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Snap-In Dentures vs. All-on-4 Implants

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3D illustration of removable snap-on full implant denture installation over white background

So, you’re in the market for a teeth replacement solution. Maybe you never thought you’d be here, but the need for dentures and dental implants results from myriad factors. 

First of all, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 Canadians over age 60 have widespread tooth loss. Factors leading to tooth loss include severe gum disease, loose teeth, or a history of poor dental hygiene.

Many denture and dental options exist, thanks to modern advancements and innovations. This article will focus on removable and fixed dental implants, known as snap-in dentures and all-on-4 implants, respectively. 

Learn the benefits, drawbacks, and who makes a great candidate for each one to see which one appeals to you. Of course, your denturist will be able to guide you to your best option, so please book a consultation

We want you to make an informed decision for optimal oral health and feel confident when you flash those pearly whites.

Removable & Fixed Dental Implants

When patients get dentures, the hope is that they mimic natural teeth as well as possible. With both snap-in dentures and all-on-4 implants, patients can achieve this.

Both removable and fixed dental implant procedures use titanium screws, or abutments, that are surgically placed into your dental arches and fused to the jaw bone. The false teeth are then fastened to these screws, either by a removable snap function or permanently attached.

The primary difference between snap-in dentures and all-on-4 implants relates to their permanence. Snap-in dentures are removable, and you will have to remove them each day before bed. All-on-4 implants stay in your mouth permanently fused to your jaw bone.

Infographic illustrating snap in dentures Vs. All-on-4 implants

What Are Snap-In Dentures?

Snap-in dentures are a form of teeth replacement that uses dental implants to hold the dentures in place. Usually, the patient will have 2–6 screws surgically placed in each dental arch, the number depending on the patient’s situation and budget. 

With the screws fastened to your jaw, the implant-supported dentures (overdentures) then click or snap into them to hold your false teeth in place.

Snap-in dentures are removable and require proper maintenance and care.

Advantages

Snap-in dentures mark a pivotal point in the denture world. These implant-supported false teeth can provide stability, security, and a smile you’ll be proud to show off. Additionally, you can expect the following benefits:

  • They prevent sore spots and chafing that you would typically have with traditional dentures.
  • Get improved chewing ability with fixed-in-place dentures—no rocking or shifting.
  • Because of the high-tech fitting procedure, these dentures can fit better and feel more comfortable.
  • WIth most snap-in dentures, the roof of your mouth remains exposed, so you will not experience taste loss or difficulty with speech sounds.
  • Bye, bye, denture glue!
  • Snap-in dentures are more natural-looking than traditional dentures.
  • The implants preserve your jaw bone and prevent further bone loss.

Disadvantages

Snap-in dentures are a level above traditional dentures, offering more stability and a more natural look. However, there are some drawbacks to consider.

These teeth replacements must be removed and cleaned each night and preferably after every meal. In addition, you need to clean the attachments to prevent tartar and bacteria buildup.

Because of the constant removal and insertion, snap-in denture attachments can loosen and weaken over time. You’ll need to visit the dentist or denturist regularly so they can ensure the proper fit and function of your dentures. (However, this could be a benefit if you have a great relationship with your denturist and you want to catch up!)

Who Is a Good Candidate for Snap-In Dentures?

Snap-in dentures would be a viable option for people who prefer to remove their dentures and clean them daily but don’t want the hassle of denture adhesive or glue you find with traditional dentures.

The best candidates for snap-in dentures have significant tooth loss or periodontal disease. Patients need to have healthy gums and enough jaw bone to implant the denture supports. 

Ideally, patients are non-smokers since smoking dramatically increases the risk of gum disease. However, some patients may be eligible for bone augmentation and bone grafts to move forward with the snap-in denture procedure.

3D illustration of All-on-4 Implants

What Are All-on-4 Implants?

All-on-4 implants offer a permanent solution for teeth replacement. This procedure involves surgically placing 4 dental screws into the upper and lower jaw and permanently fastening the false teeth on top.

This permanent dental appliance replaces an entire dental arch of missing teeth. With all-on-4 implants, you don’t have to remove your dentures every night—they’re in there for good.

Advantages

Getting a set of fixed dentures has multiple benefits. Your denturist can elaborate on all the positive sides, but here are some to fuel your interest: 

  • They are surgically attached to your dental arches, making them one of the most secure denture options. 
  • You don’t need to relearn any speech sounds because the implants adhere to the natural shape of your arches and don’t cover the roof of your mouth.
  • For food lovers, rejoice in that you can eat and drink confidently and with stability. Also, your taste buds will not be affected since the roof of your mouth stays exposed.
  • Because of their fixed position, they eliminate chafing and sore spots you would typically experience with traditional dentures.
  • All-on-4 implants can last for decades if you take care of them properly.

Disadvantages

Unfortunately, all-on-4 dental implants are not a “set it and forget it” kind of treatment. You will have to maintain proper dental hygiene by brushing and flossing daily. And, if you need to remove your dentures, this can only be done by a dentist or denturist.

As an advanced permanent solution, all-on-4 implants can cut into your bank account more than other denture options. However, they are long-lasting and require less professional maintenance, making them an affordable option in the long run. Find out more about our financing options for denture procedures.

Finally, during the healing process, you may experience tender gums and have difficulty eating.

Who Is a Good Candidate for All-on-4 Implants?

Ideal patients for all-on-4 dental implants are people seeking a permanent teeth replacement solution. Moreover, they’re a good option for anyone who doesn’t want to deal with repeated removal, insertion and cleaning after each meal and before bed. Instead, the patient would rather clean them as if they were natural teeth.

Since all-on-4 treatment offers complete teeth replacement, it’s suitable for people who have experienced widespread tooth loss. 

Which Dentures Suit You Best?

Choosing the most suitable dentures might be overwhelming when there are so many choices. But, we’re here to help by offering denture education, so you can make an informed and appropriate denture decision. 

We also offer thorough consultations, during which we’ll assess your dental situation, explain denture procedures, and aim to ensure you understand all your options. 

Our team is excited to help you restore your smile.

Written by Wade Klimpke

Wade Klimpke is a past President and long-standing member of the College of Alberta Denturists. Wade leads a number of industry working groups which help advance and monitor old, current, and new industry developments. This has allowed him to gain a number of industry relationships with implant dentistry suppliers in Canada and the United States.
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