What are snap-on dentures? 06/07/10
What are snap-on dentures?
A snap-on denture is a type of overdenture that is supported by and attached to implants. An overdenture is attached to implants, while a regular denture rests on the gums, is not supported by implants, and tends to fit less firmly in the mouth.
A snap-on denture is used when a person doesn’t have any teeth in the jaw, but has enough bone in the jaw to support implants. An implant-supported denture has special attachments that snap onto attachments on the implants.
Snap-on dentures usually are made for the lower jaw because regular dentures tend to be less stable there. Usually, a regular denture made to fit an upper jaw is quite stable on its own and doesn’t need the extra support offered by implants. However, you can receive a snap-on denture in either the upper or lower jaw.
You can remove a snap-on denture easily. Some people prefer to have fixed (permanent) crown and bridgework in their mouths that can’t be removed. Your dentist will consider your particular needs and preferences when suggesting fixed or removable options.
How do snap-on dentures work?
There are two types of snap-on dentures: bar-retained and ball-retained. In both cases, the denture will be made of an acrylic base that will look like gums, with porcelain or acrylic teeth that look like natural teeth attached. Bar-retained dentures require at least three implants. Ball-retained dentures need at least two.
A thin metal bar that follows the curve of your jaw is attached to two to five implants that have been placed in your jawbone. Clips or other types of attachments are fitted to the bar the denture, or to both. The denture fits over the bar and is securely clipped into place by the attachments.
Each implant that has been placed in the jawbone holds a metal attachment that fits into another attachment on the denture. In most cases, the attachments on the implants are ball-shaped (“male” attachments), and they fit into sockets (“female” attachments) on the denture. In some cases, these attachments are reversed, with the denture holding the male attachments and the implants holding the female ones.