Snap in Dentures
For those who are missing all or most of their teeth, there are a number of replacement options available today. The replacement option that most people are most familiar with, of course, are conventional dentures. We’ve all known someone who uses or used conventional dentures – a parent or grandparent, perhaps – and we’ve all seen them struggle to get used to them. While conventional dentures do enjoy some attractive selling points, from speed and ease of creation to their comparably low price point, the fact is that the experience of wearing them, as loved ones might tell you, is not an enjoyable one.
Disadvantages of Conventional Dentures
Conventional dentures rely only on the gravity, the shape of one’s mouth, and dental adhesives to keep them in place. As such, they don’t always remain in place, occasionally shifting and moving during talking, eating, or even laughing. With a large acrylic base that rests on either side of the gumline, conventional dentures also tend to be big and bulky, taking up an uncomfortable amount of space in the mouth and even covering up taste buds, preventing their wearer from enjoying their food fully. What’s more, because conventional dentures cannot transfer the power of a bite into the jawbone like natural teeth do, wearers of these dentures must be careful about the kinds of foods they choose to eat, opting for softer and easier to chew foods so as not to put too much pressure on the dentures or gums.
Snap in Dentures
As tooth replacement technology has improved over time, dentists have found new solutions to these problems. One of the technologies that seeks to address the shortcomings of conventional dentures is a new form of dentures that are retained by dental implants. Often referred to as “snap in dentures” because of the way they snap in and out of place when their wearer chooses to put them in or remove them, these modern, streamlined dentures are held in place with the use of dental implants, the same tooth replacement technology that is often used to replace single teeth.
Creating and installing snap in dentures is much like the process of replacing a single tooth, in fact. One added benefit, however, is that a dental implant is not needed to support every single tooth that is missing. In snap in dentures, as few as four strategically placed dental implants can support an entire upper or lower arch. This means that one could replace an entire mouth of teeth with as few as eight dental implants.
Creating and Placing Snap in Dentures
Typically, creating and placing snap in dentures is a three-part process. First, the dental implants are introduced into the jawbone below the surface of the gums and then given time to heal, which takes between two to six months. The dental implant fixtures are a small but integral part of the dental implant, as it is this tiny post’s ability to fuse with the hard tissues of the jaw – much like the roots of one’s teeth – that lend the incredible strength and structural support of this technology.
Once the implant fixture has melded with the jawbone, a small connecting piece (an abutment) is then added to the implant fixture. This is the piece that will essentially transfer the bite and chewing force deep down into the jawbone, which is what naturally absorbs this force when one is using their natural teeth. This connecting piece is specially designed to interact with the dentures that have been custom made for their wearer.
Finally, your dentist will show you how to put in and remove your new, streamlined dentures using the snap in and out feature. If you would prefer not to have to take your dentures in and out, this is also an option that you can discuss with your dentist, as implant retained dentures are now able to be fixed or cemented into place.
Advantages of Snap in Dentures
The advantages of snap in dentures are multiple and varied. First of all, these dentures stay put in one’s mouth. No more shifting or sliding when you’re trying to enjoy a meal or a conversation with friends, loved ones, or co-workers. Not only does this help one to avoid embarrassing mishaps while eating or having a conversation; it also makes snap in dentures much more comfortable to wear than conventional dentures, as the lack of movement creates far less friction and fewer sore spots in one’s mouth.
Just as importantly, the ways in which snap in dentures mimic one’s natural tooth structure from root to crown ensures that their wearer is able to enjoy a much wider range of foods. While you won’t want to bite into a candied apple for dessert, you’ll find that the limitations related to food as far fewer than those that wearers of conventional dentures must abide by.
Furthermore, many find that the overall appearance of snap in dentures is much more attractive and natural looking than big, bulky conventional dentures. Indeed, snap in dentures can do much more for your oral health and appearance than simply replacing the teeth that you are missing. By embedding the implant fixture into the jawbone, which stimulates those hard tissues just as one’s dental roots do, you are actually preserving your existing bone, staving off further bone loss, and in some cases even generating new growth in this structurally key area. This will not only help maintain the shape of your face but will also promote better oral health for years to come.
While snap in dentures are an excellent option for tooth replacement, there are some considerations that one must weigh. For starters, snap in dentures are more costly than conventional dentures, and dental insurance typically does not cover them. You might wish to talk to your dentist about setting up a healthcare direct low monthly payment plan, which can often be done right in their office. There is also a considerable investment of time in creating and installing snap in dentures. Rather than weeks, this process last months, with most of that time being dedicated to the initial healing period following the placement of the implant fixtures. It also involves a surgical procedure, which many make some wary. If bone loss is advanced enough, bone grafting could be required to ensure an adequate amount of bone tissue for the implants to adhere to.
In the long run, most patients find that their snap in dentures are worth the time and money. To determine what’s best for you, though, it’s always best to have a conversation with your own dentist about your own unique concerns. For more information about whether snap in dentures might be right for you, call your dentist today and get the conversation started.