Snap In Dentures
For patients who are missing all of their teeth as a result of a dental condition or injury, snap-in dentures should be considered as a solution for replacing the missing teeth. Compared to conventional dentures, which are often bulky, uncomfortable, and can easily slip, snap-in dentures are more stable and comfortable.
The procedure begins with placing dental implants or screws into the jawbone to securely hold the snap-in dentures in place. In most cases, two to four implants are used in each jaw. The number of implants used, however, can depend on the patient’s specific needs and budget. Some patients will have up to 10 implants placed to secure the snap-in dentures.
Once the implants are placed into the jaw, an implant-retained or implant-supported denture is then set into place. This type of denture may also be called an overdenture.
Depending on the method used to create the overdenture and implants, the overdenture may be permanently fixed in place, or may also need to be regularly removed for cleaning.
Benefits of Snap-in Dentures
Below are some of the main benefits of using snap-in dentures compared to conventional dentures.
- More secure than conventional dentures. Conventional dentures are intended to be removable every day.
- Do not easily come loose during social activities or when speaking.
- Improve chewing ability with fewer restrictions. Patients can eat foods which would be off limits with conventional dentures such as hard or sticky foods.
- Improved fit and are more comfortable to wear.
- Secured using an implant, which results in minimal friction on the gums.
- Are more natural in their appearance.
- Because the implant stimulates the bone, snap-in dentures aid in preserving the jawbone and preventing future bone loss.
Disadvantages of Snap-in Dentures
While there are numerous benefits associated with snap-in dentures, there are few challenges as well which are summarized below.
- Implant surgery is required. While the rate of complications is quite low, there is a risk of infection and other potential complications which can result from the procedure.
- Snap-in dentures are often more expensive compared to conventional dentures. In many cases, this solution is not be covered by an insurance policy and the cost must be paid out-of-pocket.
- Based on the level of tooth or gum decay, a bone graft may be required prior to the procedure. A certain amount of bone is necessary to support the implants used with snap-in dentures. This additional procedure can also extended the total time required for healing and treatment.
- As with most devices, snap-in dentures will eventually break down. It is also possible for the attachments to become loose and require tightening or adjustments.
Snap-in Denture Cost
A patient’s dental insurance may cover the cost of snap-in dentures, however, this is not always the case. This can be a critical factor in evaluating teeth restoration options for most patients.
The dentist can provide the patient with a quote estimate prior to beginning the procedure. For procedures which require two implants, the entire procedure will cost an average of $6,000. This cost estimate includes the implant surgery, all components, and the dentures. There are a number of variables which can impact the overall cost, and the procedure may be more expensive depending on the number of implants which will be used.
As with any type of denture selected to replace missing teeth, maintenance is critical to ensure longevity.
Prior to securing the snap-in dentures into place, it is vital to thoroughly clean the gums, tongue, and roof of the mouth daily using a soft-bristled brush. The dentures should also be rinsed prior to brushing them to ensure any loose food and debris is removed. To remove particles from the surface of the snap-in dentures, patients should use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a nonabrasive cleaner. When the snap-in dentures are not being worn, they should be securely stored in clean water.
Fixed Dentures and Removable Snap-in Dentures
In some cases, the snap-in dentures are permanently attached and cannot be removed. Other types of snap-in dentures can be removed. The selection will vary based on factors such as the patient’s specific needs, daily routine preferences, and budget.
The following are key differences between fixed implant-supported dentures and removable dentures. Removable dentures or implant-supported dentures are specially designed to be removed. In most cases, they are removed each night to be cleaned. Fixed dentures, however, are more permanent. They will typically involve a different cleaning process and can only be removed by the dentist. It is more common for removable dentures to slip out of place compared with fixed dentures. Fixed dentures are securely attached to the implants. Because fixed dentures often require more implants or an additional component to secure the denture in place, they are usually more expensive.
Snap-in Denture Procedure
The snap-in denture procedure and healing process can be quite lengthy. The first step of the process involves the placement of implants into the jaw. The implant then needs to fuse to the jaw and heal, which typically takes about two to six months. This allows the implant to form a strong and secure anchor to hold the snap-in dentures.
Based on the type of system used, a second surgery may be required to expose the implants and connect the extensions. This step may not be required if the implant system includes attached extensions.
Once the implants are placed, a connecting device is attached which holds the dentures in place. In the last step of the process, the full denture is created and attached to the connecting device. The time estimate for each part of the procedure can vary for each patient.
Candidates for Snap-in Dentures
Patients who are missing most of their teeth in the top or bottom jaw from an injury, decay, or periodontal disease may be good candidates for snap-in dentures. Snap-in dentures are also a great solution for patients who want to avoid the challenges associated with conventional dentures.
Contrary to conventional dentures, snap-in dentures are a more permanent solution which aid patients in eating, talking, and having confidence in their smile.
While the entire process for snap-in dentures can take months or even years to complete, there are numerous benefits such as improved function, appearance, comfort, and stability. Contact your dentist to discuss if you may be a good candidate for snap-in dentures.