What is a “Flipper Tooth?” When Should I Consider One?

What is a “Flipper Tooth?” When Should I Consider One?

If you have lost or have a severely damaged tooth, your dentist will probably recommend dental restoration. A solution for filling an empty space while you wait for a permanent bridge or denture is a “flipper tooth.” Find out the details of how a flipper tooth works, when you should consider one, and why it’s not a good idea to order one by mail.  

What Is a Flipper Tooth and When Is It Useful?

A flipper tooth, also known as a removable partial denture, is a temporary (lasting up to 12 months) dental prosthesis designed to replace one or more teeth. It consists of a molded acrylic base that resembles the color of your gums and artificial teeth that match the color, shape, and size of your natural teeth. The name “flipper” comes from the ease with which a patient can flip it in and out of their mouth.

A flipper tooth may be recommended for temporary tooth replacement when patients don’t want to wait for a dental implant or bridge.

Benefits of a Flipper Tooth

Besides being a relatively quick solution while waiting for permanent restoration, flipper teeth have several advantages over temporary tooth replacement.

Natural-looking design. Flipper teeth are made to blend well with your existing teeth and gums.

Comfort. While it may take some time to get used to the feel of a flipper tooth, many patients say they are comfortable and hassle free. 

Preventing shifting teeth. When a tooth is missing, the surrounding teeth may shift over time. A flipper tooth helps maintain the proper alignment of your teeth and prevents further dental issues.

Preventing speech and chewing issues. Missing teeth can make chewing and speaking challenging. Partial dentures for front teeth can especially improve a patient’s ability to articulate clearly, allowing patients to go about their daily life without disruption.

Cost of a Flipper Tooth

Dental implants and dental bridges can be costly and time-consuming to install. A flipper tooth is a more affordable temporary solution while you plan for a permanent fix. One flipper tooth will typically cost between $300 and $500 and may be less depending on insurance. Compared with a dental bridge, which can cost $500-$2,000, or a removable partial denture costing at least $700 and up to $3,000, a flipper tooth can save the patient money when they need a fix right away.   

Can You Eat With a Flipper Tooth?

Yes, patients with flipper teeth can eat with them in. It’s advisable to start slow, with foods that are on the soft side and easy to chew. While flipper teeth are designed to be durable, it’s best to avoid hard or sticky foods that could potentially damage or dislodge the dental work. This includes things like hard candies, nuts, and chewing gum. 

At-Home Dental Flipper Kits vs. Professional Dental Work

Some companies are producing at-home flipper tooth kits, claiming they are cheaper and more convenient than going to the dentist. But patients should understand that a dental professional will be able to provide the most comfortable fit, tailored to the patient’s mouth. Additionally, professionally made flipper teeth tend to be more durable and can last longer than the ones sold in kits. 

dental patient considering a flipper tooth
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Caring for Your Flipper Tooth

To ensure a functional flipper tooth, it’s essential to follow these care instructions:

  • Remove before sleeping to allow gums to rest.
  • Clean daily using a denture brush and mild denture cleaner.
  • Handle with care to avoid damage.
  • Visit the dentist regularly for adjustments and maintenance.

Permanent Solutions for Missing Teeth

It’s important to remember that a flipper tooth is temporary. Your dentist will work with you to decide which permanent tooth replacement is best for your overall oral health and preferences. The most common options for permanent teeth replacement are:

Dental Bridges: A dental bridge is a fixed dental restoration that replaces one or more missing teeth. It consists of artificial teeth (pontics) held in place by crowns on adjacent natural teeth or dental implants. Dental bridges are a durable and permanent solution for restoring missing teeth.

Dental Implants: Dental implants are a long-term and natural-looking solution for replacing missing teeth. They involve surgically placing a titanium implant into the jawbone, which acts as an artificial tooth root. Once the implant integrates with the bone, a dental crown is attached, providing a strong and stable replacement for the missing tooth.

Consulting With a Dentist Can Help Determine the Best Solution for You

A flipper tooth is a valuable solution when you’re faced with a missing or damaged tooth. Make an appointment with one of our dentists to determine if a flipper tooth is the right choice for you.