Two of the most popular methods for replacing missing teeth in your mouth involve using dental implants to anchor the dental device. Snap-on dentures are far more secure in your mouth than traditional dentures, because they are solidly anchored to the implants, which take the place of tooth roots. All-on-4 dental implants use just four implants to support the replacement of an entire arch of upper or lower teeth. If you need to replace all your teeth on the top or bottom, one of these two methods may be ideal for you. Below, we'll describe the benefits of each so you can make a more informed decision about which fits your circumstances better.
What is All-on-4?
All on four dental implants get their name from the fact that an entire arch of upper or lower teeth can be replaced by just installing four implants. Normally, it would take one implant for each tooth that needs to be replaced, but all-on-four treatment is possible because the implants are installed at an angle. The biggest difference between an all-on-four set of implants and overdentures in in the way that the two appliances are shaped. All-on-four treatments are permanent, which means you never take them out of your mouth. This is in direct contrast to snap-on dentures, which are completely removable, and should be taken out of the mouth every night.
What are Snap-on Dentures?
Snap-on dentures look very much like traditional dentures, and they feel very much like them as well. However, snap-on dentures differ from traditional dentures in that there are somewhere between two and four locators beneath your plate that attach on to the top of abutments. The abutments are secured to actual implants in your jawbone. Snap-on dentures get their name from the fact that they snap into place, and afterward there's no shifting or rubbing because the implants anchor the dentures very well.
People who wear snap-on dentures will have to remove them at night before going to sleep, and that will give your mouth a rest from having them inside all the time. Care of your snap-on dentures is the same as it would be for regular dentures, i.e. they're soaked in a cleansing solution and brushed the next morning. Snap-on dentures are an alternative for people who have a great deal of bone loss in their jaws, because it will still be possible for between two and four implants to be installed in your mouth to stabilize the dentures. You can either put a new denture in to fit on top of the implants, or your current dentures an be retrofitted so that they snap in place.
When considering the cost of all-on-four dental implants, the total cost will include the surgery necessary to install the four implants themselves, as well as the artificial teeth which get attached to the implants. You can expect to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $12,000 for an upper or lower arch when having the four implants installed. On top of that, you'll need to pay for the replacement teeth, and if you opt for an acrylic permanent restoration, that will cost you in the neighborhood of $5,000 per arch. If you should choose to install zirconium or fixed porcelain rather than acrylic, you can expect to pay approximately $12,000 per arch. If you were to have both upper and lower arches of teeth replaced with all-on-four implants, it would cost you somewhere between $20,000 and $3,000.
The cost of implant-supported dentures will depend on the type of denture you're having installed, and the type of implants themselves can also have an impact on the final cost. Typically, titanium implants would be used, and these will cost between $1,500 and $2,200. Assuming that no preparatory surgeries are required before the installation of the implants, the remaining cost will be for the dental prosthesis itself.
There can be a huge range in the quality of dentures installed when you're looking to get snap- on dentures. A low-quality denture can be obtained for as little as $300, and by contrast a really high-quality denture can go as high as $10,000. Obviously, the high-quality denture will serve you better in the long run, but it's a question of how much you're willing to pay for having really quality dentures installed. The cost of both implant-supported and all-on-four implants will also be impacted by the level of experience of the dental professional working on you. Someone with more experience will always charge more than someone relatively new to practice.
Using implants to anchor dentures is a great way to prevent the bone in your mouth from receding and shrinking over an extended period of time. This resorption process alters your oral anatomy, and it will cause your overall appearance to change. Adding implants prevents this from happening, and that's one good reason for getting dental implants and creating a long-lasting oral appliance. Ordinary dentures cannot bite or chew as well as either natural teeth or dental implants. When dental implants are installed with your existing dentures, they work to keep the dentures fixed in one position.
However, this doesn't add much impact to your chewing or biting processes, and food will still have to be reduced to smaller pieces in order to have them pass through the system naturally. All-on-four dental implants can be compared to chewing with natural teeth. Everything in an all-on-four implant is crafted from highly durable materials that are shaped like a natural tooth and look very much like it as well. Given that all-on-four implants are permanently attached in your mouth because they fuse to the jawbone, you'll never have to worry about anything shifting around inside your mouth. This means you can eat, speak, and smile with total confidence.
Care and Treatment
All-on-four implants should be treated the same way that you take care of your normal healthy teeth. You should brush and floss at least twice a day, and occasionally rinse your mouth out with a good mouthwash as well. Snap-on dentures are a little different, because they're not permanent fixtures in your mouth, and should be removed at night. Your dentures should be placed in a cleaning solution and brushed in the morning before being reinserted in your mouth. If you're conscientious about taking care of your dentures, they will last for a very long time, and should provide you with great service.
There are a number of factors which come into play when you're considering the comfort level of all-on-four dental implants versus overdentures. First of all, when it comes to chafing, rubbing, and creating sore spots in the mouth, both snap-on's and all-on-fours will be helpful in eliminating pain and discomfort. Denture implants don't call for sealing your gums, and that means there's no rubbing up against the gums. Whenever rubbing does occur, it's not only painful, but it might very well be a source of infection for the wearer.
In terms of speech, a snap-on denture may impact the way you talk. That's because there's an acrylic plate which spans the roof of your mouth, so it may be necessary to practice making specific sounds without slurring or having an entirely different sound. When all-on-four implants have been installed, its shape naturally follows the contours of your bite, and that means your tongue and your lips will be in the exact same positions, so that your speech will sound perfectly normal.
In terms of eating, there are some big advantages to having all-on-four plants implants installed as opposed to snap-on dentures. All-on-four implants don't cover the roof of your mouth, and that means you'll be able to chew easier, and you'll enjoy the taste of your food much better. There are no foods at all which would be considered off-limits for someone who has all-on-four implants installed.
Your facial profile can be changed somewhat if you have implant dentures installed. Implants do support the bone in your face, and that will always have an effect on your facial profile. With all-on-four implants, your face will have its normal look, and will not allow the sunken look that frequently accompanies tooth loss. With-all on-fours, your lips and your cheeks get supported much better, and they will impart a more youthful appearance to your face.
In the way of overall confidence and self-assuredness, all-on-four implants are probably somewhat more appealing. When you have all-on-four implants installed, you can feel totally comfortable that no embarrassing mishaps are going to take place with your teeth. You also won't have to worry about taking them out of your mouth at night, or be concerned about the way you look when you laugh out loud at a funny story. It's really a question of degree, because snap-on dentures can make you feel much more confident than if you had ordinary dentures in place, and all-on-four implants can make you feel even more confident, because they are rock-solid, and mimic your natural teeth and smile in every way.
All-on-four dental implants will always provide the highest degree of functionality, because once they're installed, you can expect they will perform very much like your normal regular teeth do. You will have no problems with eating or speaking, and after a while, you won't even realize that you have artificial teeth in your mouth. Having all-on-four implants installed will be the closest thing to your natural teeth, and they will provide a full range of functionality.
There is a slightly lesser degree of functionality which is possible with snap-on dentures. Because there's a plate which covers the roof of the mouth, it can be awkward talking sometimes, and you may have to practice making certain sounds in order to sound close to normal. Snap-on dentures will allow you to eat most of the same foods you've always enjoyed, but chewing and biting may be a bit less effective, because your dentures simply don't have the same kind of power that your teeth used to have.
No one will be able to tell that you have all-on-four implants installed in your mouth, because in terms of your appearance, you'll look exactly the same. With snap-on dentures, it will sometimes be possible to detect that the wearer has dentures installed, and it will generally be more noticeable if a less expensive set of dentures has been selected. High-quality dentures are much less distinguishable from the natural teeth in your mouth, so this will be a consideration when you're thinking about how expensive you want to go with your dentures. In any case, both snap-on's and all-on-four implants will give a huge boost to your appearance, and that will help you feel much more confident in your daily routine.