So What Exactly Is A Flipper Tooth?

adult flipper tooth
youllneverknow / Pixabay

Never heard of it? A flipper tooth has nothing to do with the famous dolphin.. Rather, it is a partial acrylic denture that is designed to fill in a gap after an extraction. This is typically a temporary solution but some use them for longer. Most commonly they are utilized for missing front teeth but you can get one for just about any tooth. So, are they expensive? How do you get one? How do you wear them? Let's discuss a little more about the flipper tooth in detail.

How do you wear a flipper tooth?

Generally a flipper tooth can be popped into your mouth just like regular dentures. In some cases, orthodontists may utilize balled wires or there may be clasps that attach to other teeth to secure the flipper tooth in place. In many cases, this gives the appearance that you never had an extraction and it takes very little time to get used to, generally in under a week you will hardly notice it at all.

What is a flipper tooth made from?

A tiny work of art, the flipper tooth is made from acrylic, with the gum colors and the tooth colors faithfully rendered. This give the replacement tooth a natural appearance, unnoticeable as long as you are keeping your teeth clean and shiny.

Advantages and Disadvantages

single tooth flipper
qimono / Pixabay

Now that we have discussed some general information about flipper teeth, let's go into a little more detail in regards to the advantages and disadvantages that can come with them. First, the advantages:

  • Affordable: As these are quite easy to make, a flipper tooth is a very cost effective solution for filling in the gap from a missing tooth.
  • Wearable while eating: If that missing tooth was impacting your chewing ability then you will be happy to know that flippers will help when you chew. Once you've got it in place you don't have to remove it for eating, simply enjoy your meal and take it out at the end of the evening like you would with a regular set of dentures.
  • Fast solution - Your dentist can order these in advance of an extraction so that you don't have to walk around with an unattractive gap in your teeth following a visit. They can be manufactured quickly just for you.
  • They protect alignment - Flippers fill in that space where your tooth was previously housed. This means no shifting of the teeth that might lead to costly corrections later.
  • Comfortable to wear - While some are always going to be more sensitive than others, most people who wear flippers agree that they are the most comfortable denture set to wear that is available. Definitely a consideration, this means that you can wear them without irritation until a more suitable replacement can be employed.
  • Good for any age - You can purchase adult flippers and flippers for children(although with children it is not recommended that you wear them for an overly long period of time, as they will likely be growing replacements.). Whether you need a single tooth flipper or two, this is a good solution for any age.
  • DIY Options - If money is really tight, you can buy flipper teeth online. Dental flipper kits are available but you really want to go with your orthodontist if possible for the best results.

“Make an appointment with your orthodontist or general practice dentist.”

Quite a lot of good points in favor of the flipper tooth! There are some disadvantages, however, and it wouldn't be fair to only tell you only the sweet bits. So here is a list of the disadvantages associated with flipper teeth for adults and children:

  • Gum coverage - As these are covering up a portion of your gums, extra attention should be paid when you are brushing your teeth to ensure that your gums are being kept clean. This is just a small deviation for your routine, however, and should not pose a problem.
  • May need occasional adjustments - Flippers may need adjustments from time to time, as their grip gets loose from frequent use. This means a trip to your orthodontist.
  • Material quality - While they are quick and easy to make, flippers are meant as a temporary solution and the materials from which they are constructed can break a little more easily than other solutions. With the ease at which they can be replaced and the relatively low cost, it might be worth it to invest in two at a time in case of emergency.
  • Maintenance - Maintenance is very important with these. If you don't keep your flipper teeth clean and then just pop in a dirty flipper every day then you will be promoting tooth decay and gum disease as well. Take the time to keep your flippers and you regular teeth clean and this won't be a problem at all.

how to order a flipper
Foundry / Pixabay

How to order a flipper

If you are looking for the kit, new kits may be purchased on eBay, Amazon, and a number of other places online. Google will show you many options. Otherwise, make an appointment with your orthodontist or general practice dentist and let them know that you want a single tooth or a double tooth flipper and they can get you fitted fairly quickly. While the kits are available we cannot stress enough that you do get what you paid for, going through a professional is the best way to get a form fitting, natural looking flipper(plus is extra securing is required the orthodontist has the skills to ensure that you have it.). Always go with a professional whenever possible.

In conclusion

Now you know all that you need to go out and get your very own flipper tooth set. If you have a gap in your smile that makes you self conscious, worry no more. Just go visit your orthodontist or general practice dentist and say 'gimme a flipper, please!'. You will be so very glad that you did.