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What is a Flipper Tooth?

3 minutes to read

Posted: 01.23.2023

What is a Flipper Tooth?

You can think of a flipper denture—also known as a dental flipper or a flipper tooth—as a retainer or a partial denture that sits on the roof of your mouth. They come with clasps that attach to your surrounding teeth, and you can get a one tooth flipper or a flipper tooth that covers more missing teeth. Most of the time, they are given to underage patients, because children or adolescents will need to wait for their facial growth and development to have finished before getting something more permanent. They can also be given to anyone waiting to get permanent implants as a temporary, interim solution. Read on to learn all about flipper dentures, their pros and cons, flipper tooth costs, how to clean them, and much more.

In this article:

What are the Pros and Cons of a Flipper Tooth?

Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of flipper dentures; this will help you see if this is a good option for you or not.

  • They are easy to insert and take out

  • They are quick to produce

  • They can protect remaining teeth from shifting

  • They can be prepared before the teeth are extracted

  • They are affordable

  • They look natural

  • They are convenient

  • The grips and hooks that hold the flipper in place are sometimes visible

  • Flippers can be uncomfortable and hard to get used to

  • They can limit what you eat, because you can’t bite into anything hard

  • Food can collect underneath, so they must be cleaned after eating

  • They can break easily

  • The grip loosens over time

  • They don’t stimulate the bone

How Can You Get a Flipper Tooth?

As you can see from the pros and cons above, there are a few reasons why a flipper tooth is only meant to be a short-term solution. It’s usually used for those waiting for more permanent solutions like a dental implant or a fixed bridge. It can be uncomfortable, so some people may only want to wear them for the short term and not for the next few years.

However, there are some cases when getting a flipper tooth is a good permanent solution, and that’s for someone who is missing teeth but may not a good candidate for implants or a fixed bridge. For example, children, heavy smokers, those with chronic disorders like diabetes, those who have had radiation therapy in the neck or head area, or those missing bone in the jaw to support the implant, are usually not good candidates for dental implants. Because you can get a one tooth flipper, it gives those in the above categories an alternative way to replace a missing tooth. However, your dental provider will assess your situation to see what the best option is for you.

If you need one, your dentist takes an impression of your mouth using a soft material, which is then sent to a dental laboratory. The lab makes a customized flipper tooth that fits your mouth and will fill in the gaps in your teeth. It’s usually made from acrylic dental-grade resin.

How much do Flipper Dentures Cost?

In general, flipper dentures cost between $300 and $500 for a front tooth flipper at the front of the mouth. Dental insurance will usually cover some of the costs, but there may also be additional costs for adjusting the flipper tooth or repairs.

What Should You Expect when Getting a Flipper Tooth?

You can eat with a flipper tooth and chew your food, but try to avoid dark-coloured foods and drinks that can stain your flipper tooth over time, like coffee or cranberry juice. You may also want to talk to your dentist about getting used to wearing a flipper tooth first, because with some flipper teeth, you’ll need to be especially careful not to bite into anything hard. Your dentist can advise you on how to adjust to life with your flipper denture.

Another thing to consider is you must remove the flipper tooth before going to bed every night, making sure you thoroughly clean it. You also shouldn’t play with or shift your flipper tooth with your tongue, because this will loosen the flipper tooth over time.

The best part? Your flipper tooth will look natural, because it covers the gaps left behind by missing teeth, so you can smile and talk with your flipper with confidence.

How to Clean a Flipper Tooth?

Just like with any denture, it’s important to keep your flipper tooth clean. Here are a few steps to clean your flipper tooth:

  • Remove your flipper tooth.

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with warm water and a denture toothpaste or denture cleaning solution to clean the denture (avoid cleaning with normal toothpaste, as this can damage the tooth).

  • Rinse your flipper tooth thoroughly before popping it back into your mouth.

  • Keep the flipper tooth moist by placing it in a denture cleaning soak or water overnight. Make sure the water is not hot, as this can cause the tooth to warp.

Frequently Asked Questions About Flipper Dentures

What is a flipper denture?

A flipper tooth or a flipper denture is a removable retainer that sits along the roof of the mouth or sits on the lower jaw. It can have one prosthetic tooth attached to it or more.

How much is a dental Flipper?

A flipper tooth can cost between $300 and $500.

What is the difference between a flipper and dentures?

A flipper tooth is made from less expensive and durable materials than standard dentures, so it’s really only meant to be used as a temporary solution to fill the gap between the teeth. On the other hand, a partial denture is also made to fit perfectly, so it will be more comfortable to use and last much longer.

Can you sleep with flipper teeth?

No, you should remove the flipper before going to bed, clean it, and place it in a glass of water to prevent it from warping.

Do flipper teeth look real?

Yes, flipper teeth can appear relatively natural.

Flipper teeth or flipper dentures are great as a temporary solution if you need an implant or a bridge and you don’t want to go around with a gap in your teeth—particularly at the front teeth. You can discuss your options with your dentist about whether a flipper tooth is good for you or whether a bridge or another type of denture would suit you better.

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