If you’re looking into total tooth replacement for the first time, or if you’ve been searching for an alternative to your traditional dentures, you’ve probably seen the words “snap-in dentures” and “All-on-4®” thrown around before.

You might be wondering what, if anything, differentiates these two options, and which one is better.

Both All-on-4® and snap-in dentures use dental implants to stabilize a full set of artificial teeth. There are a few key differences to consider, however, before settling on a smile reconstruction plan.

How All-on-4® implants work

With the All-on-4® system, each jaw is prepared with a minimal set of implants, typically between four and eight. These implants integrate with the jawbones over the first few months, making them as stable as natural roots. A full arch of lifelike artificial teeth is then permanently attached to the implants of each jaw, using screws or dental cement.

Once completed, All-on-4® prostheses should be used and cared for like natural teeth, including standard brushing and flossing.

How snap-in dentures work

Snap-in dentures also attach to a set of dental implants, but unlike All-on-4® prostheses, snap-in dentures are removable. They connect to the implants with a set of “snaps,” much like those used on clothing.

Like traditional dentures, snap-in dentures need to be removed and cleaned each night.

Comparing snap-in dentures with All-on-4®

Both snap-in dentures and All-on-4®:

  • Are long-term solutions for complete tooth loss
  • Eliminate the sore spots caused by traditional dentures
  • Restore full biting and chewing function
  • Prevent bone loss associated with missing teeth
  • Require implant placement surgery

The differences lie in:

  • Upkeep. Whereas All-on-4® prostheses can be treated like natural teeth, snap-in dentures require at-home maintenance routines comparable to traditional dentures. Snap-in dentures also require more frequent in-office attention, due to wear on the snaps.
  • Taste. Because snap-in dentures are not anchored permanently, they often include a stabilizing plate that covers the roof of the mouth. This can reduce taste sensitivity.
  • Speech. The same plate that helps stabilize snap-in dentures can also interfere with forming some sounds. Most patients can overcome this with practice.
  • Cost. Snap-in dentures are typically more affordable than All-on-4®, at least in terms of initial price. However, the lower maintenance requirements for All-on-4® may make it more cost-effective in the long run.

If you’re uncertain which full smile restoration option is right for you, give us a call and set up a free consultation to discuss your options.