Cosmetic Dentistry Blog Cosmetic and General Dentistry Questions Answered

March 17, 2018

Expectations way too high here for the Snap-On Smile


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Dear Dr. Hall,

I’m thinking about purchasing a Snap-on Smile for esthetic reasons and to prevent, as much as possible, the loss of tooth tissue. But I had my doubts about it looking natural. So I googled “snap on smile looks fake” in order to find possible comments about this on the internet. I found this post and your helpful answer. It’s great that such a knowledgeable doctor gives (free) advice!

First of all I would order the Snap-on Smile in the same yellowish color of my own teeth, and demand that the irregularities of my existing teeth are duplicated in the Snap-on Smile. I believe it’s mostly the whiteness and the uniformity of fake teeth which make them look so unnatural (like horse teeth).

Now, in the video ‘snap on smile part 2’ it shows the set of 6 small instruments with which “Snap-on Smile-dentists” can make subtle adjustments to the appliance. To make my snap-on look even more natural, I would be interested in getting the snap-on teeth flattened, including near the gums, and the “embrasures” and the vertical grooves between its teeth deepened. But, as you wrote, dentists “have an engineering mentality, and they simply aren’t artistic.” Therefore I would prefer to take my snap-on to a cosmetic dentist to get these adjustments made. Would a cosmetic dentist have the necessary instruments for a Snap-on-Smile? Or is the specific set of instruments needed which only Snap-on-Smile-dentists get? (Actually, I expect a cosmetic dentist to have even better instrumentaria! But I would like to be sure before I go ahead purchasing a Snap-on Smile, which, BTW, I hope my own “normal” dentist won’t mind me doing – I’ll ask him.)

Thank you in advance.
– Maylynn

Maylynn,
Your expectations with this Snap-On Smile are way too high, and you are headed for disaster with this plan of yours. I fear that you’re a budding cosmetic dentistry horror story. I’m glad you asked the question, though, because it gives me an opportunity to clarify this issue. Your question started as a comment on my earlier blog post where I answered Heather who said she was disappointed in her Snap-On Smile. I can see that while I told her she could get some improvement by getting a more artistic dentist to help her, I should have been more emphatic in my comments about the Snap-On Smile ending up looking bulky and not natural and her never getting to a beautiful smile.

We have had several dentists who are clients of our website design business who have tried marketing Snap-On Smiles. Some of them have quit doing it because patients are so disappointed in how they look. The ones who are successful in marketing them are better at tamping down patient expectations. We advise them to be sure to tell people they will NOT get an attractive smile, only an acceptable smile. The teeth will look bulky. They will not glisten like natural teeth. And while they may look natural from a distance, from up close it will be easy for someone to tell they’re not real.

And while you seem to be brimming with confidence that you can help your dentist get these looking just right, I would kindly remind you that you are not a professional, and some of your ideas are not correct. For just one item, whiteness is not the primary reason false teeth look fake. Monochromatic whiteness, with no variation in the color, yes, but I have made many sets of porcelain veneers that are nice and white and that even a skilled cosmetic dentist, from the front from twelve inches away, could not tell were not real. Also, your comments about how you are going to insist they be colored and shaped spell trouble for your relationship with this dentist who you think is going to make these under your supervision. And the dilemma you are in with your approach is that the more artistic the dentist you engage to do this for you, the more resistant they are going to be to your meddling in the process.

Snap-On Smile is for patients who have an ugly smile and want to upgrade to a smile somewhere between poor and mediocre—say from an “F” smile to a “C-.” DenMat’s marketing materials may lead you to higher expectations, but that’s their marketing. If that’s not where you are, you need to look into a different smile makeover technique.

– Dr. Hall

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Click here to ask Dr. Hall a question of your own.

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

February 27, 2012

Trying to save money on Snap-on Smile – can I get it online?

I would like to be able to order the snap-on-smile online. I don’t want to spend time in dentists offices. I know that all I would have to do is have my teeth impressions taken. I want to do this at home. I also know of a site that claims to do it, but the company has a lot of bad reviews from people that paid their money up front and did’t get their orders. I ask some one at the conpany of the site and I was told that the complaints was from one dissatisfied customer. I’m still leary of them. But I would really like to order the snap-on smile online from someone reliable. Do you happen to know of any reliable online companies?

Thanks for your reply.
– Gibbs from Chicago

Dear Gibbs,
Interesting question.

There’s a reason the site you found that claims to deliver a Snap-on Smile online is a sleazy site that cheats its customers. The reason is that this doesn’t work, doing it online. It would be kind of like getting a haircut online. That was creative of them – to tell you that all the complaints were from one dissatisfied customer. Sounds like you didn’t believe them. I don’t.

You start with the impressions. You could maybe get that without a dentist, but I’m not sure how you’d go about getting that done. The impressions have to be a certain level of quality, without distortion. There’s a certain amount of training required to do that right. Some dental assistants can do a good job of it, but not even all dental assistants could do an adequate impression for these purposes. And then there’s the problem of getting the Snap-on Smile ordered. By law, Den-Mat is required to take orders only from licensed dentists. So you would have to have someone lie in order to get this made without a dentist. And then the question comes up, would YOU trust this person who is willing to lie and break the law. Well, maybe you would. But there are certain things you have to know to tell Den-Mat about HOW you want the Snap-on Smile made. What shade will you tell them to make it? Do you know that terminology? What will you tell them as far as how much facial bulk to allow? Will it fit your bite? How will you figure that out?

But wait, you’re not done. Once you get it back from the lab, the Snap-on Smile has to be fitted. When it is done in the lab according to the model that is sent in, it doesn’t just automatically fit. In most cases it will have to be adjusted. Do you have tools for doing that? Will you know what you are doing? Maybe you’ll trim it here or there and then, all of a sudden, it’s too loose and won’t stay in. What do you do then?

I’m a “think outside the box” and “work outside the box” kind of guy, so I’d be all for creative ways for getting this done and simplifying it. But there are safeguards put in place and the reason they’re put in place is to keep businesses from scamming the public.

If it’s price you’re worried about, and you just want a basic Snap-on Smile that doesn’t need to look particularly great, you can call around and find out who will do it the cheapest, and you should be able to find someone who will do it for a couple of hundred over the lab cost. For front six teeth, the lab cost is $250. For all the upper teeth, the lab cost is $400. What a dentist charges over and above that will vary a lot from dentist to dentist. There will also be great variations in the quality of the result. But if you’re not fussy, you should be able to find someone who will do it cheap. Set a limit of, say $600, and I’ll bet you’ll find a taker if you call around and just ask, bluntly, if the dentist will do it for that, if you’re willing, say, to pay cash up front, so that there’s no risk for the dentist in not getting paid.

Dr. Hall

Links: Read more about the costs of cosmetic dentistry.

We thank our advertisers who help fund this site.

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

January 10, 2011

Disappointed with the Snap-On Smile

Filed under: Snap-On Smile — Tags: , — mesasmiles @ 6:21 pm

I just purchased a snap-on smile and I’m very disappointed! I have a gap where my canine tooth should be and it REALLY bothers me so my hometown dentist recommended the snap smile but I think it’s awful. It looks so fake to me. It seems so big and bulky. everything I’ve looked up says no cash refund but that’s too much money for me not to ever wear it but it just looks fake. Should I see if my dentist can make a new mold and ask for it to be slimmer? I hate my smile I have a 2yr old son and hate taking pictures because of my gap but I don’t want our pictures to look like I’m a crazy person either. Any advice will be great, thank you.
– Heather from Missouri

Heather
I don’t know what to tell you to make this better. Most dentists aren’t very artistic, and I’m wondering if your hometown dentist is one of those. You can try to work with your dentist and see if he or she can make this better for you. That’s the best you’re going to be able to do. Don’t expect a refund.

Dentists vary greatly in their artistic sensitivity and ability to create beautiful smiles. Dentists, as a rule, go into the profession because they like to fix things. They have an engineering mentality, and they simply aren’t artistic. An excellent cosmetic dentist, such as we recommend on this website, will give you realistic expectations about the results you’ll get from a Snap-On Smile. Yes, your teeth will look larger and bulkier. That can’t be avoided because the appliance has to snap over your teeth, and in order to do that, the end result is going to be bigger teeth.

Generally, if someone is missing one or two front teeth and that is all that is wrong, my recommendation would be to get a flipper partial. This is an appliance that also just snaps into your mouth, but all it does is replace those teeth with plastic teeth – it doesn’t add anything to the other teeth. You might try asking your dentist to replace this with a flipper for no charge. If you were his first Snap-On Smile patient, which made you a guinea pig, I think that’s a reasonable request. Your dentist may have been expecting something nicer-looking, too, which made this a good learning experience for him or her.

– Dr. Hall

We thank our advertisers who help fund this site.

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

December 17, 2010

Snap-On Smile for my 8-year-old son?

Filed under: Snap-On Smile — Tags: — mesasmiles @ 3:49 pm

My son is 8 years old. his front tooth is severely chipped almost in half. he has had it filled in but it broke off in a week. he is not in pain and he did not damage his roots, just the tooth. i want to know if snap-on-smile would work for him until he is old enough to have his tooth capped off.
– Kristina from Ohio

Kristina,
I generally have spoken very well of the Snap-On Smile in all my answers to patient questions. This is one instance where I’m going to pour cold water on this idea.

Doing a Snap-On Smile instead of fixing this tooth that is half broken off means that you’re leaving this tooth broken. Yes, he could wear a Snap-On Smile, but I wouldn’t recommend that. There is a way to fix this tooth so it stays fixed, either with porcelain or composite. It has to be done in such a way that it doesn’t get in the way of his bite.

Here are the problems he could have with a Snap-On Smile:
1. It will be a little bulky.
2. He will lose it – since he’s an 8-year-old boy. Then you will pay for a new one, and he will lose that.
3. At age 8, he’s in what we call a mixed dentition stage. That means he has a mixture of baby teeth and permanent teeth, and the permanent teeth are erupting. So the fit of an appliance like a Snap-On Smile is going to change maybe as often as every couple of months. Plus, the appliance may get in the way of erupting teeth.

The repair didn’t break off because of his age, but because it got in the way of his bite. So the situation isn’t going to be any better when he is ten or twelve or fifteen – it could still break off. I’d recommend finding an excellent cosmetic dentist and getting this front tooth repaired correctly.

I preach throughout the website the importance of having procedures like this done by an expert cosmetic dentist, and not the dentist on the corner. What you have experienced is an illustration of the importance of that – your own dentist couldn’t get this to stay on. I would raise your sights and get a really good cosmetic dentist. We have some excellent cosmetic dentists on our list in Ohio. Going with one of them will likely cost a little more than your average family dentist for the procedure, but it will probably be less than going the snap-on-smile route.

Dr. Hall

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

October 23, 2010

A Dentist Asks Questions about Snap-On Smile

Filed under: Snap-On Smile — mesasmiles @ 5:47 pm

General Dentist with a few questions 1) Is there tooth preparation involved? 2) Do we send our models to the lab? If so what is the full arch lab fee? 3) What is the lab turn around time? 4) Do they ship internationally?
– A dentist in Grand Cayman Islands

Answer –
There is no tooth preparation involved in the Snap-On Smile. The lab is the Den Mat lab in Santa Maria, California. I’m confident you can send either the stone models or vinyl polysiloxane impressions. If you want the full arch done, you will need a bite registration also.

I’m not sure what their turnaround time is, but I’m pretty sure they ship internationally.

Their full-arch fee is $400, and $250 for just six anteriors.

I hope this is helpful.
– Dr. Hall

Read more about the costs of cosmetic dentistry.

We thank our advertisers who help fund this site.

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

October 18, 2010

A Snap-On Smile for a Recovered Bulimic?

Filed under: Bulimia,Snap-On Smile — Tags: , , — mesasmiles @ 7:39 pm

I am a recovered bulimic and as a result I have no enamel on my top teeth and they are worn down greatly. My bottom teeth has very little enamel on them and my teeth are extremely sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks. would a snap on smile work for me because I do not have dental insurance and the expenses would come out of pocket. I really need some help with my teeth and was told i need veneers on all my teeth which came to be almost $20,000. it is very hard for me to chew and I cannot bite down on any foods. please let me know the best direction I am desperate.
– Kelly

Kelly,
You have several problems due to your bulimia. Your top teeth are very worn, so they don’t look attractive. They are very sensitive, and it’s hard to eat with them.

The most a Snap-On Smile would do for you is help with the appearance. It wouldn’t strengthen your teeth any or make them less sensitive. It may cost $1000 or more. If the improvement in your appearance is all you want, then look into that. But I suspect you want more than that.

You’re in kind of a tough spot, because not just any dentist will do for fixing this for you. They need to be very artistic because these are your front teeth. But you also need a dentist who will work with you financially.

It isn’t necessary to do all of this dental work at once. I would hunt around a little bit to see if you can find a dentist who will be sympathetic to your plight. If they present a $20,000 treatment plan to you, just say, “There is no way I can afford that. Is there any other way I can do this?” And then see if they’re willing to suggest some options, or if they’re hard-nosed with you. That will help you select the right dentist.

Check with the dentists we list for your area. I know that their cosmetic dentistry is first rate. I don’t know how sympathetic they would be to your situation. Generally the dentists we list are very good that way, but that’s not a sure thing.

And I’m wondering why your dentist suggested doing porcelain veneers for you. Bulimia affects the back side of your front teeth the most. Porcelain veneers cover the front only. So I’m confused at that treatment plan. What you need is bonded all-porcelain crowns. I’m hesitant to say that, because I’m afraid you’ll go to a dentist and say, “I want you to do bonded all-porcelain crowns.” That would be a mistake. If a dentist doesn’t recommend that general type of crown without any prompting from you, you have the wrong dentist.

And in bulimia, the upper front teeth are affected much more than any other teeth. I did two bulimia cases in my practice, and in both cases I only did upper teeth because the lower teeth were only slightly affected. It’s the insides of the upper front teeth that are the most damaged. Eight or ten crowns could do quite a bit toward resolving your problems.

I wish you well. You’re courageous to confront this head-on, and you deserve to be treated well.
– Dr. Hall

See our page: Bulimia and teeth.

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

October 15, 2010

Cost of Snap-On Smile

Filed under: Snap-On Smile — Tags: , — mesasmiles @ 10:20 am

Dr. Hall,
How much will the snap on smile cost? I dont want to feel embarassed to go in and then find out I cant afford to get this for myself…OR that I cant afford mnthly payments..How much is monthly payments? Over what time frame are these monthly payments? I have 5 teeth, starting with the front teeth and back either side, 4 teeth…I just want to know exactly what I’m paying before even coming in for a dental app..

Trudi,
You’re not going to be able to tell exactly what costs will be on any dental procedure until the dentist actually examines you and sees what is involved. This is why dentists are reluctant to quote fees over the phone – they make a good faith attempt to estimate what your case will cost, then you come in and once they actually examine you, they see that there are all these extenuating circumstances. Then the patient gets mad because it doesn’t cost what they were told over the phone.

BUT, I can give you a ballpark.

This is a product that is just becoming popular, and many dentists are just starting to do them, so the fees aren’t well established. Based on the dentist’s costs, I would expect Snap-On Smile to run about $800 to $1600 for an entire arch of teeth and $500 to $1000 for just the front six teeth. This estimate is based on the lab fee charged by Den-Mat and estimated chair time. Dentists that are extra fussy about adjusting them to be just right and comfortable or who put more time into the smile design may be charging on the higher end of that amount. Dentists who are trying to be efficient and keep costs down will be charging on the lower end. And fees will vary depending on the area of the country.

I hope this is helpful,
Dr. Hall

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

October 7, 2010

Snap-On Smile vs Flipper Partial

Filed under: Snap-On Smile — Tags: , , — mesasmiles @ 12:50 pm

Hello Dr Hall,
I have been contemplating about “Snap On Smile” temporary teeth. I’m not sure if I would be eligible though. You see I am missing 2 front uppers with one other that might have to come out as well. I can’t afford dentures or implants, so I don’t have many options. I realize that a visit to the Dentist is the only true way of being sure, but before I spend the money I would like to have some idea if I am eligible. I’m 54 years old and in good health. Please let me know what you think.

Thank you very much,
Douglas from Texas

Douglas,
I don’t understand the condition of your mouth well enough to give you a recommendation, but I’ll try to be helpful.

You are missing two front teeth, and have another that might need to come out as well. It kind of sounds like you have periodontal disease, and that is why these teeth have to come out. That would mean that other teeth are loose and are in danger of needing to come out when they get too loose. The problem with doing a Snap-On-Smile in a situation like that is that it snaps on to your existing teeth, which means that it will put additional stress on the remaining teeth and accelerate the periodontal disease. Additionally, it may be very difficult to get a good fit if the teeth the dentist is fitting it to are mobile.

There is another option that would be even less expensive, and that would be a flipper partial. That provides a relatively inexpensive plastic tooth for each missing tooth. It doesn’t do anything to cover up other teeth, but if your other teeth look okay, the flipper partial would be much less expensive and easier to make and fit.

Dr. Hall.

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

June 1, 2010

Snap-on Smile marketing campaign

Filed under: Snap-On Smile — mesasmiles @ 5:39 pm

I got my June issue of Inside Dentistry over the weekend, and there’s a cover ad for Snap-on Smile. I’ve done some blog postings on Snap-On Smile going back to 2007, and I’ve recommended it as a temporary, inexpensive smile makeover solution.

The news is that Den-Mat has purchased Snap-on Smile, and they will be beginning a nationwide marketing campaign in August to promote it. I think it’s worth noting. This is going to get people calling your office asking about it. It will be smart to get on this bandwagon.

Please read my new page on the Snap-on Smile.

We thank our advertisers who help fund this site.

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

May 25, 2010

A positive experience with Snap-On Smile

Filed under: Cosmetic dentistry costs,Snap-On Smile — Tags: , — mesasmiles @ 11:20 am

I have used “Snap-On Smile” for 4 years. They are a fantastic addition for me because of discoloration and missing/crooked teeth. The problem is that they affect my speech (I love to read to children and so this is a hard to overcome problem) and are so dry in my mouth. My dentist has seen the same type of appliances at a dental conference, but cannot locate the information about them. What other companies make such devices?? If any, would you please give me web references for them? Thank you for your time and consideration!
– Peggy from North Carolina

Peggy,
I’m posting your comment because it gives a nice “review” of the Snap-On Smile.

As far as what company makes them, this product started out as the invention of a private practice dentist, if my memory serves me well he was in New York. Then very recently the rights to the product were purchased by DenMat, a dental materials and laboratory company in California, and they are now making it available to other dentists and will be making a big marketing push.

The Snap-On smile snaps on top of your teeth, so it is going to make your teeth feel bulkier and it could cause problems with your speech, as you are experiencing. If you want something different, you’ll need to upgrade to porcelain veneers. When porcelain veneers are done right, they don’t cause any of these problems.

Dr. Hall

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

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