Dental Flipper: Costs and Benefits of a Flipper Tooth Replacement

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If you have recently lost a tooth and feel a little embarrassed to smile because of the gap it has left, a dental flipper could be a good option for you! Losing a tooth, whether due to an accident, disease or trauma is quite unpleasant. It becomes difficult for you to eat, and you may feel self-conscious about your smile. You may be considering getting a permanent replacement but that could take a long time and potentially cost you a lot of money too. Fortunately, dental flippers are here to solve your missing teeth woes.

Dental flipper and a good smile
A dental flipper can be a great solution for a broken or missing tooth

Being one of the least invasive kinds of tooth replacements, flipper teeth can help you brighten your smile without the need for any extensive surgery or heavy costs.

To fill in your knowledge gaps about dental flippers, in this article we'll go over the following:

  • What are dental flippers?
  • Who can have a dental flipper?
  • What are the pros and cons?

Keep reading to find out if this is the best option for you!

What is a flipper tooth?

The replacement of missing teeth because of disease, decay or damage is never an overnight process. When a tooth is extracted from your mouth, the gums and the bone beneath it become sensitive and require at least six weeks to over six months to completely heal before you can actually think of getting a permanent replacement.

This is because a loss of natural teeth can change the shape of the bone support structure of the jaw as well as the underlying gum tissue. These changes can negatively affect the fitting of permanent dental implants. In such circumstances, you always have the option of getting a temporary false tooth.

A tooth flipper refers to a removable fake tooth that many oral surgeons use as a temporary replacement for your missing teeth. It goes by various names like flipper tooth, temporary dentures, and flipper denture, and can be a good option for your replacement teeth.

Depending upon the exact number of teeth you are missing, a flipper tooth may have clasp-like retainers that help hold it in place around the existing teeth.

What is a flipper tooth made of?

A flipper tooth is usually made of a pink acrylic that exactly matches the color of your gum. It can be created before you go to visit the dentist. This acrylic structure may bear clasps that get attached to your natural teeth on either side of the empty space left behind by your missing tooth.

Because of this, it is extremely easy for you to take out this denture and put it back at any time you want. It also makes it a lot easier to clean.

Look at the video below to watch how a natural tooth is extracted and replaced with an acrylic dental flipper.

What is a removable temporary flipper?

All dental flippers are, by design removable, and most are ideally temporary until you can get a better replacement tooth like an implant. Flippers are similar to a retainer except that there are teeth attached to it. You can pop it in and out of your mouth with ease. The teeth are synthesized using acrylic material that closely resembles a natural tooth. This tooth is attached to a gum-colored acrylic palate which is then molded according to your mouth.

In order to fix this temporary tooth in your mouth, the dentists make use of small wires with balled ends. Other than this, you can simply secure the flipper by snapping it between your teeth.

The following table summarizes the pros and cons of using a removable temporary flipper in your mouth.

Pros Cons
Mostly affordable May be unhealthy for gums
Can be made quickly May not be a perfect fit
Recommended by most dentists May break easily
High success rate Difficulty chewing

Should you use dental flippers?

If a recent accident has knocked out your teeth and you are looking for temporary tooth replacement options, your dentist may likely suggest opting for teeth flippers. But should you actually get them? Let's take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of these teeth to help you decide.

Benefits of a dental flipper

Mentioned below are some of the benefits of using a dental flipper.

  • Better appearance: Dental flippers fill in the gaps caused due to missing teeth so you can get your gorgeous smile back.
  • Advance Preparation: If for some reason, your dentist needs to remove one of your teeth due to disease or damage, a dental flipper can be prepared before the extraction and fixed in the mouth as soon as possible.
  • Ease of use: A dental flipper may help you chew food easily despite missing a few teeth.
  • More stability: Using tooth flippers as partial dentures for front teeth can keep the teeth around the gap in place. This prevents these surrounding teeth from shifting.
  • Convenient: Dental flippers are easy to wear and can be taken out for cleaning.
  • Comfortable: This type of temporary denture is much more comfortable and more aesthetically pleasing than some alternatives.
  • Affordability: A flipper denture is generally cheaper than other alternatives.
  • Easy to prepare: Dental flippers are quicker to make, generally requiring one to two days, on average. If you have opted for a dental implant but are first waiting for the site to completely heal, using this denture can be a great alternative during this period.
Dental flipper replacing original tooth
A dental flipper is a great temporary solution to missing teeth.

Drawbacks of a dental flipper

 Amidst all the benefits of using a dental flipper, there are certain drawbacks that you should also consider.

  • Durability: Most dental flippers are made using cheap materials with low durability as compared to other types of dentures. This means they are more prone to cracking and breaking. If you break your dental flipper, you will definitely require a repair or even a replacement.
  • Initial discomfort: Flipper teeth may initially feel uncomfortable in your mouth. This can also make activities like eating and talking feel slightly unnatural. Sometimes, these flipper teeth may also cause pain and must get checked by a dentist immediately.
  • Potential allergy: It is possible for you to be allergic to the material used to synthesize flipper teeth. Therefore, it is important for you to discuss your allergy history with the dentist prior to getting one.
  • Maintenance: Using flipper teeth can be harmful to your dental health as they increase the risk of tooth decay and gingivitis, especially if you do not clean them well.
  • Risk of gum recession: A flipper tooth entirely covers your gums, hindering the flow of saliva to that particular area. Because saliva helps keep the gums clean and prevents recession, using a flipper tooth can actually increase this risk.
  • Risk of Loosening: A flipper tooth is synthesized and molded in such a way that it grips your existing teeth perfectly. However, using it over a long period of time can loosen this grip. In such circumstances, you may need to schedule an appointment with your dentist to fix this loosened flipper tooth.

Based on the pros and cons mentioned above, you can decide for yourself if you wish to get a flipper false tooth or not.

Tooth required to apply a dental flipper
Applying a partial denture is a relatively simple procedure for both adults and children

Dental flipper cost

Now that you know more about dental flippers, you must be wondering how much money will it cost to get these temporary teeth. So how much is a flipper tooth? Well, it depends on what materials your dentist (or the lab) uses and how many teeth it’s replacing (single tooth flipper, double tooth flipper, etc). But generally, a front flipper tooth can cost anywhere between $300 and $500. It’s a good idea to contact your insurance company to see how much of that they can cover.

Conclusion

A flipper tooth is an affordable option for temporary prosthetic tooth replacement for most people. If you’re waiting for a more permanent tooth replacement solution, a flipper tooth might be a good choice for you.

If you need help determining which option is best for you, visit your dentist. They can explain your options and help you choose the best treatment for your situation.

FAQs

How long after extraction can I wear a flipper?

Unless instructed otherwise by your dentist, you should refrain from wearing your dental flipper until 24 hours have passed after surgery.

Can you eat with a dental flipper?

A flipper is designed primarily for aesthetics, however, most patients learn to eat with their flippers in place. You should begin by chewing relatively soft food that is cut into small pieces. Take small bites, and chew on both sides of your mouth at the same time. Hard or chewy foods (raw vegetables, french bread, etc.) should be avoided until after your period of adjustment.

Is a flipper the same as a partial denture?

Yes. Dental flippers are a kind of partial denture used to act as a temporary filler for a gap in the tooth line. They are normally used to replace one missing tooth whereas partial dentures, in general, can be used to replace one or multiple teeth.

How long can you wear a dental flipper?

Dental flippers are intended to be worn temporarily, while you wait for your gums to heal before getting an implant. But some people choose to wear flippers indefinitely, either because of the low cost or because they’re lightweight and easy to adjust to.

For kids with missing teeth who are younger than 17, a flipper may be a long-term solution until they’re old enough to get implants. However, dental flippers are prone to breaking easily and require regular care to keep them clean and to protect your other teeth and gums.

What's the best way to clean dental flippers?

Remove your flippers at night and scrub them gently with water or toothpaste, then soak them overnight in a glass with an antifungal and antibacterial denture tablet. You can put your clean flippers back in your mouth in the morning. Visit your dentist twice a year to closely monitor your dental flipper and adjust it if it becomes loose.

Dental Flipper: Costs and Benefits of a Flipper Tooth Replacement
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Contributors:
Dr. Junaid Tariq
Dr. Junaid Tariq
Dr. Junaid Tariq is a professional content creator and copywriter. The meticulous nature of his MBBS degree proved invaluable in sculpting his research skills and honing his writing efficiency. In addition to working as a content creator, Dr. Tariq continues to fulfill his duties as a medical doctor at a local hospital and has acquired hands-on experience in both acute and chronic patient care. From white papers to blogs, Dr. Tariq writes everything, simplifying complex scientific concepts into basic terms to create something easily accessible and readable for the majority.
You can follow him on his blog: https://themedchronicles.com/
Sources
European journal of dentistry: Allergic effects of the residual monomer used in denture base acrylic resins. Consulted 13 February 2020. The journal of advanced prosthodontics: Immediate fixed partial denture after tooth extraction in patients with systemic diseases. Consulted 13 February 2020.  
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