Filling the Gaps in Patients’ Teeth
What Is a Flipper?
Dental flippers are removable, temporary tooth replacements for patients who have lost a tooth due to disease or injury while they wait for their permanent implant, whether that’s just while the implant is fabricated or, in the case of a young patient too young for an implant, it can hold the place for the implant when they’re old enough to get one. Flippers are very easy to pop in and out, which is particularly useful for keeping them clean. Another benefit to a dental flipper is that you can eat comfortably with it in!
Common Types of Dental Flippers
There are four basic types of removable flippers.
- Removable dental flipper or retainer. This type of flipper looks just like an orthodontic retainer, except that it has a tooth or teeth attached to fill in the gaps of your natural teeth.
- Delineator. This type is very similar to a removable retainer type, but it’s made of more pliable material and is only suitable for some patients.
- Essix style retainer. This type is basically an invisible aligner tray that has a tooth or teeth in it.
- Snap-on smile. This type covers multiple teeth and resembles a removable bridge. It fits over the teeth without covering the palate and is a non-invasive, cosmetic, painless prosthetic.
Benefits of Dental Flippers
Flippers are great temporary tooth replacement options for many reasons. Here are a few of the advantages of getting a flipper tooth.
- They are affordable: compared to other denture options, flippers are very easy on the budget, costing around a quarter of the price of a dental implant.
- They are easy to make: unlike some tooth replacement options, the turnaround for manufacturing them is much quicker!
- Natural appearance: flippers blend in well with natural teeth and cover the gaps created by missing teeth, making your smile full and complete.
- They provide stability: when we lose teeth, the surrounding teeth tend to shift towards the gap, but a flipper holds your other teeth in place, keeping the space open for a permanent replacement.
- Convenient: removable flippers are very easy to wear, remove, and replace.
Eating With a Flipper
One of the best things about a flipper tooth is that it is safe to eat with. Chewing with a full set of teeth (including the flipper) is much more comfortable and effective than chewing with an incomplete smile.
Caring for Your Flipper Tooth
It’s very easy to take good care of a dental flipper as long as you follow a regular maintenance routine:
- Every night, remove the flipper before going to bed.
- Clean it thoroughly with a denture brush after every meal. This will keep harmful oral bacteria and food debris from sticking to it. Don’t brush it with toothpaste, but use a soft-bristled brush, mild soap, and warm water.
- Store it in a glass of water to prevent it from drying out when you aren’t wearing it. 2-3 times per week, it’s a good idea to immerse the flipper in denture cleaner overnight.
- Don’t prod at it with your tongue while wearing it, as this can impact the fit.
- Avoid foods and beverages that can leave stains, such as coffee, beets, and cranberry juice.
How Do I Know If I’m a Candidate for a Flipper?
If you’re looking for a way to fill in those gaps while you wait for a dental implant, call 605-343-5415 or email us. Drs. Studer and Lemmon will be able to determine which type of flipper will be best for your situation so that you can have your complete smile back! You can learn more about us on our business page, and make sure to get directions before heading our way.