For those who are missing a single tooth, the options can seem gloomy at first. However, there is an option that can be embraced until one gets a dental implant or other forms of tooth replacement. We speak of what is known as a dental flipper of course.
If you try to search for information about flipper teeth, you will find a lot of varying information that goes in many directions. At least that was the case when our guide on dental flippers was written, which is why we set the bar high and aimed to provide the most comprehensive resource possible.
A dental flipper can provide you with a temporary solution that is both cost-effective and functional while you wait for a more permanent solution. You may also find that this option can be embraced when underlying medical issues or other situations prevent you from embracing other types of tooth replacement. Whatever the case may be, continue reading to find out everything there is to know.
What exactly is a flipper tooth?
A flipper tooth is a removable tooth replacement device that is designed to fit just like a retainer would fit and is one of the most lightweight tooth replacement options of all. Unless absolutely necessary (meaning other options aren’t suitable), dental flippers are used as a temporary solution while one waits on getting a set of dentures, fixed bridges, or dental implants.
You can get a flipper tooth for single tooth replacement, or for multiple teeth (where they’re not adjacent to each other). Depending on the type of flipper that you get, it either sits directly on the gum line or is supports by clasps designed to hold it in place. You will find that it’s able to bridge the gap left behind from extraction making it easier to eat among other things that may have limited you due to having a missing tooth.
It gets its name from being able to be flipped out with the flick of a tongue, and this accurately describes how easy it is to remove for cleaning. For those who don’t want to go without a tooth until they undergo their procedure for permanent tooth replacement, this is definitely a viable option. It can actually be constructed before you have the tooth removed to help ensure a seamless fix.
Who are dental flippers best for?
Both adults and children can benefit from having a flipper tooth. If there has been tooth damage where a single tooth is missing or if multiple teeth are missing in areas that aren’t beside each other, this is a solid solution to use temporarily where a child may be waiting on their permanent teeth to come in or someone is waiting to get a dental bridge, implant, or other types of long-term tooth replacement.
In a nutshell, dental flippers will provide the opportunity for the site of extraction to heal without having to worry about making serious adjustments due to tooth loss. Once the area is fully healed, your dentist can proceed with a more longer-term solution that you can depend on.
Also, there are cases where someone might not be a candidate for other tooth replacement options, which is where dental flippers can be used to serve them for the future. Keep in mind that this is the lightweight tooth replacement option, so this should only be embraced as a long-term solution when no other options might be available to you.
The most common reason that people want to get tooth flippers is that they want to be able to chew, function, and speak without any problems. Whereas missing teeth can make this a difficult task, but with a dental flipper the quality of life for one can truly be kept a top priority.
What is the dental flipper procedure like?
Just like other types of tooth replacement, your dentist will initially get a full look into what is in store as far as how the procedure needs to be done. This could include x-rays, and it’s also where they will find out how the dental flipper needs to be made in order to ensure the best fit.
Once they know what needs to be done in terms of shape (which is discovered by your dentist making an impression on where it will be located), and the color that needs to be embraced to ensure that it looks as natural as possible, they will compile all of their findings into a set of directions which will be passed on to the person who makes the flipper itself.
With instructions in hand, they’ll place an order for your dental flipper with a third-party laboratory. From there, your flipper tooth (or teeth) will be made and it will be shipped to your dentist as soon as it’s completed. Once your flipper arrives, your dentist will call you in to perform any necessary extractions and to place the flipper in your mouth.
After everything is taken care of, you’ll be sent home with a specific set of instructions from your dentist which will usually include leaving the flipper in for a minimum of 24 hours and you’ll be advised at what you can do to ensure the best outcome. This can also include adjusting your diet for a short period of time as well as practicing speaking with the flipper to speed up how long it will take for you to learn to speak naturally.
The Benefits of Dental Flippers
Do you find yourself curious as to why this type of tooth replacement has become popular and what makes it stand out against the other options that are available? We did too! Therefore, we did the homework for you and listed the top advantages of flipper teeth for you below.
· An affordable solution in comparison to other tooth replacement solutions.
Being at a more affordable price point for those needing single tooth replacement makes it one of the cheapest approaches currently available. If you find yourself strapped for cash while waiting to get an implant, this is how you could restore your smile affordably in the meantime.
· Can be made prior to having the tooth pulled where the flipper will sit.
This ensures that you don’t have to worry about waiting for things to heal while you wait to be able to use your replacement tooth. Your dentist can make the impression prior to extraction and take care of pulling the tooth when your flipper comes in making it more convenient.
· Easy to put in for use or to remove for cleaning, just pop it in or pop it out.
Hence where it got its name from. You can easily take it out for cleaning and to soak it at night just by popping it out. Putting it in is just as easy, so say goodbye to the chance of having any struggles in this sense.
· Improved oral function, which includes being easier to chew and speak.
Since you won’t have to make sacrifices because of a missing tooth (or teeth), you’ll find that eating and talking will become a lot easier. In fact, this is why many dentists will recommend that their patients use a tooth flipper while waiting on other types of replacement to occur.
· More comfortable than other options once you get used to wearing it.
It isn’t a secret that some other options aren’t comfortable in the long run, and this points a lot of people the other way. Of course, you will have to get used to how a dental flipper feels, but most patients report a very comfortable experience once they get used to it.
· Natural appearance makes it a seamless fit when it comes to your smile.
The color and shape are specific to the structure of your mouth and the color of all of your other teeth. The simulated gum line also blends in such a way that others won’t be able to tell that you’re using the power of prosthetic teeth to your advantage.
· Promotes a healthier oral bone structure to eliminate bone loss.
This is especially important if you’ll be getting dental implants in the future. Missing teeth are known to cause bone loss, which isn’t only unhealthy, but it makes other procedures impossible in the future if they require bone that they can bond to. With a flipper, it ensures that the gum stays covered and that your bone is protected until you undergo other tooth replacement.
· Stabilizes your overall tooth structure to prevent shifting.
By filling in the gap that was left behind when you had a tooth pulled, your teeth won’t have a chance to shift when they’re not supposed to. This also ensures that you don’t have any complications with future tooth replacement procedures that commonly arise when one allows their teeth to shit. The body tries to heal itself naturally, but this doesn’t mean you have to make things worse for things that you expect to occur in the future.
· Usually takes fewer office visits as well as a minimal wait time.
When you embrace dental implants or other approaches, it usually requires many office visits just to get things ready and ensure the outcome is the best possible. This isn’t the case for a flipper, as it can be narrowed down to just a couple of office visits in most cases. They are also made in a low less time as well which ensures you don’t wait forever for your flipper to arrive.
The Drawbacks of Dental Flippers
With everything, there is always some sort of drawbacks. With tooth flippers, the drawbacks don’t seem to be that big of an issue and you can easily overcome them. We’ve listed the top disadvantages of dental flippers for you below.
· A lightweight solution meant only for a limited time.
This is one of the most lightweight approaches to tooth replacement, but again it wasn’t designed to last a lifetime. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t serve its purpose well, it just means that you should still expect a more durable type of tooth replacement.
· Has been known to provide a loose fit over time.
This usually only occurs a while after getting your flipper initially. Hence why it’s the main reason that many dentists recommend it to be a temporary fix while you wait to get a bridge, dentures, or dental implant. You will still have some time before the fit becomes loose.
· Lack of adequate care could lead to gum disease.
This may seem like common knowledge, but you’d be surprised how many people actually overlook it. Just make sure that you take care of your dental flipper properly, and as often as required, and you won’t find yourself facing the risk of experiencing gum disease that usually only occurs when one ignores the maintenance of their dental flipper.
· Potentially could lead to experiencing gum recession.
Saliva is what’s responsible for keeping your gums clean and works to prevent the chance of having any gum recession occur. A flipper continues the gum entirely which can reduce saliva production, but this usually isn’t a problem if you’re only using a flipper temporarily.
· You could be allergic to the materials used in a dental flipper.
Of course, this is a risk you take when embracing any kind of teeth replacement option. It’s not something that should be taken lightly. Make sure you let your dentist know what you’re allergic to so that you can eliminate the risk of being allergic to what your dental flipper is made of.
How much does a dental flipper cost?
Anywhere within the range of $300-$500 per tooth dependent upon the placement of the flipper, the number of teeth that need to be replaced, and the overall complexity of the procedure. A dental flipper is considered the most affordable tooth replacement option for those who need a temporary fix.
Also, keep in mind that the insurance you carry has a lot to do with the overall cost as well as whether you have embraced a DSP (Dental Savings Plan) or not. You should also know that there are times where additional costs may occur if your dentist finds that there is more to be done for the preparation and placement of the flipper than is considered to be a normal situation.
Finally, the lab that your dentist uses and the materials that are used in the construction of your dental flipper play a direct effect on how much it’s going to cost you. You will be given the opportunity to go over the costs and all of the details with your dentist.
Will insurance cover the cost of getting a flipper tooth?
Most dental insurance could help cover some of the costs that are associated with getting a dental flipper, but this depends upon your insurance companies as well as their coverage guidelines. Your dentist will be able to let you know what they will or will not cover during your initial visit.
We have seen that it is more common for insurance companies to help cover the costs of flipper teeth than it has for people who have wanted to go with the dental implant route. Once again, this depends upon the generosity of your insurance company itself.
Other Dental Flipper Financing Options
Your dentist will usually be able to point you to third-party financing options for dental flippers if you lack the money to pay for it all up front and/or your insurance company won’t cover the procedure itself. For example, we use a couple of different companies here at our Houston dental office to ensure our patients get the dental care they deserve, whether they can pay it all up front or not.
By the way, using a DSP (Dental Savings Plan) is another way that dental flippers can be made more affordable. Simply put, it not only provides a discount on the procedure, but it allows you to set back money over time to pay for it as well. For those on a tight budget, this seems to be one of the most popular options that are available. Feel free to reach out to our office if you need any assistance.
The Bottom Line on Dental Flippers
This is a great way to embrace a temporary solution while you wait for another type of tooth replacement to happen. It can make your life a lot easier and minimize the hit that it takes when it comes to the cost. As far as the procedure itself, it seems to be a lot more time-efficient and straightforward than other options as it’s not at a level of complexity that the others are at.
While we wouldn’t recommend this as a long-term solution unless it’s the only choice that you have, we do recommend that it be embraced if you are missing teeth and need a little bit of time to save up money or wait to complete the process of another tooth replacement option. The purpose of a dental flipper is served rather well to say the least.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Flippers
Over the years, we have noticed that our patients have come to us with some of the same questions, whether they are just exploring the option of getting a tooth flipper or they have just received one. To help answer these questions right out the gate, we have listed the top questions for you below.
Are dental flippers uncomfortable?
Just like with any other kind of tooth replacement, wearing a dental flipper does take some time to get used to. Not to mention, it has been known to sit loosely in the mouth, which is why it’s mostly used as a temporary solution rather than being permanent unless it’s absolutely necessary. It fits just as a retainer would (by sitting on your gumline) except for the added tooth to help ease things for you.
Can a dental flipper be permanent?
There have been cases where a dental flipper is used as a permanent prosthetic device, but for the most part, it is only used temporarily. The reason for this is that other options have been proven to be more comfortable while providing for a longer lifespan when it comes to single tooth replacement.
Can you eat with a flipper tooth?
This is the ultimate purpose of having your dentist fit you for a flipper tooth, as it increases functionality and makes it easier for you to take a bite. Keep in mind that this is an option that is usually embraced when you are missing a front tooth which helps close the gap between your teeth left behind by a missing tooth.
Can you sleep with a dental flipper?
A dental flipper is made up of plastic (also known as acrylic) and has a high chance of drying out quicker than partials or other types of removable tooth replacement devices. It’s critical that you don’t have it in for longer than 8 hours, and that you store it properly when you’re sleeping. Failure to do so could cause it to crack or break completely.
Do flippers look natural?
Yes. Dental flippers have been improved upon during their years of existence within the world of dentistry, and one of the main aspects that has seen improvement is how natural they look. The part that sits on the gumline is a color that blends into your gums, and the tooth itself is meant to match all your other teeth.
How do you fix a tooth flipper?
Proper care will help minimize any damage to your tooth flipper, but if it breaks in any way, you will want to embrace the help of your dentist. The reason for this is that they will be able to provide the best fix possible that is sure to be a lot more reliable than any kind of home remedy could offer
How do you keep a flipper tooth in place?
A flipper tooth is designed to fit just like a retainer, so it should stay in place itself. If there are multiple teeth being replaced with a dental flipper, it may have clasps to keep it in place. All in all, there is no need to have any type of dental adhesive to keep it in place as you would with dentures.
How do you store a dental flipper at night?
Don’t soak it in an over-the-counter denture cleanser more than 3 times per week (in fact you may want to aim for doing this just a couple times weekly). On the other nights, soak it in water and make sure that you don’t ever use an alcohol-based rinse or mouthwash to soak it in.
How long after a dental extraction can you wear a flipper?
A flipper will be placed immediately after extraction, and you will want to keep it in for a period of 24 hours before you remove it for cleaning. Once cleaned, keep it in as much as possible during the first week to allow your mouth to heal to its shape ensuring the best fit possible. After the first 7 days, you’ll be able to remove it and keep it out for as long as you deem necessary.
How long can you wear a dental flipper?
About 8 hours is a good rule of thumb, even though you can keep it in for a little longer. Make sure that upon removal you soak it (as you would for cleaning) to ensure that it doesn’t have a chance to dry out and break/crack. Also, sleeping with it in isn’t usually the best idea either.
Is a flipper the same as a partial denture?
Essentially, yes as it’s made out of dental acrylic and serves the same purpose as a partial denture. The biggest difference is that a partial denture is more of a permanent solution and a dental flipper is generally used to get you by until a permanent solution (like a partial denture) is embraced.
Is it hard to talk with a flipper?
Just as it is with any other type of tooth replacement, you may find that it’s difficult to speak naturally until you get used to talking with a dental flipper. Over time, the difficulty will subside and allow you to embrace ease when it comes to talking.
What are pageant flippers?
Unlike dental flippers that are meant to help patients out on a daily basis, pageant flippers are used only during beauty pageants to hide any flaws in the contestant’s smiles. This type of tooth flipper is used by contestants who may be at an age where tooth loss is occurring.
What is the best way to clean dental flippers?
About 2-3 times per week, soak it in an over-the-counter denture cleaning solution. Preferably, soak it in a plastic container meant for dentures (usually with a lid), but any kind of plastic container will do the trick. Any time that you don’t use a denture cleansing solution, ordinary water will do just fine. Just make sure you don’t soak it in an alcohol-based rinse, mouthwash, or use toothpaste on it.
What is the cheapest way to replace a missing tooth?
For a temporary solution, a dental flipper is usually the most cost-effective. However, if you want something for the longer term, dentures are the most affordable approach to tooth replacement. It mainly depends upon how many teeth you need to replace as a single tooth replacement is a lot less costly than having to replace multiple teeth at once.