What Are Zygomatic Dental Implants?

A tooth-in-cheek foundation for a new smile overcomes bone loss in upper jaw.

Tonya “Toni” McCallister

In 1984, not long after the last of the steel mills were shuttered in the industrial Ohio town of East Liverpool, Tonya “Toni” McCallister and her husband relocated to Florida. The Sunshine State’s climate provided them with an opportunity for a new business venture.

“My husband’s parents lived in Florida, and after we moved here, my husband chose to work in air conditioning,” Toni confirms. “It seemed like a good career choice for Florida, so we later started Seabreeze Air Conditioning & Heating. We service Hernando, Citrus and Pasco counties.

“I am the vice president of the business, but I also serve as office manager and dispatcher, so I’m very customer-service oriented. I’ve been in customer service in some way throughout my career. I was a waitress for 16 years and worked in customer service at Walmart® for five years. I think it’s my calling. I do well with customers.”

One thing that made Toni a hit with customers was her winning smile. However, years of dental woes robbed her of that smile and her self-confidence.

“Bad teeth run in my family,” says Toni, 62. “My teeth were unhealthy, and over time I endured multiple root canals. Eventually, I had to have my upper teeth replaced with a denture, which never looked like my natural teeth.

“I’ve had an upper denture for 30 years. I received a new denture every five years, and every five years my appearance changed because the dentures were never exactly the same. I spoke to my dentist about getting permanent teeth with dental implants, but he said that wasn’t an option for me because of bone loss in my upper jaw.

“Then I read an article in Florida Health Care News about a woman who had dentures for many years. The dentists at Coastal Jaw Surgery used a special type of implant to give her permanent teeth, so I thought, She’s older than me and had it done. Maybe there’s hope for me.

With her copy of the publication in hand, Toni visited Coastal Jaw Surgery’s Spring Hill office for a consultation with Kenneth L. Anderson, DDS, a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and zygomatic implant instructor.

“Ms. McCallister was unhappy with her upper denture. She had difficulty chewing with it and didn’t like the appearance of the teeth,” Dr. Anderson reports. “She didn’t want removable teeth anymore, which is what you get with a denture, so I recommended our practice’s smile-restoration protocol, Same Day Teeth®, which provides patients with a hybrid prosthesis — permanent teeth screwed onto implants.”

Specialized Implants

Developed by Coastal Jaw Surgery’s founder, Michael A. Pikos, DDS, a global leader in dental implants and surgical reconstruction, Same Day Teeth rebuilds smiles through the placement of dental implants and new teeth during the same appointment.

Dental implants are root-shaped, screw-like bodies that are surgically placed into the jawbone. Once in the jawbone, implants become the foundation for an abutment and replacement teeth.

The replacement teeth can be a crown that is cemented or screwed onto the abutment, a partial bridge that can be affixed to one or more implants, or a full-arch prosthetic that can be fastened to a series of implants.

“I love my smile. I smile more now and laugh more as well.” – Toni

“Ms. McCallister was told by previous dentists that she didn’t have sufficient bone in her upper jaw for dental implants,” Dr. Anderson recalls. “For complex cases such as hers, we use specialized implants called zygomatic implants in a quad technique, where we place two zygomatic implants on each side of the jaw.”

Zygomatic implants are longer than conventional implants (between 1½ and 2 inches) and are anchored in the cheekbone rather than the jaw. The extended implants enabled Dr. Anderson to give Toni permanent upper teeth instead of a removable denture.

“Any type of removable teeth affects diet because patients can’t chew all the foods they want to eat,” Dr. Anderson contends.

“They can’t chew like they did when they were 18 years old. A hybrid prosthesis allows patients to regain some of their youth with regard to chewing all types of food.”

Coastal Jaw Surgery is recognized as the first ZAGA Center in North America. ZAGA Centers are certified in using the Zygoma Anatomy-Guided Approach, which adapts dental tools and processes to the patient’s anatomy. This is a prestigious distinction as there are only 60 such practices throughout the world.

As part of the Same Day Teeth protocol, Dr. Anderson works alongside Coastal Jaw Surgery’s prosthodontist, Philip J. Hedger, DMD, MS, who designs the patient’s smile. During the design consultation, Dr. Hedger determines the patient’s desires as to shape, color and position of the teeth for the prosthetic.

“It is pretty unheard of to have the oral surgeon and prosthodontist in the same office, working together on complex cases,” Dr. Anderson asserts. “Usually, patients must go back and forth to different dental offices to receive the services that Coastal Jaw Surgery has under one roof.”

“When I met with Dr. Hedger, I took a picture of my daughter because her teeth look a lot like my original teeth. When he saw the photo, he knew exactly what I wanted,” Toni remembers. “He cast a mold of my daughter’s teeth and made my permanent teeth from that.”

“I’m Really Happy”

Toni says she smiles more now and laughs more as well.

Toni greatly appreciated the convenience of having the necessary dental specialists in one practice. And she’s thrilled with the outcome of her Same Day Teeth protocol.

“I love my smile. I smile more now and laugh more as well,” she enthuses. “Recently, I went to a class reunion. There were people there I’ve known for 45 years, and nobody noticed that my teeth were implants. Not even my family knew that I had anything done. I’m happier with these teeth than with any of the dentures I’ve had over the past 30 years. I’m really happy with what I have now.”

She’s also happy with the highly skilled dental specialists at Coastal Jaw Surgery.

“Dr. Anderson and Dr. Hedger are wonderful,” Toni raves. “Dr. Hedger is very personable. He was very particular about everything he did. Dr. Anderson was very careful to explain all the benefits and risks. He made sure that I was doing the right thing for me. I definitely recommend Dr. Anderson, Dr. Hedger and Coastal Jaw Surgery to anyone.”

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photos by Jordan Pysz. Before and after images courtesy of Coastal Jaw Surgery. mkb
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    • Coastal Jaw Surgery

      With more than 30 years of extensive experience, their mission at Coastal Jaw Surgery is to provide excellent surgical care for their patients in a safe, efficient and compassionate manner. Their team of oral surgeons is unmatched in ex... Read More

    • Kenneth L. Anderson, DDS

      Kenneth L. Anderson, DDS, is a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon in practice for the past seven years. He received his Bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in Biology with a minor in chemistry from Bemidji State University and his de... Read More

    • Philip J. Hedger, DMD, MS

      Philip J. Hedger, DMD, MS, earned his undergraduate degree in nutrition from the University of Florida. He received his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the UF College of Dentistry. Dr. Hedger completed an advanced prosthodontics re... Read More