How do Snap-on Dentures Compare To All-on-4 Implants?
May 11, 2022
by: Dr. Ammons
If you're a dental patient missing most or all of your teeth, it will be important that you have them replaced. Otherwise, you obviously won't have proper functionality when chewing and biting, and you may also will have difficulty with speaking. When you're missing a number of teeth either on top or bottom, it can also cause your facial features to sag, so that you slowly acquire a sunken look throughout the facial area.
It also happens when teeth are missing, that other teeth in the nearby area will tend to shift toward the gap where the teeth once were. This can cause all kinds of misalignments and degradation to the chewing process. When you're thinking about some kind of replacement, two strong candidates might be snap-on dentures and all-on-4 dental implants, both of which rely on implants being installed in the jaw bone.
Dental implants are actually titanium posts which get surgically implanted into the jaw bone, and then over several months, they actually fuse with the jaw bone to become part of it. Patients and dentists should discuss together weather snap-ons or all-on-4 implants would be most appropriate for a patient's situation. One of the big differences between the two procedures is that snap-on dentures represent a removal option, whereas all-on4 implants are permanent.
What are all-on-4 dental implants?
All-on-4 dental implants are used when a patient is missing some or all of their teeth, especially all the teeth on an upper or lower arch of the jaw. They are slightly more secure than snap-on dentures, and therefore cannot be removed from the mouth. Even if all the teeth are missing from an upper or lower arch, they can be replaced by just four titanium posts, since the two rear posts are installed at an angle for better support. Titanium is always used because it is highly biocompatible, and fuses very well with jaw bone material. With proper dental hygiene, these implants can last the entire lifetime of the patient, and provide great service throughout that time.
What are snap-on dentures?
In a procedure involving snap-on dentures, it will be necessary to emplace somewhere between two and six implants in the jaw bone, to support a dental appliance that conveniently snaps into the implants. These dentures will have to be removed and cleaned at bedtime, in order to keep them functioning at their best. The whole idea of maintenance aims at preventing the buildup of tartar, which can degrade even the denture material. As with any dental procedure, you'll need to continue making follow-up appointments with you,r dentist to make sure that the implant-supported dentures remain stable in your mouth. As in the case of all-on-4 implants, snap-ons can provide a very stable replacement for a patient missing some or all of their teeth.
Comparison of snap-ons and all-on-4 dental implants
Below, we'll compare how these two dental solutions perform in several different areas, so that you can make an informed decision on which might be better for your circumstances. It's always a good idea to discuss with your dentist the advantages and disadvantages of each dental solution, so you're sure that you end up with the right option for your situation.
Chafing - both dental solutions work well to prevent any kind of chasing or sore spots. Unlike conventional dentures, neither will rub up against the gum line to cause any kind of irritation.
Speech - snap-on dentures are equipped with an acrylic plate that at least partially covers the roof of the mouth, and that means anyone using this dental solution is obliged to relearn some of the sounds associated with speech. On the other hand, all-on-4 implants routinely follow the natural contours of your mouth, so it won't be necessary to learn any other speaking sounds or techniques.
Eating - both dental appliances are extremely solid when eating and drinking, so the user can have full confidence when dining on their favorite foods. This is an important point, because neither one of these two procedures has the same quality as conventional dentures, which allow for dentures to slip inside the mouth, especially when chewing hard substances. With regard to taste, the acrylic plate associated with snap-on dentures does cover the roof of the mouth, and that limits taste to some extent. All-on-4 implants don't have an issue like that, because they lack that same acrylic plate as part of their composition.
Maintenance - wearers of snap-on dentures will be obliged to take them out each night to have them cleaned, which is very similar to traditional dentures. All-on-4 dental implants are permanently installed in the mouth, and they should be maintained just like your original teeth used to be. That means you should handle them with regular brushing and flossing, and an occasional rinse out with a good mouthwash.
Affordability - all-on-4 dental implants are slightly more expensive than implant-supported dentures would be, and this is why many patients choose the snap-ons. Your decision between these two dental approaches should not be dictated by cost, because there are generally options to help manage that cost, e.g. dental insurance, payment plans offered by your dentist, etc.
Bone health - dental implants are excellent for stimulating your jaw bone and helping to maintain good jawbone health. They also avoid the potential for developing sunken facial features, following the loss of a significant number of teeth. The all-on-4 option will generally require more implants than snap-ons, and this makes them a slightly sturdier option when it comes to bone health. Both solutions deliver considerable extra stability and strength to your jaw bone, thereby preventing the loss of jaw bone mass. Both are also excellent solutions that provide an enduring response to tooth loss, and which significantly improve the smile of the patient. In order to learn about any additional differences between the two processes, you should have a discussion with your dental practitioner.
There may be other issues that are important to you as a patient, and these should also be discussed thoroughly with your dentist.
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