Dental Implants – Torrance, CA
The Most Comprehensive Solution for Improving Smiles
If you’ve experienced tooth loss, it doesn’t matter how many teeth you’re missing -- even just one lost tooth can cause real problems later on. Because they give you back your missing tooth as well as its root, dental implants are the best option for tooth replacement available today. The team at Blue Coast Dental Group handles the entire process for tooth replacement with dental implants in Torrance, CA in our dental office, from the initial placement to final restoration. Call us today to find out how our dentists can transform your smile and your life with dental implants!
Why Choose Blue Coast Dental Group for Dental Implants?
- Our Expert Periodontist Places Dental Implants In-House
- Skilled On-Site Prosthodontist Creates Beautiful, Lifelike Restorations
- Flexible Financing Options Available
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant consists of three parts:
- A titanium post that mimics the tooth’s root
- A small metal appliance called the abutment (which is a connector between the implant and restoration)
- The custom prosthetic that sits on top
One or more implant posts is surgically placed into your jawbone to serve as new roots. This stimulates your jaw to encourage new bone growth and preserve its density. Over time, your jawbone fuses to the posts to allow them to stay in place forever. It also provides a foundation for your replacement teeth that is much more secure and stable (and longer lasting) than traditional dentures or bridges.
As the only option to recreate the root structure of a lost tooth in addition to its visible crown, dental implants are by far the most comprehensive solution for improving smiles after tooth loss. If you’re missing one or more teeth, we cannot recommend dental implants enough!
The 4-Step Dental Implant Process
Getting dental implants requires a multistep process that can span several months to a year or more. However, the long-term benefits they offer your smile make them well worth the wait. Here at Blue Coast Dental Group, our dentists and specialists are able to handle the entire dental implant process under one roof. While everyone’s treatment plan will look a little different, there are four main stages of treatment that most patients go through. Here is a general overview of how dental implants work in Torrance:
Initial Dental Implant Consultation
During your consultation, your implant dentist in Torrance will examine your mouth in order to learn about your oral health. We’ll also ask you some questions about your medical history and get to know you as a person. Then, we will be able to let you know if you qualify for dental implants right away or if you will need to undergo one or more preliminary procedures. Feel free to bring a list of questions to your consultation — we want our patients to be well-informed. After your mouth is ready for dental implants, we will begin to plan your implant placement surgery.
Dental Implant Surgery
Many practices refer patients to an outside specialist for their implant placement surgery, which can be both costly and time-consuming. But fortunately, we have an in-house specialist who can perform the procedure right here at Blue Coast Dental Group. Dr. Peter Refela, an experienced periodontist, will numb your mouth, carefully insert the implants into your jawbone, and then close the incisions. You can expect to feel little to nothing while Dr. Refela is working.
Following your appointment, you can go home to begin your recovery. Most patients are feeling well enough to go back to work within a few days of their procedure.
Dental Implant Osseointegration & Abutment Placement
After your implant surgery, osseointegration will begin. Osseointegration is the remarkable biological process through which the dental implants fuse with the surrounding bone. It is what enables the implants to act as stable prosthetic tooth roots. It usually takes 3 – 6 months.
Once adequate osseointegration has occurred, you may need to undergo a second minor surgery. The tops of your implants will be exposed, and we’ll attach healing caps to them. After your gums heal, you’ll receive abutments. Abutments are small connector pieces that will secure your restorations in place. (In some cases, patients receive abutments at the same time as their initial implant surgery.)
Delivery of Dental Implant Restorations
The last step in your implant journey is restoration. Dr. George Cho, our skilled prosthodontist, will design and place your custom crown, bridge, or denture. As an expert in the field of dental prosthetics, he will pay attention to even the smallest details to ensure that the size, shape, and color of your new teeth are a perfect fit for your oral anatomy and your facial aesthetics. After a dental laboratory fabricates your restoration, our team will verify its fit before you go on your way and begin to enjoy all the benefits of your renewed smile.
Benefits of Dental Implants
The benefits of dental implants in Torrance are many, some of which cannot be achieved using other tooth replacement solutions. Unlike dentures and fixed bridges that leave much to be desired, dental implants make it possible to enjoy a healthier, longer-lasting smile for a lifetime. This is accomplished, in part, because of the surgical placement of these prosthetics. Not sitting on top of the gums like dentures, they are, instead, placed into the jawbone, creating a firm and stable foundation. If you are looking to learn more about dental implants and their distinct advantages, consider reviewing the following information and call to schedule a consultation with our Blue Coast Dental team.
- If you want a prosthetic that will not slip or fall out while eating or speaking, look no further than dental implants. Not only are they much more reliable than dentures and fixed bridges, but they are held firmly in place because they fuse with the jawbone and surrounding tissue to allow for greater ease when performing normal daily functions.
- Eating is a breeze with dental implants in Torrance simply because of the increased bite force and chewing power you’ll regain.
- Also, you can eat the foods you love and enjoy your favorite hot beverages. With dentures, your prosthetics may slip when attempting to bite down, or the acrylic may begin to warp from the hot temperature of your drink. With dental implants, you can enjoy foods of all types and textures.
- You’ll embrace a better quality of life with dental implants and be unafraid to show off your smile to others. Unlike denture-wearers who admit to feeling embarrassed by their prosthetics and often forgo social gatherings, your dental implants look and feel like natural teeth, making it easy to talk, eat, and function in everyday life.
- The fewer natural teeth you have, the greater your risk for serious oral and overall health concerns. Osteoporosis, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease are just a few of the many conditions individuals with missing teeth over the age of 65 may experience. By choosing to replace your missing teeth with dental implants, you can minimize your risk and enjoy greater health and wellbeing.
- Because of the surgical placement of your implants, you will be less likely to experience changes to your facial shape. The reason is that your implants continuously stimulate your jawbone, which must remain strong and dense to ensure the health and vitality of your smile. A weakened jawbone can cause additional tooth loss and “facial collapse,” which is often experienced by those who choose alternative tooth replacement options.
- With dental implants, you can enjoy better oral health because these prosthetics are much easier to clean. Working just like regular teeth, you can brush, floss, and rinse just like you do with your natural teeth. There’s no need to remove your implants to clean or soak them. Instead, you’ll just maintain your regular oral hygiene routine.
- Seeing a trusted implant dentist in Torrance will likely grant you a 98% success rate when it comes to dental implant placement. After 10 years, you can expect that success rate to remain within the 90-95% range.
- If you want a cost-effective solution, you can’t go wrong with dental implants. Instead of spending your hard-earned dollars on dental adhesives, cleaning supplies and products, and having your prosthetics relined or replaced, you can enjoy a tooth replacement solution that requires none of the above!
- With proper care and maintenance, your dental implants can actually last a lifetime. Of course, this will require that you continue to see our Blue Coast Dental team to ensure your implants are in tip-top shape.
Who Dental Implants Can Help
The majority of patients who are missing at least one tooth and have good oral/general health make good candidates for dental implants. They can help patients who are suffering from any degree of tooth loss:
Missing One Tooth
For a patient missing a single tooth, a custom-made, all-porcelain dental crown will be held in place using a small metal connector called an abutment, which will also provide internal support for the crown. Once the crown is placed, it should be virtually indistinguishable from the other teeth.
Missing Multiple Teeth
If you’re missing several consecutive teeth, we can secure a dental bridge onto two implants posts at either end of the gap. For missing teeth throughout the mouth, we may be able to place a strategically made partial denture.
Missing All Teeth
An implant denture looks just like a regular one above the gum line, but it is actually held in place using multiple dental implants (usually six to four per jaw) that anchor it to the jawbone. This not only makes the fit much more secure, but it also helps restore up to 70% of a patient’s original bite strength, compared to just 20% provided by removable dentures. We also offer All-on-4 implants for patients with weakened jawbones.
Mini Dental Implants
Often, patients who have been missing teeth for a long time will have a jawbone that is too thin or brittle to support normal implants, but with mini dental implants, now even more people can benefit from the most complete tooth replacement solution available today.
As the name indicates, they are smaller and thinner than traditional implant posts, but they are still able to support a denture that has a much more stable hold than a removable one. Plus, they can typically be placed and restored in much less time compared to regular dental implants, which also lends itself to a reduced cost.
Understanding the Cost of Dental Implants
There is no set price tag for the amount you can expect to pay for your new smile because the cost you pay is based on your individual treatment plan. There are various factors that influence the cost, such as how many teeth you are replacing, if you need any additional procedures, and your dental insurance. During your consultation, we can go through these details with you and provide an accurate estimate for your specific case.
Preliminary Treatments & Dental Implant Surgery
Your initial consultation with one of our team members will incur its own cost. During this visit, you will have a full oral exam, and we will create your customized treatment plan. Placing your dental implants will require anesthesia, so it is treated as a separate surgical procedure in terms of the cost. After receiving the designated number of implants, you will be sent home to recover for 3-6 months, allowing the implants to fuse to the bone and surrounding tissue.
The Parts of Your Dental Implant
When you shop around for cars, coffee makers, or other products, you pay attention to the brand, right? As experts in dentistry, we choose brands of implant products that best meet your needs, which can impact the price you pay. If you have special concerns that we should know about for your implants, don’t hesitate to let us know, so we can design a treatment plan that works best for your smile and your wallet.
How Dental Implants Can Save You Money
There is no doubt that dental implants are certainly worth the investment. Are they more costly upfront? Yes. Do the benefits they offer make them worth it? Absolutely. When considering the upkeep of a fixed bridge or traditional dentures, you are often seeing a dentist more frequently for adjustments and replacements, which add up in terms of cost. However, dental implants are designed to last a lifetime. Yes, the restoration will eventually need to be replaced, but not nearly as often as traditional options. The implant itself can last decades or more with proper care and maintenance.
Does My Dental Insurance Cover Dental Implants?
Nowadays, more dental insurance companies are coming around to the idea of covering dental implant placement. Unfortunately, this is only true for some. While most insurers still do not cover this type of restorative dentistry, some aspects can be covered, including:
- Initial consultation
- Custom restoration
It is important that you check with your dental insurance company to find out how much your out-of-pocket expenses will be. If you are unsure what to ask or look for when reviewing your policy, ask one of our team members who will be happy to assist in providing you with the information you need to make a confident decision about the future of your dental health.
Making Dental Implants Affordable
Don’t have dental insurance? You don’t have to pay for dental implants completely out-of-pocket. We offer an alternative—our membership plan. In addition to preventive care, this savings plan comes with a 20 percent discount on implants, which could save you even more than insurance would.
Whether you have insurance or not, you may wish to divide the cost of treatment into easier monthly payments. Financing through CareCredit allows you to do just that. At a low-interest rate, CareCredit can take the stress out of paying for your implants, so you can just enjoy them and have confidence in your new smile!
Advanced Dental Implant Procedures
In order for teeth to live a long and happy life, they need to have a proper foundation. In this case, that foundation is your jawbone. Both natural teeth and dental implants rely on solid and healthy bone tissue in order to stay in place. If the bone tissue is compromised in any way, it could cause complications for the long-term success of your dental implant procedure in Torrance. That’s where our advanced implant treatments come into play.
Prior to placing implants or personalized dental restorations, Blue Coast Dental will confirm if any preparatory treatments are needed first. If you need a bone graft or sinus lift done before dental implants can be placed, we’ll make sure you understand why and answer any questions you have about treatment. In the meantime, you can learn more about bone grafting and sinus lifts below for your convenience. Feel free to give us a call directly if you have any questions for our team!
The process of a dental implant fusing with jawbone tissue takes several months to complete, but some patients are unable to have implants placed at all if not enough bone tissue is available to receive them. The more bone tissue is available, the more successful the osseointegration process will be. Those who have had missing teeth for a long period of time are generally more likely to need a bone graft to replace lost tissue.
Our dentists perform a detailed exam during your consultation to confirm how much viable bone tissue is available. If there is not enough to support your implant, bone can be taken from other parts of the body (or from a donor) and placed in the areas where it’s needed. The process involves carefully opening the gum tissue through a small incision, placing bone minerals into the affected area, then stitching the gums closed so it can have time to heal. Once this multi-month-long process is finished, you’ll come back so we can perform an exam and begin planning your implant placement.
The upper back of the jaw is generally thinner than other areas, which means placing dental implants there can be more difficult. In some cases, we need to perform what is known as a sinus lift. During this procedure, an incision is made in the gums to access the jawbone tissue (just like a bone graft), only this time we create an opening in the exposed bone and raise the sinus membrane. This allows us to pack bone minerals into the open space, making it much thicker. The healing process can take at least six months, but you’ll ensure that your jaw can properly receive dental implants.
Dental Implant Failure & Salvage
Dental implants are known for having a high success rate of around 95% when placed by a trusted and skilled implant dentist. Even after 10 years, you can expect the success rate to remain the same as long as you commit to maintaining your new smile. Unfortunately, there are instances where dental implant failure can occur, leaving you with increasing discomfort. Although most of these cases tend to happen immediately following the surgical procedure, you are advised to contact us at any point if you think there might be something wrong with your dental implants. By getting in to see us early on, we can implement dental implant salvage.
Dental Implant FAQs
Dental implants in Torrance offer a completely different way to rebuild your smile than traditional options like dentures and dental bridges. As such, it’s natural to have a few questions about them! Below, you’ll find some common questions about this state-of-the-art treatment to help you feel more informed. If you don’t see the answers you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to give us a call and we’ll be happy to help!
Will I need a referral to have my dental implants placed?
Since placing dental implants is a surgical procedure, some dentists need to refer their patients to other dental professionals for this step. At Blue Coast Dental Group, we’re proud to bring the specialists to you! We have two in-house specialists available to place your dental implants right here in our Torrance dental office. With years of experience and the latest dental technology, we can personally ensure that every step of your dental implant process is as efficient and comfortable as possible.
Do I brush my dental implant like a natural tooth?
Dental implants mimic many important aspects of natural teeth—including how they’re taken care of! You won’t need to change your daily dental routine or use any special products or cleaners to keep your dental implant clean. Simply continue to practice great oral hygiene habits like:
- Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day.
- Flossing between all your teeth daily.
- Rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash regularly.
Remember, while your dental implant isn’t susceptible to cavities, it’s still important to keep your mouth free from plaque and bacteria. Neglecting your oral hygiene and accumulating these harmful particles could lead to infections that damage the supportive tissues that help hold your implant in place.
I’m interested in dental implants—where do i start?
The first step on your journey towards a complete, confident smile is to call us and schedule a consultation with your Torrance implant dentist. We’ll carefully inspect your mouth and review your medical history to ensure that dental implants are a good choice for you. We may recommend preliminary treatments like periodontal disease therapy or bone grafts if there are any signs of issues that could potentially threaten the success of your dental implant. Once your oral health is on track, we’ll discuss your tooth replacement goals and help you choose the best type of dental implant for your unique smile. Then, we’ll work with you to create a custom treatment plan, including a personalized timeline and estimate of cost.
How long does the dental implant process take?
To achieve its unmatched stability, comfort, and longevity, your dental implant undergoes a process called osseointegration after it has been placed. This is when the small titanium posts that have been placed in your jawbone fuse with the surrounding bone tissue. Since this is a very gradual process, it can take anywhere from four to six months until your mouth has healed enough to move onto the next step.
However, the same doesn’t hold true if you choose to fill the gaps in your smile with mini dental implants. These dental implants are even smaller and thinner than traditional ones, which plays a key role in the healing process. Mini dental implants require far less healing time, and their restoration can be placed much sooner than other dental implants. Your Torrance implant dentist will help you determine which type of dental implant is best for your unique smile during your consultation.
Ready to regain your smile, your confidence, and your quality of life? Give us a call today to discover if this state-of-the-art tooth replacement option is right for you!
Are Dental Implants an Eligible FSA Expense?
Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are a great way to save on medical and dental expenses. In general, dental implants are an expense that is eligible for FSA reimbursement because implants are considered beneficial for your oral health. It’s important to note, however, that FSAs may have a maximum amount of money you’re able to use per year. If you’d like, our team can review the details of your FSA so you know how much you’ll be reimbursed.
Are Dental Implants an Eligible HSA Expense?
Like FSAs, health savings accounts (HSAs) also consider dental implants a restorative treatment that improves your oral health. As a result, these expenses are generally eligible for reimbursement. To make doubly sure, we can look at your HSA plan in greater detail so you have fewer surprises.
What Should I Do If I Can’t Afford Dental Implants?
Although traditional dentures and bridges have a lower upfront cost, they do nothing to stop jawbone loss and don’t restore your full biting capacity. In the long run, dental implants prove to be a worthwhile investment. But we understand that the cost of treatment may be overwhelming, especially all at once. If you have dental insurance, we’d be happy to look at your plan. Parts of treatment, such as the restoration, may be covered, reducing the amount you have to pay out-of-pocket. Don’t have dental insurance? You can join and take advantage of our dental savings plan, which could save you up to 20 percent. Another money-saving option is using your FSA/HSA to get reimbursed or applying for financing through CareCredit.
Are Dental Implants Tax Deductible?
We are by no means tax experts, but in many cases, the cost of dental implants may be deducted from your taxes. Just keep in mind that you won’t take the standard deduction; you’ll need to itemize it. Also, if the expense is less than 7.5 percent of your annual gross income, you cannot deduct it from your taxes. Any portion covered by dental insurance is also non-tax refundable. If you want to know more about dental implants and taxes, you should seek guidance from a certified public accountant or a tax attorney, who are more qualified to answer complicated tax questions.
Dental Implants Post-Op Instructions
What immediately comes after your dental implant treatment is vital to the long-term success of your dental implant. Thankfully, by taking a few precautions ahead of time and following all instructions provided by our dentist, you can ensure your post-op aftercare is a relatively smooth and straightforward process. Whether you have an upcoming appointment to have them placed or you need a go-to reference following your surgery, you can learn about the best steps to take on our website!
What to Do Directly After Dental Implant Surgery
The first 24 to 48 hours are the most important after your dental implant surgery because your mouth will be quite sensitive and tender. For this reason, you’ll want to take time to rest, get plenty of fluids, and take all medication as prescribed by our office. Avoid strenuous activities like exercise to ensure your body can heal efficiently. Do not use straws or spit forcefully as both can cause the clot formed over the implant site to come off.
Mild discomfort is a relatively common side effect and can be easily managed with prescription painkillers as well as over-the-counter options. It also helps to apply cold compresses to your face to reduce swelling, which is normal following any oral surgery, not just dental implant placement. In some cases, you may notice some light bleeding, especially during the first day of your recovery. This can be managed by applying pressure to the area using gauze pads. If bleeding does not seem to stop after applying pressure or you notice bleeding (or major discomfort) 72 hours after surgery, call our office immediately.
You will not be able to eat regular foods for the first few days due to sensitivity of the implant site. Therefore, you should stick to a soft diet until your mouth has had a chance to heal. For example, a few common foods patients eat after they’ve had implants placed include:
- Mashed potatoes
- Ice cream
- Soft-cooked pasta
- Creamy, cold soups
Try to eat foods that are high in protein and calories so your body can be properly nourished as you heal. Avoid foods that are hot, sticky, hard, chewy, or crunchy.
Health & Oral Hygiene
While you should avoid brushing or flossing the implant site during the first day or so after surgery, it’s important to continue your oral care routine to keep cavity-causing bacteria from producing plaque, especially during the earliest phase of your post-op care. Make sure to brush for at least two minutes at a time using fluoridated toothpaste and floss to remove food debris from in between teeth. If you are prescribed an oral rinse from our team, please use it as intended. When brushing, be very careful to avoid the implant site. Once the implant has had some time to heal, you should be able to resume your regular oral hygiene.
What to Do After Your New Teeth Are Attached
Your post-op steps should only take a few days to a week to complete depending on the complexity of your treatment. However, you’ll need to wait a few months before the permanent restoration is attached. Once it is, you can have confidence knowing your replacement teeth will nearly mimic your existing teeth not just in function, but esthetics as well.
Maintaining & Caring For Your Dental Implants
Proper dental implant care in Torrance is pivotal if you want to ensure the lifespan of your new smile. Dental implants are designed to last a lifetime as long as you commit to maintaining them. This includes improving your oral hygiene routine, breaking bad habits, eating healthy foods, protecting your teeth, and continuing to see your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. At Blue Coast Dental, our team will go above and beyond to ensure you have the right tools and information to keep your smile looking its best for years to come. Below you will find some helpful tips that will keep you and your implants on the right track. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
Making Oral Hygiene a Priority
Dental implants cannot decay. This is great news; however, if you have remaining natural teeth, they can, which is why you’ll need to adopt an oral hygiene routine you can easily maintain. This includes brushing twice a day for two minutes, flossing at least once, and rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash. Gum disease is another harmful problem that can cause your implants to fail but by continuing to practice good oral hygiene, you can expect your smile to last a lifetime.
Eating a Healthy Diet
When gathering with friends and family, it can be hard saying “no” to a slice of cake or cobbler. While a small portion is fine now and then, it’s best to keep these sweets and even starches to a minimum, especially if you want to avoid cavities, gum disease, and potential implant failure. Incorporating healthy food options into your diet will not only positively impact your waistline, but you’ll also notice a difference in the look and feel of your smile. Leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, dairy, lean proteins, and foods high in Vitamin C should make up the majority of your food intake each day.
Breaking Bad Habits
Dental implants in Torrance are a costly expense, which is why if you’re like the 3 million other individuals who are already living with these permanent prosthetics, you want to do everything you can to get the most out of your investment. This means breaking bad habits to avoid damaging your new teeth. Whether it is smoking, biting your nails, eating ice, chewing on pens and pencils, or grinding your teeth, you’ll need to find a way to curb these habits (i.e., cessation groups, sugarless chewing gum) and better protect your smile.
Protecting our Dental Implants
Playing your favorite sport is always fun, but if you’re worried that you might damage your dental implants, it’s time to consider a customized mouthguard. The same can be said if you tend to grind your teeth at night while asleep. Bruxism can lead to problems with your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) if left untreated, so inquiring about a mouthguard can help reduce wear and tear to your tooth enamel and minimize the pressure placed on your facial muscles and joints. Not to mention, your dental implants will remain firmly in place, allowing you to feel more confident while being active outside or going to sleep.
Scheduling Regular Dental Checkups
Once your dental implants are fully secured, you don’t get to cease your regular dental visits. Instead, you’ll need to make sure you’re maintaining your six-month appointments to allow your implant dentist in Torrance to check your natural teeth and artificial ones. This will not only ensure that you show no signs of tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, or oral cancer, but it will also allow your dentist to review your restorations and dental implants to make sure they are not loose and are still in optimal condition.