surgery. Your gum will be opened and the zygomatic implants will be inserted into your cheek bone through the back of your mouth.
Zygomatic implants may be used in combination with conventional implants. If you want to replace all your upper teeth but you don’t have enough healthy upper jaw bone, 4 zygomatic implants can be used, known as ‘Quad Zygomatic implants.’ After the procedure, Dr van Mourik will close up your gum using sutures.
Dr van Mourik will work closely with your referring dentist or a specialist restorative dentist so that your new denture can be fitted 1 to 2 days after the zygomatic implants are placed.
Day surgery: If you’ve general anaesthetic or IV sedation you will require someone to assist you get home. If done under local anaesthetic, you can drive home yourself.
Pain management: Most people are surprised to find that pain is minimal. Normal painkillers such as Nurofen® and Panadol® are usually all you’ll need. An icepack can help reduce any swelling or pain.
Work/School: Most people return to work one day after their implant surgery, while a few have to take more than a day or two off.
Stitches: Disolving stitches are used in most cases. They gradually dissolve over 1-2 weeks.
Diet: Soft food diet for 1-2 days after surgery. By 1-2 weeks after surgery you’ll most likely be eating and drinking normally.
Follow up: Dr van Mourik will want to see you after your surgery to monitor your healing.
Dr Van Mourik will give you detailed post-operative instructions during your initial consultation. To maximise your chance of making a quick recovery without complications, please pay careful attention to these instructions. General information can be found on the Post-op and Patient Care page.
Medicare will reimburse you for part of your initial consultation.
Dr van Mourik will give you a written quote for the cost of your dental implant surgery at the initial consultation. We’ll help you make applicable Medicare and private health insurance claims so that you’ll know how much of the cost will be covered.
If the performed under general anaesthetic or IV sedation, we’ll give you contact details for the anaesthetist so you can obtain their fee schedule. Medicare and private health insurance will cover part of the anaesthetist’s costs.
Dr van Mourik is a highly experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon. He explains things clearly and he’s a good listener, so do ask him questions about your zygomatic dental implants and tell him about any concerns you have — he’ll take the time to answer and manage your concerns sensitively.