Snap-In Dentures: Pros, Cons & Considerations

Clinical Content Reviewed by Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
Last Modified:

Table of Contents

  1. What Are Snap-In Dentures
  2. Why Snap-In Dentures Are Chosen
  3. Pros of Snap-In Dentures
  4. Cons of Snap-In Dentures
  5. Snap-In Dentures Can Improve Oral Health
  6. References

Snap-in dentures use your existing root structure, remaining teeth, and jawbone to anchor the dentures in place, allowing you greater freedom to eat, drink, and smile. You still need to take them out to clean them, and they will need to be replaced every few years.

What Are Snap-In Dentures?

As many as 120 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, and 36 million are estimated to have no teeth. There are innumerable reasons that you might lose several teeth over your lifetime, including tooth decay, gum disease, injury, or cancer, including some cancer treatment).

If you are one of the millions in the United States who are affected by several missing teeth, you may be very self-conscious, struggle to maintain good oral hygiene, and have difficulty enjoying many foods and beverages.

Your dentist will work with you to determine the best type of treatment to improve your smile. A treatment option many Americans receive is dentures.

The American Dental Association (ADA) notes three major categories of dentures: conventional, immediate, and overdenture. Your dentist may recommend a particular category depending on your current oral health, jaw structure, and remaining teeth. Increasingly, American adults receive overdentures, which may also be called snap-on or snap-in dentures.

Why Dentists & Consumers Choose Them

People who are missing all or a significant number of their teeth are called edentulous. About 15 percent of the edentulous population in the U.S. has dentures made for them every year.

Snap-in dentures are a popular option for people who want more permanent dentures that are easy to care for and make use of existing teeth or jaw structure. Snap-in dentures are also preferred by many consumers because they are mounted to posts in the mouth, so they shift less than traditional dentures, which require adhesive.

Eating and drinking with snap-in dentures is more natural, with fewer dietary restrictions. Traditional dentures may limit the types, textures, and temperatures of food or drink you can safely consume.

Dentists increasingly prefer snap-in dentures because they can benefit jawbone health. Overdentures or snap-in dentures are an excellent option when some of your teeth can be saved or when your jaw is strong enough to provide support for the dentures. However, snap-in dentures need to be replaced frequently, should not be worn while you sleep, and require specific cleaning and care to avoid gum disease.

Snap-in dentures are designed to fit your mouth, using the shape of your jaw, remaining teeth, and support implants to lock securely in place. You can take them out at the end of the day to clean them, which can improve their lifespan.

Depending on whether you need upper, lower, or both arches replaced, your dentist will start by assessing your oral health and then putting dental implants into your gums and jaw. These devices use the existing healthy structure to secure your snap-in dentures. Unlike permanent dentures, which also use dental implants, snap-in dentures are removable. Other steps include:

  • Bone grafts to stabilize your jaw if you have lost bone density.

  • Two to six months of healing after implant surgery. You may wear immediate dentures during healing so you can safely eat.

  • A potential second surgery to attach a locator to the implants.

Snap-in dentures require either two or four implants per arch to lock the dentures onto, and your dentist will decide which number creates the most stable platform in your mouth.

The Pros of Snap-In Dentures

There are numerous benefits to snap-in dentures that you may not have considered because you did not know that a more permanent option to traditional dentures, or a less invasive option than full implants, was available. Pros of snap-in dentures include:

  • They are less expensive than a full set of dental implants with fake teeth.

  • They are less likely to shift or dislodge compared to traditional dentures.

  • They look more like real teeth compared to traditional dentures.

  • They last longer than traditional dentures.

  • They are easier to maintain than traditional or permanent dentures.

  • They reduce any deterioration in the jawbone caused by tooth loss due to the implants.

  • They offer fewer limitations on what you can eat and drink since they are sturdier than traditional dentures.

Research suggests there is no difference in bone loss in the jaw between two or four implants, as using the root structures in the jaw helps to prevent bone loss.

The Cons of Snap-In Dentures

Even if you and your dentist both think snap-in dentures are a great option for your oral health, you may want to consider some of the negatives of this option, like:

  • They are more expensive than several options to replace your teeth.

  • The implants that lock to the denture device require at least one surgical procedure with a long healing time. You will potentially need two or three surgical procedures.

  • They are less durable than permanent dentures or dental implants.

  • They require a special cleaning process.

  • You must take them out to sleep.

Snap-In Dentures Can Improve Your Oral Health

Any type of dentures, including snap-in dentures, are considered more permanent solutions to long-term oral health problems and missing teeth. They can be quite expensive, compared to other options like dental veneers. However, they tend to be less expensive than receiving a full set of dental implants, which are permanent solutions to missing teeth and cannot be removed except by your dentist.

Snap-in dentures typically cost between $1,000 and $10,000. This large price range considers how many stabilizing implants you need, your dental surgeon’s skill, the cost of materials and denture creation, and other factors. Since your oral health will be greatly improved with teeth and jaw stabilization, your dental insurance may cover much of this cost.

Snap-in dentures are not for everyone, but they may be a good option for you that you have not considered.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.