Snap in Dentures
Snap-in dentures are a wonderful treatment option for patients who are missing most or all of their natural teeth, either due to injury or an underlying dental condition. Snap-in dentures provide a more versatile and stable treatment alternative to conventional dentures, which are prone to slip out of place, can cause a great deal of discomfort, and require a significant amount of maintenance. To eliminate this instability and constant slipping, snap in dentures connect to a dental implant that is placed in your jawbone and is designed to keep your snap-in denture in place. The number of implants required to support your denture will depend on how many teeth are missing.
Benefits of Snap-in Dentures
There are many benefits to snap-in dentures compared to fixed and traditional dentures, which include the following:
- Stability: Both fixed and snap-in dentures are more stable than conventional dentures, which are prone to slipping or falling out when a person is talking or eating food, which can be both aggravating and embarrassing for the individual.
- Improved chewing ability: While fixed denture implants provide the greatest restoration of chewing ability, snap-in dentures provide significantly improved chewing strength compared to conventional dentures, which severely limit the types of foods a person can enjoy.
- Comfort: Snap-in dentures are much more comfortable than conventional dentures because they cause less friction against the gums.
- Look and feel natural: Fixed and snap-in dentures are the best treatment options for restoring you back to having a smile that looks and feels natural.
- Preserves oral health: Fixed and snap-in dentures provide the part of your jawbone above or below where a tooth is missing with the necessary stimulation to avoid jawbone atrophy. Dentures do not provide this stimulation, which will result in the patient’s jawbone continuing to deteriorate over time. This in turn increases the individual’s risk of developing additional oral health issues and will necessitate that their dentures be resized on a regular basis.
When deciding between snap-in dentures and fixed, the biggest factor you need to consider is how important maintenance of the denture is along with your budget. Unlike fixed dentures, which can only be removed by your periodontist, snap-in dentures will need to be removed and cleaned each night. Snap-in dentures are also more likely to slip out of place compared to fixed dentures, which should not slip at all. Because of the increased stability and greater durability, fixed dentures do tend to cost more than snap-in dentures, but for some patients, the benefits of having a more permanent solution outweigh these additional costs.
Drawbacks of Snap-in Dentures
While the benefits of snap-in dentures are significant, it is also important to be aware of some of the drawbacks, which include:
- Requires surgery: Unlike traditional dentures, which do not require surgery, snap in dentures will require a surgical procedure and multiple appointments to complete. This procedure will require the use of a local anesthetic, and while complications are very low, as with any surgical procedure, there is some small risk involved.
- More expensive: One of the biggest drawbacks for patients debating between conventional dentures and snap-in dentures is the cost of treatment. Snap-in dentures are a costlier treatment approach and may not be covered under your insurance plan. Ask your periodontist for an estimated cost and contact your provider to see what, if any of the procedure is covered under your plan.
- Additional procedures may be necessary: Patients who have already lost a significant amount of jawbone may need to have a bone graft performed prior to placement of the snap-in denture.
- Procedural time: Every case will be slightly different, but the process of getting snap-in dentures placed can take anywhere from months to even years, unlike conventional dentures which can provide more immediate results.
- Maintenance and replacement may be necessary: Over time, your attachments may require tightening and your dentures will wear down much like your natural teeth. Taking good care of your snap-in dentures and the rest of your natural teeth will prolong their lifespan, but at some point it may still be necessary to replace them.
The process of getting snap-in dentures begins with an initial consultation to determine whether you are a viable candidate for this treatment. If so, the process begins with placement of a titanium post into your jawbone. This post will act as the root of your new tooth. It will take several months for this post to fully integrate with your jawbone. Once it has, the snap-in denture can be placed. A connecting device may be used to hold the dentures in place once the implant(s) have been inserted. Once they have, a customized denture designed to fit your mouth and blend in with your remaining natural teeth will be made in a lab and attached to the connecting device, after which the snap-in denture process will be complete.
Caring for Snap-in Dentures
Proper self-care is incredibly important to preserve the health of your snap-in denture to ensure its longevity and avoid developing complications. Be sure to use a soft-bristle toothbrush to brush the roof of your mouth, tongue and gums before inserting your snap-in denture. It is also important to thoroughly rinse your dentures to remove any debris or loose food after removing them. While not wearing your snap-in denture, place the denture in water until they are ready to be used again.
Am I a Candidate for Snap-in Dentures?
Snap-in dentures are commonly performed on patients who are missing the majority of their teeth due to periodontal disease, dental cavities, and/or injury and for patients who are dissatisfied with wearing conventional dentures. Patients who undergo this surgery typically have a very high satisfaction rate and often express that they wish they would have had the procedure performed sooner.
In addition to considering the many benefits and drawbacks of snap-in dentures and learning more about what is involved with the procedure and the cost involved, the best way to determine whether snap-in dentures are right for you is to schedule an appointment with your periodontist, who can answer any additional questions you may have and give their professional opinion as to whether this is the right treatment option for you or if another approach may be better suited to your needs.