What is a Flipper Tooth?
A dental flipper is the least expensive way to replace a missing tooth. Often it is used as a temporary tooth replacement while you wait for a dental bridge or wait for healing after a dental implant is placed.
A dental flipper is made out of acrylic. It is made by taking an impression of your mouth, and then a plaster cast is poured. The cast is sent to a laboratory with a prescription that includes the shade of the tooth. An acrylic tooth is selected that most closely matches the shade of your teeth, and a pink plate is molded to fit your palate (on the upper) or to fit just inside the tongue side of your teeth (on the lower)
Wires with little ball ends can be placed to help secure the dental flipper in your mouth. Otherwise, it is secured by the pink acrylic snapping between your teeth.
How Much Do Flipper Teeth Cost?
Flipper teeth typically cost between $500-$600. The price depends on the number of teeth that require replacing and the type of materials used and can vary considerably. A flipper that has wire clasps for example, will cost more than one without.
Who are they for? Adults or Kids?
They can be used by adults who are missing a single tooth, or who have lost several teeth that are not adjacent to each other. Using flipper teeth can restore the appearance of natural teeth in a way that is immediate and inexpensive. While normally used as a temporary measure, some adults will choose flippers as a more permanent solution for tooth loss.
Dentists sometimes recommend flipper teeth for children who may have suffered damage to their front teeth and who are still waiting for their permanent teeth to come through. Wearing them can help restore a child’s self-confidence during this period, which can be an important consideration. They can enable a child with a missing tooth to maintain an appealing and pleasant smile.
Benefits and Drawbacks
- They are inexpensive to make when compared to other options. This can provide valuable time to save up for more permanent and more expensive restorations such as a dental bridge or a dental implant.
- They can be used right after natural teeth are removed and are often pre-made prior to tooth removal.
- They can often be made very quickly, requiring fewer visits to the dentist compared to a more permanent partial denture that may have a metal alloy substructure.
- They are lightweight and some people find them easy to get used to wearing.
- They can instantly improve aesthetics, alleviating the embarrassment many people experience when they lose a tooth in a highly visible area in their mouth.
- The structure of flipper teeth allows some degree of flexibility so if another tooth is lost within the year, the dentist can add this additional tooth to the denture.
- They are not very strong or stable, which can make it tricky to chew and some people choose to leave their flipper teeth out while eating at home.
- The metal clasps sometimes used to hold them in place can be difficult to hide, making it more obvious that a person is missing one or more teeth.
- They are fragile and easily broken. A broken denture can only be mended by a dentist or by a dental laboratory and this may mean going without the flipper for a day or more while it is mended. Frequent breakages could prove increasingly difficult to mend.
- The overall weakness of the material used to make them does mean that the base of the denture must be quite thick and broad. This additional thickness can make the denture uncomfortable, especially towards the end of the day.
- The design of a flipper can create unhygienic conditions in the mouth, preventing saliva from having a cleansing effect, particularly on the denture surface closest to the gums. If not meticulously cleaned, flippers can increase the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
- After only a short period of use, they can become increasingly ill-fitting and loose. This may mean they are uncomfortable to wear and will rub on the gums, increasing the risk of bone loss in these areas.