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Dentures: Snap-In vs. Snap-On

May 11, 2022
by: Dr. Ammons

There are a number of implant procedures available in modern dentistry, so it's entirely possible that there could be some confusion regarding the nomenclature of all these potential procedures. Two in particular seem to be responsible for considerable misinterpretation and confusion, those being snap-in dentures and snap-on dentures. If you've been wondering about these two, continue reading below to find out just what each one of them are.

What exactly are snap-on dentures?

Actually, both of these denture types are considered to be implant-stabilized dentures. That means they both have dental implants serving as their anchors in the mouth, and those implants have been installed in the jaw bone, actually fusing with the jaw bone to become part of it. Given the fact that this solid anchor actually becomes part of the jaw bone, you couldn't have a better foundation for an artificial tooth or a denture appliance in your mouth.

Snap-on dentures get their name from the fact that the dental appliance itself actually snaps onto the implant when being put into the mouth. That means snap-on dentures are removable dentures that can be taken out for cleaning at night, or for any other occasion. In terms of differences between snap-in dentures and snap-on dentures, there is no actual physical difference between these two products. Both of them will have special locators beneath the appliance itself which corresponds to and snaps into a dental implant.

The whole reason that they came to be called snap-on dentures in the first place was because the denture actually rests on top of the implants and gets snapped into place. Conversely, snap-in dentures got their name because the implants go inside the small locators which are situated on the underside of the dentures.

Whether you consider these devices to be snap-on or snap-in dentures, their functionality will be exactly the same. They are removable dentures which allow you to chew your food efficiently and speak clearly. The main value served by the nomenclature is to distinguish this type of denture from conventional dentures or possibly from all-on-4 implants.

How do snap-on dentures compare to conventional dentures?

One of the best things about using snap-on dentures is that it becomes unnecessary to secure your standard dentures to the gum line using some kind of adhesive. This was always a messy process in the past, and it's no more efficient in modern times. Snapping the denture into place is all that's needed to secure the dental device to your mouth before you can accomplish more efficient eating and speaking.

While adhesives can be effective for the most part, there are times where the let go of their hold, and then your dentures can slip around inside your mouth. When this happens, you might find yourself with an eating issue in public, or you might find speaking awkward, because your dentures are not firmly fixed in place. It's fair to say that snap-on dentures thus provide several benefits over conventional dentures, since they don't rock or rub around inside your mouth, and so you don't develop sore spots on the gum line.

It's also easier to maintain snap-on dentures as opposed to conventional dentures, and everyone who wears snap-on dentures will testify that they are far more comfortable with snap-ons than conventional dentures. Anyone who has experienced some level of bone shrinkage, which is referred to as resorption, will probably be aware that traditional dentures might not be usable because there's insufficient jaw bone mass.

With a diminished bone ridge, it becomes to difficult to seal the denture to the gum line, or to achieve a comfortable fit. By choosing a snap-on denture, you'll probably have much more confidence in speaking and eating in public, and you can expect next-level performance from your snap-on dentures.

How do snap-on dentures get secured to implants?

There are usually something like two to four locators which are built right into snap-on dentures. These locators are small attachments which are intended to snap directly onto the corresponding implant which has been installed in your mouth. To stabilize the dental prosthesis, it will be necessary to install between two and four implants, and the actual number will depend on the patient's oral Anatomy. After these implants have been surgically emplaced, an abutment gets attached to the top of each.

This kind of abutment is different than the type which would be used in conjunction with something permanent like a bridge or crown. It has been given a special shape so that it can be snapped on to the locator built into the denture. In order to ensure that the snap-on procedure is a complete success, it will of course be necessary to work with an implant expert.

It's easy to see how critical the relationship and the positioning of the locators and the implants are, because if they're not in exactly the right places, they can't be secured together. Once the snap-on denture has been positioned over the locator, and you press down on it, you'll hear a snapping sound that means it has been successfully attached.

Retrofitting conventional dentures

This is not always going to be a viable option, but in some situations, it's possible to retrofit your dentures so that they can become snap-ons. Of course, this requires that you have implants installed in your mouth, and they must be retrofitted so they can be supplied with locators on the underside of the dental appliance. The most important factor when determining whether retrofitting is an option is how new your dental appliance is, and how well it fits.

Older dentures generally cannot generally be retrofitted into snap-ons, but many of the newer dentures are good candidates for retrofitting. If you weren't aware of snap-ons at the time that you had your conventional dentures prepared, you may want to consider undergoing the retrofitting process in order to acquire a more solid tooth replacement. This solution is one which will leave you much more confident about your smile, with your ability to chew and bite normally, and with your ability to speak clearly at all times.

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Multiple Convenient Dental Locations Near Charleston

Ammons Dental By Design has four locations so you can find the most convenient office for your family.
1015 Fair St.
Camden, SC 29020
Monday – Thursday:
8am – 5pm
P: (803) 969-0365
F: (803) 432-2625
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14 Lockwood Dr,
Charleston, SC 29401
(Suite A on the exterior of the Ashley House Building, across from the marina)
Monday – Thursday:
7am - 4pm
P: (843) 380-2734
F: (843) 577-4464
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1739-B Maybank Hwy.
Charleston, SC 29412
Tuesday – Friday:
7am - 4pm
P: (843) 380-8889
F: (843) 990-9504
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1710 Old Trolley., Ste.B
Summerville, SC 29485
Tuesday – Thursday: 8am – 5pm
Monday & Friday*: 8am – 5pm
*Rotating schedule
P: (843) 380-8904
F: (843) 871-0617
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