A dental flipper is a retainer or partial denture with often only one tooth attached. It sits on the roof or ridge of the mouth and can be easily removed by the patient. This is a popular way to restore teeth temporarily.

Flipper dentures are made from gum-colored acrylic. They may have clasps that attach to adjacent teeth. More dentition can sometimes be added with time.

Dental flipper candidate

Interim partial dentures for upper arch

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Dental flippers are usually recommended for children and people waiting for dental implants.

Underage patients should not get dental implant treatment. This is why children who have suffered damage to their teeth or who genetically don't have them, may benefit from flippers. Most often, they receive implants when they turn 18, or even later.

Flipper teeth are great during healing periods for adults as well. Implants can usually be inserted several months after extraction or bone augmentation procedures. In the meantime, flippers maintain a natural look.

Peter Dégallier

Peter Dégallier, RDH

Dental flippers maintain appropriate spacing of teeth while you are waiting for more permanent treatment. They also help restore aesthetics during this period.

The main goals of a removable dental flipper are to improve aesthetics, maintain spacing before a permanent restoration, and to make talking easier.

Flipper tooth cost

Flipper tooth costs near you range from $450 and $1,000, with an average of $750.

The fee depends mainly on two things:

The more teeth a flipper denture has, the more expensive it might be. Acrylic is a lot cheaper than porcelain or metal. The point is to make the temporary restoration as affordable as possible.

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Pros and cons of a flipper tooth

Flipper tooth types

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Flipper dentures are affordable compared to other tooth restoration options. Some patients choose to wear them for a long time, either while they save up for some other restoration, or indefinitely.

Either way, flipper tooth reviews are mainly positive. They offer a lot of comfort and are easy to put in and out.

Richard Hattaway

Richard Hattaway, DDS

They are called "flippers" because you can easily flip them in and out with very little effort.

Impressions for flippers can be made before a tooth is extracted. This means there is no need to go without teeth at all. They are also quick to make. Flippers prevent the remaining dentition from shifting as well.

On the other hand, the grips and hooks that hold the flipper in place are sometimes visible. Many patients also describe flippers as uncomfortable and hard to get used to. They limit what you can eat, as the flipper teeth should not be used to bite into anything hard. Food also collects underneath, so they must be cleaned after eating. Flipper dentures are particularly vulnerable to drops and other trauma, too.

What’s more, the grip on flipper dentures loosens easily. This is because they change shape over time. Since flippers don’t stimulate bone, your mouth and face alter as well. This leads to a difference in fit, loosening, and an older appearance.

  • Affordable compared to other restoration options

  • Easy to put in and take out

  • Can be prepared before teeth are extracted

  • Quick to make

  • Provide stability for other teeth

  • Grips or hooks may be visible

  • Can be uncomfortable and hard to get used to

  • Break easily

  • May make hygiene more difficult

  • Fit may change over time

  • Don’t stimulate bone

  • Limitations on diet while wearing

FAQ

What is the difference between a flipper and a partial?

Flipper teeth are basically partial dentures made from less durable materials. This is because they are a temporary solution. Partial dentures, on the other hand, are usually made with sturdiness in mind. They are meant to last the patient at least a few years.

Partials may be made from flexible materials such as nylon or Valplast. Alternatively, they might consist of a metal framework. Those can withstand a lot more wear and tear and don’t break as easily from falls.

How long can you wear a dental flipper?

Dental flippers are designed to be worn for a couple of weeks or months while awaiting other restoration. In terms of how long you can wear it each day, this is about 8 hours. Your dentist may recommend wearing it for 24 hours when you first get it, to allow your mouth to get used to it.

Flipper teeth should be taken out each night, cleaned, and stored in water. Sleeping with your denture consistently may lead to dry mouth, gum disease, or candida infection. It can also cause damage to your denture.

References

  1. Dental Implants in Children - ScienceDirect
  2. Alveolar Bone Loss in Denture Wearers as Related to Facial Morphology - Taylor & Francis Online