Snap-In Dentures – What You Need To Know

Last Updated on August 22, 2023 by Jade Roberts

snap-in dentures advantages

Snap-in dentures – also known as snap-on dentures, overdentures, or implant-supported dentures – are dentures that cover single or multiple teeth as well as prepared roots or implants. For some denture wearers, these are the most logical and cost-effective solutions for false teeth.

They are different from standard dentures but are removable for cleaning and for storage overnight while sleeping.

What Are Snap-In Dentures?

There are primarily two different types of snap on dentures. They are dependent on the types of abutment being used to support them in the mouth. The different types of overdentures are:

  • tooth-supported, and
  • implant-supported.

The name of each helps in explaining the differences between them.

Tooth Supported Overdentures

This particular type of overdenture sits over the top of natural tooth structures. There are several factors that will impact whether or not a tooth-supported overdenture is the appropriate dental solution. It involves the following considerations:

Location of Natural Teeth

In order for the snap-in teeth to be properly supported in the mouth, the location of the natural teeth comes into play. Ideally, there should be no less than one natural tooth per quadrant with canine teeth preferred.

General Health of The Support Teeth

The teeth that will be used to support the overdenture should be in good health. In other words, they should not be decaying or suffering from gum disease. The reason for this is to ensure stability and that the overdenture will be able to be worn for a long time.

Endodontic Treatment Feasibility

In order to prevent interference with the natural bite, the crown of the selected support teeth is usually removed. This also requires the removal of tooth pulp. Root canals in these teeth may be destroyed and if that is the case, endodontic treatment is not required. If there are teeth with non-negotiable root canals, they will not provide the stability required to support overdentures.

Implant-Supported Overdentures

This is actually the better of the two types of support systems for overdentures. Individuals with enough bone ridge in their jaws can opt for implant-supported overdentures. These will receive support from two sources in the mouth – from the implant and from intraoral tissue.

Implant-supported overdentures reduce bone decay and provide greater stability to the overdentures when in place. A conventional complete denture may also be an effective alternative if these conditions are present as treatment time is greatly reduced compared to that of overdentures.

The Different Snap In Denture Attachment Systems

There are four different attachment systems used in the application of overdentures. They include:

Studs

There are a few different types of attachment systems that all fall under the category of a stud. They include O-ring attachments where a metal O-ring with a silicone ring fits over a metal post-like structure and an ERA (extra-radicular attachment) which is best for parallel implant abutments.

There’s also the ball attachment which utilizes a ball and a socket. This is the simplest of the systems. Another option is the self-aligning locator attachment and is used usually when the abutments are non-parallel to each other.

Bars/Clips

This happens to be the most popular of the attachment systems used with snap in denture implants. Essentially, a bar connects the overdenture to splintered abutments. In order to hold the overdenture in place, a clip or sleeve is placed over the bar.

Magnet

With a magnet fitted into the overdenture surface and a magnet keeper in the implant abutment, the appliance is held in place. This type of attachment system permits the movement of the overdenture.

Telescopic

This attachment system is more commonly used when natural teeth are supporting the overdenture. It requires a primary and secondary coping which fit together much in the same manner as a double crown.

Advantages of Snap-In Dentures

When compared to conventional full or partial false teeth, there are many advantages to snap in false teeth. They include:

Eating

Probably the greatest advantage to overdentures is the way in which it prevents too much pressure from being forced down on the gum line which permits the wearer the ability to bite harder foods.

Proprioception

Preservation of the periodontal membrane results when roots are retained for overdentures. This maintains proprioceptive impulses that allow for the ability to control occlusal forces in the same way they could be with natural teeth.

Bone Resorption

Bone resorption ensues when teeth and roots are extracted. Overdentures can reduce this bone resorption or shrinkage of the jawbone when compared to regular dentures.

Disadvantages of Overdentures

Tissue Damage

Plaque can build up around the overdenture abutments resulting in swelling, painful and red tissue. Periodontal disease can develop leading to tooth loss if oral hygiene is not maintained.

Tooth Decay

Again, with poor oral hygiene and poor diet, the risk of developing tooth decay around the support teeth increases. The use of fluoride toothpaste will assist in reducing this risk.

Bone Resorption

An overdenture can lead to resorption of the alveolar bone. Although this can be prevented with the retention of a root, the bone will still be the target of gradual resorption. When this happens, it can add instability to the overdenture as time passes.

Denture Stomatitis

Full and partial denture wearers commonly experience denture stomatitis – an inflammation that causes painful swelling inside the mouth and lips. It also occurs with overdentures. It can develop from poor oral hygiene and poor diet.

Fractured Dentures

Overdentures held in place with attachments have a risk of being damaged. The risk is the same for conventional false teeth because the material they are made from is fragile and can be severely damaged if dropped.

Snap-In Dentures Procedure

Since every patient is different, and due to the different overdenture options available, steps in the procedure of getting snap in false teeth varies slightly. However, here is a general guide that you may experience.

In order to be a candidate for dentures that snap in place, you must have enough jawbone to support the implants (for implant-supported overdentures). A set of x-rays will be taken during the consultation visit to fully assess the bone structure of your jaw.

On the day of the procedure, some gum tissue will be removed and the support teeth selected will have their crowns removed. These steps are to ensure that once the overdentures are installed, there is no disruption of normal function such as your bite and speaking ability.

Drilling holes into the jawbone will be required in order to add the implants or support attachment devices. The gum is closed around the healing abutment and this may require a stitch or two. The implants or attachments are left to heal for several months.

After the healing has completed, the snap-in overdentures are fitted. They would have been made from molds cast from your teeth at your first or second dental visit. There may be follow-up visits to ensure everything is working correctly as you get used to the implants/overdentures.

Other Details Regarding the Procedure

A local anesthetic will be administered throughout the procedure to mitigate pain. The complete procedure for implant-supported overdentures takes between two and four hours. This may require a series of visits prior to and following the procedure to monitor progress.

After The Procedure

Signs to expect following the procedure include swelling, bruising, bleeding, and pain. There will be some immediate discomfort as you get used to the changes inside your mouth, but they should subside in a week or so.

Persons Who Should Not Have Overdentures

As great an alternative to conventional full and partial dentures as overdenture can be, there are a number of factors that may rule you out as being considered a good candidate for the procedure. They include:

  • Suppressed immune system
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • Heavy smoker
  • Teeth grinding
  • Recent heart attack
  • Loss of jawbone

Your dentist will be the best person to advise you on whether any of these factors will affect your ability to be a candidate for snap-in dentures.

Snap-In Dentures Price

A number of variables will determine the actual cost of snap-in dentures, however:

  • a lower overdenture will start at around the US$6,000 range, and
  • upper snap-in dentures cost from US$12,000 and up.

The difference is attributed to the fact that more implants are required for the upper overdenture as the bone is softer. Full mouth upper and lower overdentures should cost less than US$20,000.

Implant-supported or fixed denture costs for the same set (upper and lower) can run in the US$40,000 range or more when extractions and dentist visits are taken into account.

In Conclusion

Snap in dentures are just as the term implies. You just snap them into place and snap them out when not required. If you have enough jawbone and your oral hygiene is good, you may find these to be a better option than conventional full or partial false teeth if you start losing your natural teeth.

If you think you may be a candidate for snap-in dentures, it is best to speak to your dentist to get the specific advice you need to determine whether or not they will be the best false teeth option for you.

About Jade Roberts

After having a lot of dental issues when she was younger, and years of restorative dental work, Jade knows how difficult it is to find the right dental information. This forced her to do countless hours of research and connect with dental experts all over the world to find the right information. Learning has made her passionate about sharing her knowledge and experience so that others don't have to go through the same issues. "If I make any recommendations in the articles on the False Teeth Options website, it is because my team and I have researched and/or tested the products ourselves, and would be comfortable recommending them to our own family and friends. I'd love to hear of your experiences. So if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch."

2 Comments

  1. Dana on August 30, 2023 at 9:07 am

    I want to know the average price of the O rings for every year that they have to be replaced. I am getting the snap on Denture and want to find out how much the maintenance of them will cost because for only $4,000 more I can get the All in 4 or All in 6 procedure and I need to know what the expenses are going to be for my teeth and if I paid the extra 4K. Would I be free of the additional money for the each year that follows? Thanks so much, Sincerely, Dana

    • Jade Roberts on August 30, 2023 at 7:37 pm

      Hello Dana.

      Thank you for your question. It’s great that you’re considering your options for dental procedures and trying to make an informed decision. I am not an expert with Snap-In Dentures, but my understanding is that the cost of maintaining snap-in dentures with O-rings can vary depending on a few factors, including the specific dentist or dental practice you visit, the quality of the materials used, and the frequency of maintenance visits. Generally, O-rings need to be replaced periodically, typically every 6 to 12 months, to ensure a secure fit and proper function of your snap-in dentures.

      While I don’t know the specific pricing, here is some further info to help understand the potential costs associated with snap-in dentures compared to the All-on-4 or All-on-6 procedures.

      Snap-in Dentures with O-rings:

      • – Initial Cost: The cost of getting snap-in dentures with O-rings is often lower than the All-on-4 or All-on-6 procedures, making it an attractive option from a budget perspective.
      • – Maintenance Costs: O-ring replacements and routine dental check-ups will be your primary maintenance expenses. These costs can vary, but on average, expect to budget several hundred dollars for each O-ring replacement. This cost will recur annually or biannually, depending on your dentist’s recommendations.

      All-on-4 or All-on-6 Procedures:

      • – Initial Cost: The upfront cost for All-on-4 or All-on-6 procedures tends to be higher compared to snap-in dentures, as they involve the placement of dental implants to support a fixed bridge.
      • – Maintenance Costs: While these procedures can have higher upfront costs, they often come with the benefit of long-term stability and reduced maintenance expenses. Dental implants are designed to be more permanent solutions, potentially requiring fewer maintenance visits and replacements over the years.

      To determine whether the additional cost of the All-on-4 or All-on-6 procedure would indeed save you money in the long run, it’s essential to consider both the initial investment and the ongoing maintenance expenses for each option. Since I am not an expert in this area, it would be best to consult with your dentist to get a personalized cost estimate based on your individual needs and circumstances.

      All the best with it, and please let us know how you go.

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