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What Is a Snap-On Smile?

A Snap-On Smile is a removable prosthesis that will enhance the appearance of your teeth. It is widely seen as a removable alternative to veneers, which are thin, shell-like structures made from porcelain or composite resin that a dentist attaches with an adhesive. The Snap-On Smile is worn over the teeth (in the same way as a clear aligner or removable retainer) rather than bonded to them. It can cover flaws such as cracks, chips, stains, and gaps and can be fashioned for your upper teeth, lower teeth, or both.

Getting a Snap-on Smile involves two simple appointments with a dentist who offers this cosmetic option. At the first visit, the dentist will take impressions of your teeth to create your Snap-On Smile. Those impressions go to a dental lab that makes the appliance and mails it to your dentist’s office. Your return visit will just consist of trying it on to make sure it fits correctly.

The Snap-On Smile can be helpful if you have a significant event such as a wedding or graduation that you want to look your best for, especially if you do not have the time or the money for major cosmetic dental work. Before deciding whether a Snap-On Smile is a good option for you, it is helpful to know some of the pros and cons of this cosmetic device.

Snap-On Smile Pros

Affordability

The Snap-On Smile is less expensive than other cosmetic options such as veneers, bonding, or whitening. While a complete Snap-On Smile will cost in the range of $1,000 to $3,000, veneers will run anywhere from about $950 to $1,250 per individual tooth. While dental veneers offer a more permanent fix to cosmetic issues and are higher in quality, their cost is prohibitive to many patients. A Snap-On Smile can provide an affordable alternative for days that patients want to look their best.

Customization

As with dental veneers, you will choose the contour and coloration of your Snap-On Smile. However, you won’t have to be worried about matching one or more teeth with others. Unless you receive dental veneers on all your teeth, you might have to darken the veneers to match the color of surrounding teeth to avoid having one significantly brighter tooth. The Snap-On Smile allows you to adopt a new look because it covers every tooth, potentially giving you the opportunity for a brighter smile.

Speed

A Snap-On Smile is ready for wear in just a couple of weeks, which is the average wait time between when the dentist creates the mold of your teeth and when the dental lab crafts the appliance. The ease and speed of the process can offer a relatively last-minute solution for unexpected events that arise.

Non-Invasive

With a Snap-On Smile, you will avoid the discomfort experienced with other types of cosmetic dental treatments. After the quick impressions of the teeth, the dental lab does all the work. Additionally, a Snap-On Smile will not interfere with your existing teeth. If you opt for porcelain veneers, the dentist will need to erode some of the tooth’s surface to apply the shells.

Snap-On Smile Cons

Not a Long-Term Solution

Most Snap-on Smiles last two to five years before they need replacing, while other treatments can last for decades. While a Snap-on Smile is cheaper initially, the cost of each replacement can add up over time. This makes it essential to consider how frequently you will wear your Snap-On Smile. It is best for occasional use only. If you plan to wear it every day, it might be better to explore other options.

Not Completely Realistic

Because the Snap-On Smile comes as one piece that you snap over all your teeth, the natural spacing between the teeth is not present. When viewed closely, this will give the teeth an inauthentic appearance (though you should look fine in pictures). In some cases, particularly in patients with large teeth, the Snap-On Smile also can cause teeth to appear bulky when viewed up close as it adds an extra layer to them.

Creates Risk for Tooth Decay

The Snap-On Smile creates a similar risk for tooth decay as clear aligners in orthodontics. The mouthpiece helps to create a warm, moist environment where bacteria can grow. It is vital to keep your Snap-On Smile clean and increase oral hygiene between wears. The product typically comes with a cleaning solution that you should use each time you remove it.

Eating and Drinking Is Risky

Technically, you can eat and drink while wearing a Snap-On Smile. However, the tray is highly susceptible to staining and can become misshapen after contact with hot beverages. You have to be very careful with what you eat or drink while wearing your Snap-On Smile. As a general rule, anything that can stain your clothes can stain your appliance. Additionally, chewing can be somewhat awkward and uncomfortable with the extra thickness added to the teeth. If you decide to eat while wearing your Snap-On Smile, you should rinse your mouth and immediately clean the appliance.

Strictly Cosmetic

It is important to remember that the Snap-On Smile is only for cosmetic purposes and is not a substitute for dental or orthodontic treatment. Misaligned teeth or jawbones can lead to various medical problems, such as chronic pain, sleep disorders, and infections. Overcrowding also can increase your likelihood of developing tooth decay and periodontal disease. Orthodontic treatment is the only solution to long-term physical and dental health in moderate or severe cases.

If you are missing teeth, it is better to replace them with dentures, bridges, or implants. When teeth are missing, jaw bone atrophy can occur around the gap site, as that part of the jaw no longer receives the stimulation it needs to maintain bone density. If teeth are lost from the back upper jaw, the sinus cavity above will start to expand and further erode the jaw bone. Additionally, the surrounding teeth will shift to fill in the gaps left by missing teeth. This can destabilize the teeth.

Cosmetic Alternatives to Snap-On Smile

Professional Whitening

If you want a longer-lasting and more regular solution to stained and discolored teeth, a power whitening performed by a dental professional is an option. To power-whiten your teeth, a dentist will apply peroxide with a laser to give you immediate effects. The procedure is safe for your teeth and can last several years.

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is another option to whiten teeth and involves applying a resin composite to the teeth to achieve a whiter look and improve the shape. The process begins with etching the teeth, which involves coating them with a mild acid. After the etching is complete, the dentist will apply a thin adhesive layer to the stained teeth and cure them with a special light. The dentist will then buff and polish it to create the smoothest possible surface.

Dental Crown

If you have a cracked or chipped tooth, a dentist can file away part of the remaining tooth and cover it with a crown, or tooth-shaped cap, made to protect the tooth and improve its appearance.

If you’re interested in receiving orthodontic treatment, contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our board-certified orthodontists.

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