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What Are Snap-in Dentures?

While people are generally familiar with traditional dentures, they are less familiar with snap-in dentures. Snap-in dentures are also referred to as snap-on dentures, implant dentures, anchored dentures, overdentures, and permanent dentures.  Unlike traditional dentures which connect to your mouth through adhesive, snap-in dentures connect to your mouth by way of artificial tooth roots (dental implants) placed directly into your jawbones. The denture plate has metal button connectors that then snap the denture into place on top of the dental implants. Snap-in dentures usually provide more stability than traditional dentures that use adhesive.

Just like regular dentures, snap-in dentures are made of a porous acrylic material and need to be removed daily for cleaning; furthermore, snap-in dentures need to be replaced on average every 5 years. Although snap-in dentures are more stable and provide a better option than traditional dentures, they have some significant disadvantages, particularly when compared to all-on-4 permanent dental implants, which we will explain in the article below.

What Are All-On-4 Dental Implants?

In all-on-4 dental implants, 4 small titanium posts are placed into tiny holes drilled into the jawbone. On top of the implants, connectors called abutments hold the artificial teeth, called a bridge, in place. All-on-4 dental implants allow a person to have a full arch of teeth—12 to 14 teeth—replaced by using only 4 dental implants per arch.

In contrast to snap-on dentures, All-on-4 dental implants are a permanent solution to tooth loss that functions just like natural teeth. They also replicate the look and feel of natural teeth. Unlike snap-on dentures, All-on-4 dental implants are permanent and never removed. All-on-4 dental implants require little specialized care and need only the same dental hygiene as natural teeth.

Because All-on-4 dental implants completely replicate the look, fit, and function of natural teeth, you can expect the following benefits:

  • Improved diet. Because All-on-4 dental implants restore your bite force to normal, you can eat anything you want. There’s no need to eliminate hard, chewing, or tough foods from your diet.
  • Restored speech. All-on-4 dental implants fit your mouth like your natural teeth, making enunciation easier.
  • Improved confidence and more enjoyable socialization. All-on-4s will never slip out of place. They’re firmly secured into the jawbone and the visible crowns are permanently attached to the implants. All other people will see is your smile.
  • Healthy facial bones. Toothless causes bone loss in the area of the missing tooth, which in turn weakens the surrounding bone structure. A sagging facial appearance can be the result. Dental implants stop bone resorption because they work just like natural tooth roots and restore normal facial contour.

Are All-On-4 Dental Implants More Durable?

All-on-4 dental implants are more durable than snap-in dentures and far more durable than traditional dentures. The visible part of All-on-4 implants, the bridge, is made of zirconia, a strong, long-lasting material that won’t crack, break, or stain.  In contrast, snap-in dentures are made of acrylic which is prone to breakage and discoloration over time.  All-on-4 dental implants do not require replacement over time, unlike regular dentures or snap-in dentures.

Are All-On-4 Dental Implants More Comfortable?

All-on-4 dental implants offer comfort that can’t be matched by snap-in dentures or traditional dentures. All-on-4 dental implants are more comfortable because they don’t press or rub onto your gum tissues. All-on-4 teeth look like natural healthy teeth, whereas snap-in dentures are bulky and can cause friction against delicate oral tissues.

Differences Between Snap-in Dentures & All-On-4 Dental Implants

Pain

Both snap-in dentures and All-on-4 dental implants require the surgical implantation of titanium posts into the jawbones. When this procedure is performed by an oral surgeon, the actual surgical procedure is painless. That’s because oral surgeons are trained, experienced, and certified in giving IV sedation anesthesia, which allows a patient to sleep peacefully throughout the entire process.

However, the day-to-day wearing experience with snap-in dentures is less comfortable than All-on-4s. Because they’re made of bulky removable acrylic, snap-on dentures can cause friction against gum tissues, leading to sore spots. Furthermore, while snap-on dentures are more stable than traditional dentures, they are considerably less stable than all-on-4 implants.

All-on-4 dental implants are made of zirconia, a biofriendly and durable substance that feels and looks like natural teeth. With All-on-4 dental implants, the bridge of prosthetic teeth is permanently and securely attached to the dental implants. There is no slippage and no rubbing.

Costs

The national average expense of snap-in dentures runs between $8,000 and $12,000 per arch. Every 5 years replacement teeth are required. Replacement snap-in dentures cost between $2,500 and $5,000 per arch.

All-on-four dental implants have a national average cost of $25,000-$40,000 for each arch. However, because we specialize in this procedure and our oral surgeons have placed over 5,000 arches, at America’s First Dental Implant Centers, we offer an all-inclusive rate of $14,950 for each all-on-4 arch.

Maintenance

Snap-in dentures require as much maintenance as traditional dentures. Like regular dentures, they have to be taken out daily and cleaned — brushing isn’t enough. Just like traditional dentures, snap-in dentures must be soaked overnight in a cleaning solution, as well as brushed.  Snap-in dentures also become foul-smelling over time because the acrylic is porous.

Long-term maintenance requires snap-in dentures to be replaced every 5 years.

Snap-in dentures also need to be refitted to the connector between the denture plate and the dental implant once a year, to ensure the correct alignment. This prevents excess wear and tear on the prosthetic teeth.

In contrast, All-on-4 dental implants need only regular brushing and flossing. Essentially, all-on-4s should be cared for just like natural teeth. All-on-4 dental implants are permanently attached to your jawbone and do not need to be removed. They also will not need to be replaced.

Eating

There’s no comparison between snap-in dentures and all-on-4 dental implants when it comes to eating. Snap-in dentures don’t restore bite strength to the degree all-on-4 dental implants do. Unlike All-on-4s, snap-in dentures are made up of soft acrylic, which is more vulnerable to damage from eating hard foods. As such, people have to adhere to the same restrictions when wearing snap-on dentures as traditional dentures, meaning no hard food, no chewy food, etc. Additionally, snap-in dentures still move and shift while eating, leading to friction and sore spots, ulcerations, and pain on the gums; food debris commonly get trapped under the denture.

In contrast, all-on-4 dental implants are made of resilient zirconia, a biocompatible material that’s strong like natural teeth, allowing a person to eat a wide variety of foods with no restrictions.  All-on-4 bridges are screwed in tight and do not move at all while eating.

Longevity

Given proper care, all-on-4 dental implant bridges can last a lifetime. They’re positioned on titanium posts, a metal that’s corrosion-resistant and biologically inert. The artificial teeth bridges in an all-on-4 dental implant treatment are made of zirconia, a material that’s resistant to wear and tear.

As mentioned earlier, snap-in dentures are made of an acrylic material that’s soft and porous. Over time snap-in dentures tend to become damaged, deformed and loose.  They will become increasingly brittle with age because acrylic ages quickly. Replacing them every 5 years is typically necessary, although they may break sooner if hard food is eaten.  Furthermore, snap-in dentures have a foul odor over time because acrylic is porous.

Traditional Dentures vs. Snap-in Dentures

Traditional dentures are quite similar to snap-in dentures, sharing the same issues. The big difference is how they connect to your jaw and gum tissue. Snap-in dentures use titanium posts embedded into the jawbone to stay in place, while traditional dentures use dental adhesive to prevent slipping. Otherwise, traditional dentures and snap-in dentures have the same drawbacks when it comes to comfort, food restrictions, and daily cleaning.

Snap On Dentures vs All On 4 Dental Implants FAQs

1. Are snap-in dentures the same as All-on-4?

Snap-in dentures are not the same as all-on-4 dental implants. Snap-in dentures are a non-permanent solution to dental issues. Snap-on dentures are made of a bulkier, less durable material than All-on-4 dental implants. As well, All-on-4 dental bridges—the artificial teeth themselves—are permanently affixed to the implant posts. Snap-on dentures have to be removed each night for cleaning and the prosthetic (fake teeth) will need to be replaced every 5 years. You never have to remove all-on-4 dental implants and they don’t require replacement. All-on-4 dental implants are the most stable and durable of all solutions for missing teeth.

2. Do snap-in dentures cover the roof of your mouth?

Yes. Snap-in dentures will cover the roof of your mouth and require close contact with your upper palate to stay in place.  This leads to difficulty speaking clearly, altered taste perception, and gagging.

3. How long do snap-in dentures last?

Snap-in dentures typically need to be replaced every five years. They may need to be replaced sooner if the wearer has issues like bruxism (nighttime tooth grinding) or is prone to habits that can wear down the acrylic, like chewing ice. Replacement cost runs $2,500-$5,000/arch.

4. How does the cost of snap-in dentures compare to all-on-4?

The upfront costs of snap-in dentures ranges from $8,000 to $12,00 per arch, including the placement of the dental implants and the artificial teeth, then $2,500-$5,000/arch teeth replacement every 5 years. As you can tell, the fee adds up quickly.

At America’s First Dental Implant Centers, you pay $14,950 per arch of All-on-4 dental implants, and unlike snap-in dentures, you’ll never need to replace them over time.

 5.  Why do some doctors recommend snap-on-dentures over all-on 4? 

Lack of experience. Sometimes doctors who are not experienced in the All-on-4 treatment protocol will recommend snap-on dentures, without presenting All-on-4 as an option. Some doctors will mask this deficiency by telling the patient they don’t have enough bone mass for the procedure.

The truth is that nearly all patients who are candidates for snap-on dentures are candidates for the All-on-4 treatment.