Whether you’ve lost a tooth due to an accident, dental extraction, or another reason, there are a few options that your dentist will give you to fill the hole in your smile. One of those options is something called a “flipper tooth”—or temporary acrylic partial dentures, to be more specific. If this is a term you’re not familiar with, keep reading! Below, we cover the basics of what a flipper tooth is and help you have a conversation with your dentist about whether or not a flipper tooth is the right choice for you.
Dental Flipper Basics
Known by a variety of names—flipper, flipper tooth, dental flipper, interim removable partial denture—flipper teeth are temporary solutions. However, if your dental professional recommends a temporary denture, or "flipper," here is some information.
Temporary dental flippers are usual made out of a lightweight acrylic resin that blends in with the color of your gums with a prosthetic tooth or teeth attached. The acrylic fitting of a flipper tooth will either rest on your jaw, be fitted along your palate, or clasp to adjacent teeth to stay in place, depending on its specific mouth placement.
Dental flippers are temporary fixes and your dentist will usually recommend a flipper tooth as an interim solution to act as a space maintainer and restore function during treatment until receiving your permanent or long-term tooth replacement or denture. A flipper tooth can help maintain the look of your smile as well as assist the wearer in basic oral functions until a more permanent solution is provided.
How Are Flipper Teeth Made?
To make a flipper tooth, your dentist will take an impression of your mouth and send it to a lab or use a 3-D printer in the office, which will customize your flipper denture. The exact turnaround time depends on the lab and your dental office, so talk to your oral healthcare provider to find out how quickly you can be fitted with a flipper tooth.
Pros and Cons of a Dental Flipper
There are a number of arguments for and against dental flippers, so ultimately the choice to get your own flipper tooth is one that should be made with your dentist. However, these flipper tooth pros and cons can help give you some context before making your decision.
Fast turnaround time. A flipper is a quick solution. It is typically recommended so you don't have to walk around with a gap until you get a final restoration. As mentioned above, manufacturing a dental flipper is much less time consuming than manufacturing and fitting a permanent partial denture. When you need a gap filled quickly, a flipper tooth is a faster option.
Can easily be broken. Flipper teeth are more prone to breakage than longer-term tooth replacement solutions. Because they’re made from lightweight acrylic, flipper teeth are not the sturdiest fixtures. If not cared for properly, they may break.