Snap-in dentures: are they right for you? Discover how denture implants compare to alternatives

Nowadays there are many solutions to choose from when it comes to tooth restoration. Dental implants and dentures are the two most popular ones. And implant dentures are a great way to combine their benefits.

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What are snap-on dentures about? Read our thorough guide.

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What are denture implants?

Denture implants are a removable tooth restoration solution. They can be full or partial. Implants are inserted into the jawbone and a row of teeth in the form of dentures “snaps” onto the rods. Other names include implant retained dentures and snap-in or snap-on overdentures.

For full mouth restorations, the denture is usually mounted on 2-rods. Depending on the patient’s mouth condition, the dentist might decide to increase the number to 4. This helps make the denture more stable. Dental implant dentures are suitable for the upper and the lower arches. The false teeth must be removed at night and for cleaning.

Dr. Richard Hattaway

When a patient is transitioning from a traditional denture, 2 implants are a great option. When transitioning from natural dentition, 2 implants are not usually enough.

Who is a candidate for snap-in dentures?

The dental implant procedure has requirements that must be met. It is part of getting implant dentures. Here is a general candidate overview:

  • missing or severely damaged teeth,
  • moderate or no bone loss,
  • non-smoker,
  • no TMJ syndrome or gum disease, and
  • readiness to avoid hard foods.

Implant-retained dentures are placed on a smaller amount of rods than permanent implant solutions. You may even get away with mini implants. This makes the whole thing more affordable, a little bone loss is not a huge problem, and you may get away without bone grafting or sinus lifting.

Smoking and dental implants, however, don’t mix. If you are a smoker you must be willing to quit, at least during and for a few months after the procedure, while recovery takes place. Cigarettes are a common reason for implant loss.

Patients with TMJ syndrome usually prefer to keep their teeth in at night and have a sturdier attachment. This is why permanent solutions may be better for them. The same applies to those who enjoy steaks or other food that is difficult to chew and don’t want to commit to a soft food diet.

And lastly, any solution with dental implants requires a healthy mouth. The patient has to undergo excellent aftercare but might also have to be prepared for treatment beforehand. Periodontitis must be healed before implantation takes place. What’s more, if you have a history of gum disease, you may be more prone to dental implant infections.

How do implant-retained dentures compare to alternatives?

Implant dentures are a mix of the two most popular ways of restoring teeth: dentures and dental implants. You could say they are a compromise. How do they compare to the original or fixed dentures versions?

Implant-retained vs. implant-supported dentures

Implant-retained (overdentures) and implant-supported (hybrid fixed) dentures may easily be confused. Either one can be a great fit for a patient who needs multiple teeth replaced or a full mouth restoration. Here are some key differences between the two:

Implant-retained dentures

  • Removable solution
  • 2 or more rods
  • More affordable
  • A little bone loss is not a contraindication
  • Can be mounted on mini implants
  • Does not fully absorb shock from biting
  • Has to be removed at night and for cleaning
  • Relines are needed

Implant-supported dentures

  • Fixed solution
  • Usually 4 rods
  • More expensive
  • Needs an adequate amount of bone
  • Bone grafting or sinus lifting might be necessary
  • Mini dental implants are not suitable for this solution
  • Absorbs the full force of a bite
  • Gives the best speaking, laughing, eating, and sneezing comfort

A patient who has undergone a little bone loss may be a good candidate for one type of implant-supported solution called the All-on-4. Still, the appliance is a fixed bridge and can only be removed by the dentist.

Implant-retained vs. traditional dentures

The most common way to replace all missing teeth is a traditional denture. Prices of dentures are the lowest among tooth restoration options.

The costs of implants, on the other hand, are the highest out there. Some patients still prefer to invest due to their retention and comfort and not have any running costs later on.

Removable implant retained overdentures reviews show more satisfaction than that of conventional dentures. Here is a quick run-down of how a traditional compares to snap-in dentures:

Implant-retained dentures

  • Anchored in the jawbone and snap on every day
  • Implant placement surgery is necessary
  • Might include months of healing
  • More expensive
  • More stable solution, the denture won’t slip out of place
  • Provides more freedom in speaking, smiling, eating, and talking
  • Implants can be a lifelong solution
  • The denture might have to be replaced after about 5-7 years
  • Stimulates the jawbone preventing bone loss
  • Attachments may have to be replaced every 3-18 months

Traditional dentures

  • Must be adhered to the gums by suction or adhesives
  • No surgery needed
  • Can be ready in a few weeks
  • More affordable
  • Patients often complain about movement and shifting of the denture
  • Bone loss makes relines needed more often
  • Sores and lesions are a common complication
  • Need to be replaced every 5-7 years

If you have severe bone loss, you don’t need to worry about being a good candidate for traditional dentures. That is not a problem. This solution, however, does not prevent further absorption. Missing teeth cause changes in the shape of your jawbone and face and relines are needed more often.

When bone loss takes place in the mouth the face appears sunken in and wrinkles might become more prominent. Restorations that include dental implants help prevent this issue by stimulating the bone.


What are the pros and cons of implant dentures?

First of all, snap-in dentures help prevent bone loss and improve facial structure to make you look younger. They provide more comfort in speaking, eating, smiling, and laughing than a traditional denture. There is often no need for bone grafting or sinus lifting and it is the most affordable implant solution for full mouth restorations.

On the other hand, they may cause sore spots and relines are needed on occasion. And they can still be quite expensive for some patients. Check out offices that do denture implants near you to compare costs.

How many implants are needed for dentures?

Removable implant dentures can most often be installed on 2 or 4 rods. Permanent full-mouth restorations often need 4 rods to remain stable in the mouth.

How long does it take to get implant dentures?

Bearing in mind the initial consultation, possible extractions, surgery, and casts, it can take up to a year. In between there are months of healing during which you may have to go without teeth. Sometimes temporary solutions are possible.

Which is better dentures or dental implants?

It depends on your situation. Dental implants themselves are a great solution for singular missing teeth. If you have more missing you can consider a traditional denture or one that is held up by implants.

Traditional dentures are cheaper and can be ready faster but have more running costs and need to be replaced more often. Implant-retained or implant-supported dentures are more stable, durable and provide more comfort. They can take a longer time to make, however, and are a lot more expensive.

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