Dental flipper: how much does it cost? When can this temporary solution be useful?

Dental flippers are a popular way to restore teeth temporarily. Your dentist may have even suggested one. But what are they, exactly? What are the pros and cons? Are you a good candidate?

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Together with our dental team we have prepared a fact-sheet on flipper dentures. Read the article below to inform yourself on the most important aspects of a flipper tooth.

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What is a flipper denture?

A flipper tooth is a type of removable denture. It usually replaces one missing tooth. As a rule, flippers are interim restorations.

They are made from gum-colored acrylic. The lightweight plastic runs along the ridge and possibly rests on the palate, in the case of the upper arch. It may have clasps that attach to adjacent teeth. More dentition can sometimes be added with time.

In order to make a flipper tooth, the dentist takes impressions of the mouth. This can happen before a tooth is extracted. The dentist then sends it off to a lab that makes a customized model.

The main goals of flipper dentures are to improve aesthetics and make talking and eating easier. Patients should take it out themselves before bed and for cleaning.

How much is a flipper tooth?

Flipper tooth cost is fairly high considering it is a temporary tooth restoration option. The prices range from $450 and $1,000, giving an average of $750.

The fee depends mainly on two things:

  • the number of teeth you need to replaced, and
  • the materials used.

The more teeth a flipper denture has, the more expensive it might be. Acrylic is a lot cheaper than porcelain or metal, though the latter are rarely used. The point is to make the temporary restoration as affordable as possible.

Who is a candidate for a dental flipper?

Dental flippers are usually recommended for:

Flipper teeth are a temporary solution, so they are great during healing periods. Implants can usually be inserted several months after extraction or bone augmentation procedures.

Dr. Peter Dégallier

Dental flippers maintain appropriate spacing of teeth while you are waiting for more permanent treatment. They also help restore aesthetics during this period.

Dental implants are not recommended for underage patients. This is why children who have suffered damage to their teeth or who genetically don’t have them, may also be good candidates for flippers. Most often, they receive implants when they turn 18, or even older.

What are the pros and cons of a flipper tooth?

Flipper dentures are affordable compared to other tooth restoration options. Some patients choose to wear them for a long time, either while they save up for some other restoration, or indefinitely.

Dentists can prepare flipper teeth in advance, before teeth are extracted. This allows patients to avoid going without teeth altogether. They are also quick to make. Flippers also prevent remaining dentition from shifting.

On the other hand, the grips and hooks that hold the flipper in place are sometimes visible. Many patients also describe flippers as uncomfortable and hard to get used to. Flipper dentures are particularly vulnerable to drops and other trauma as well.

What’s more, the grip on flipper dentures loosens easily. This is because they change shape over time. Since flippers don’t stimulate bone, your mouth and face alter as well. This leads to a difference in fit, loosening, and an older appearance.

Pros

  • Affordable compared to other restoration options
  • Easy to put in and take out
  • Can be prepared before teeth are extracted
  • Quick to make
  • Provide stability for other teeth

Cons

  • Grips or hooks may be visible
  • Can be uncomfortable and hard to get used to
  • Break easily
  • May make hygiene more difficult
  • Fit may change over time
  • Don’t stimulate bone

FAQ

How long can you wear a dental flipper?

Dental flippers are designed to be worn for a couple of weeks or months, while awaiting other restoration.

In terms of how long you can wear it each day, this is about 8 hours. Your dentist may recommend wearing it for 24 hours when you first get it, to allow your mouth to get used to it.

Can you eat with a flipper denture?

Yes. One of the purposes of a dental flipper is to make eating easier. They should make chewing a lot more comfortable.

Should you sleep with a flipper in?

Flipper teeth should be taken out each night, cleaned, and stored in water. Sleeping with your denture consistently may lead to dry mouth and gum disease. It can also cause damage to your denture.

How to clean a dental flipper?

Take your flipper out and use a soft-bristled brush to remove any food debris. Use soap, dishwashing liquid, or denture cleaner to remove bacteria. Rinse with warm but not hot water. Store in water overnight.

Is it safe to make a dental flipper at home?

You may find a DIY dental flipper kit online or in a drugstore. While it’s a lot more affordable than going to a professional, dentists usually advise against this.

Specialists spend years in dental school to learn how to make an impression properly. When you do this incorrectly, wearing such a homemade denture can lead to sore spots and lesions. You may even be at risk of oral cancer.

How dental flippers compare to partial dentures?

Flipper teeth are basically partial dentures made from less durable materials. This is because they are a temporary solution. Partial dentures, on the other hand, are usually constructed with sturdiness in mind. They are meant to last the patient at least a few years.

Partials may be made from flexible materials such as nylon or valplast. Alternatively, they might consist of a metal framework. Those can withstand a lot more wear and tear and don’t break as easily from falls.

What are some alternatives to a dental flipper?

Patients sometimes buy removable retainers such as Essix and color in the missing tooth. More professional solutions include clip-on veneers like Instasmile. Nonetheless, those serve mainly aesthetic purposes and don’t bring back the functionality of a tooth.

Some consider implants, bridges, or crowns as alternatives to dental flippers. Those, however, are simply permanent restoration, final steps after wearing a flipper denture.

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