A snap on denture, or an “overdenture,” are dentures that attach to dental implants that are placed in the bone. While these dentures do not fully replace one’s natural dentition, snap on dentures have less movement and more stability than a conventional denture. These dentures still need to be removed to sleep and cleaned daily after every meal.

A snap on denture is held in place by 2-4 implants (2 if lower, 4 if upper), involves dental surgery, and can take 6 months to 1 year to complete. After implants are placed in the bone, there is a waiting period to allow the implants to become firmly embedded into the bone. During this time, the patient can only wear his/her temporary dentures.

After the surgeon gives approval to proceed with the snap on denture, the denture will take 5 visits to fabricate. At the first visit, the doctor will take an “impression” or mold of the gums ( to create a “custom tray” that will fit only that patient). At the second visit, the doctor will take a detailed impression using those custom trays to capture as much detail as possible from the gums. At the third visit, the doctor will capture your ideal bite and ask what color you wish for your new teeth to be. At the fourth visit, the doctor will confirm esthetics and the bite. At this visit, the teeth are held in by wax and may feel bulky and will not snap in yet. At the fifth and last visit, the doctor will attach the denture to the implants themselves, using some posts called “locators.”

These locators will substitute the caps that have been on top of the implants and will stay there permanently. They come in different heights and the doctor will be pick the one that suits the best. Clips are then placed on top of these locators and attached to the denture using acrylic. Once this is complete, the denture finally snaps.

Sometimes if the snap at this time is very strong, the patient leaves with “training clips” (nylons) and after 2 weeks or so, the doctor will replace these nylons with stronger ones to give the denture more retention. These nylon attachments are like car tires and will need to be replaced approximately every 3-6 months.

Any removable appliance will collect food underneath, this is why we recommend removing them after every meal and to sleep so they can be cleaned. Sometimes denture adhesive is needed to give them more stability if desired. Since they sit and rub on the gums, adjustments are necessary after taking them home and trying them out. Remember, there is no dental appliance that will ever feel and work just like our natural teeth.