What Are Graftless Dental Implants?

If you suffer from severe bone loss, getting dental implants may prove difficult. Thankfully, there’s is a way to enjoy a new smile without additional bone grafting. Instead, these graftless dental implant designs use the healthy bone you still have: your zygoma (aka “zygomatic arch” or “cheek bone”). Zygomatic dental implants don’t require a bone graft because they’re longer and angled into the cheekbone, just above your jaw, rather than vertically like a natural tooth root.

Our patients who choose no graft implants often want fixed All-on-4 restorations or to replace removable dentures. With modern no graft designs, you have the ability to restore your smile and improve your quality of life. The implant placement is performed during a straightforward procedure, and no additional gum or bone graft materials are needed as part of the process. 

When to Use Graftless Zygomatic Implants

Although dental implants are the best way to replace missing teeth, not everyone is eligible for the treatment. This is especially true if there has been excessive bone loss. Normally, grafting procedures will transfer new bone into the implant site, making it healthy enough to retain a dental prosthesis. But sometimes, a graft isn’t appropriate or bone loss is extremely severe. To ensure success rates while working with less bone, patients often turn to graftless implants. 

Zygomatic dental implants work well for individuals with significant bone loss. Since grafting isn’t necessary, this design is an excellent option for any patient who still wants to pursue dental implant treatment.

How Do They Work?

The integrity of posterior maxilla (upper jaw) area is important for anchoring a full mouth prosthesis. But when there is not enough bone, placing a traditional implant would result in a lack of support. Instead, we can use your zygomatic bones to place implants at an angle. There is no need for additional bone tissue to be grafted into your jaw bone since the longer implant is set diagonally, maximizing the bone you already have. This allows us to place implants faster and strengthen your upper jaw without jeopardizing the procedure. 

Zygomatic implants are typically installed as part of a complete set of four implants. That way the entire set can retain implant supported dentures, All-on-4, or other permanent hybrid dentures. 

When someone goes for an extended period of time with all of their teeth missing, there tends to be an extensive amount of bone loss. Switching from a traditional design to graftless implants opens up numerous possibilities.

Zygomatic dental implants are longer than traditional designs because they reach further into your bone structure. But like traditional implants, a small abutment attaches to the graftless implant at the gumline. This allows the prosthesis to support your new teeth in a secure, predictable manner. 

Graftless Implant Dentistry Considerations

Zygomatic implants are installed differently than traditional dental implants. They use longer, more complex designs that are angled higher into the cheekbone and upper jaw. Whereas traditional dental implants are shaped and sized to mimic natural teeth. Your bone anatomy and maxillary sinus anatomy will dictate that your graftless implants are placed in a way that makes use of the dense bone in your upper jaw. Because of the procedures involved, you may occasionally need to adjust how many total implants are placed, or consider undergoing sedation during the installation process. 

Zygomatic implants are not placed in the lower jaw. However, it may be possible to install smaller or strategically placed implants even if you’ve experienced gum disease, to help secure a lower implant supported prosthesis. 

How are Zygomatic Implants Placed?

In-office surgery is required to place zygomatic/graftless dental implants. During traditional implant placement, local anesthetic (numbing medication) may be all that’s required. But a graftless procedure tends to be a more detailed process. As such, we often recommend sedation for our patients. That way regardless of how many teeth are being replaced, we can complete the entire implant procedure in a single appointment. 

Since graftless implants require extensive planning and particular placement (to avoid complications) we may need to utilize a surgical guide or 3D imaging to ensure they’re properly and firmly attached. As your mouth heals, each installed implant will become a stable, permanent part of your smile.

After dental implant placement, your body will need about 3-6 months to regenerate bone around each implant that’s installed. While your implants are integrating with the bone, you’ll wear a temporary implant supported restoration, such as removable overdentures. After a few months, we can affix a permanent implant prosthesis, such as a hybrid denture/bridge or All-on-4 restoration. Additionally, you can discuss how you’d like your new smile to look. From the size and shape of each new tooth to the color and contour, you can achieve the “dream smile” you’ve always wanted. 

Just like traditional implants, graftless implants function similar to natural teeth. You can speak clearly, eat all your favorite foods, and enjoy a lifetime of confidence. Plus, the support that your facial structure needs to combat premature aging, which is a common side-effect of tooth and bone loss. All of this can be achieved without a bone graft, thanks to the unique design of more modern dental implants. 

Choosing a Dentist for Graftless Implant Placement

Not all dentists can offer specialized services like graftless, zygomatic dental implants. Additional training and technology will also be required. An experienced implant dentist will be able to provide you with the quality of treatment and attention your oral health deserves. If you have missing teeth or have been told you need a soft tissue or bone graft to get a dental implant, graftless dentistry is available. Our Scottsdale dental implant treatment provides all patients with the accessible care they deserve. 

Have significant bone loss? When you’re turned away from a dental office or your dentist tells you that dental implants aren’t an option, it’s time to get a second opinion. Contact our Scottsdale office to learn more about graftless dental implant placement and what it can do for you!


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