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What Is A Dental Flipper?

Written By Meri Paparisto, DD
Illustration of an Acrylic Dental Flipper Tooth


Are you missing one or more teeth and looking for a temporary tooth replacement option? If so, you may want to consider a solution known as a dental flipper tooth. In this article, I'll explain what a dental flipper tooth is and how it works. I'll also cover the benefits and drawbacks of using a dental flipper as temporary solution for missing teeth.

What Exactly Is A Dental Flipper?

A dental flipper, also known as a dental flipper tooth, is a type of temporary denture. It's most common use case is to act as a short-term replacement tooth following an unexpected tooth loss. In such cases, a flipper is used as a short-term solution for patients waiting for a permanent tooth replacement such as a dental implant or traditional dentures. One of the most common use cases is to act as a temporary restoration option after a sudden tooth loss or emergency extraction. In other words, a dental flipper is a quick, convenient and affordable way to cover a gap in your smile if you've recently or unexpectedly lost a tooth.

Photo of a Dental Flipper Made By Toronto Denturist Meri Paparisto
Example of a Dental Flipper Created By Toronto Denturist Meri Paparisto

How Do They Work?

A dental flipper is removable prosthetic that can be ready to use within a hour of your tooth loss! Made from acrylic or metal, dental flippers are made with clasps that can be used to connect the flipper to your natural teeth. Because the flipper is a detachable prosthetic, it can be used until a more permanent solution is ready. Like dentures, the shape and colour of the dental flipper can be custom designed by your denturist to match the shape and colour of your natural teeth.

Video: Example of A Flipper Tooth In Action

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Tooth Flipper Pro's and Con's

One of the top advantages of a dental flipper is convenience. A flipper can can typically be made in an hour. Another important advantage is that they are generally affordable for patients who need to urgently replace a lost a tooth.

Nevertheless, there are certain disadvantages associated with dental flippers which we've summarized here:

  1. Because they are meant for temporary use, dental flippers are not as durable as a permanent solution like dentures or dental implants. If used over a long period of time, dental flippers may wear down or become discoloured.
  2. Additionally, like most dental prosthetics, many patients find they need time to adjust to their flipper. Initially, some of our patients find that their flipper may slightly affect their speech or the way they eat. In most cases however, patients adjust to the flipper in a couple days.

Types of Flipper Teeth Available

The two most common types of flipper teeth are made from either an acrylic or metal.

  1. Acrylic removable flippers are an ideal option for patients needing a temporary restorative solution for one or two missing teeth.
  2. Alternatively, for patients requiring additional support and stability, a metal flipper tooth provides more anchorage to keep the flipper in place.

How to know if you're eligible for a flipper tooth?

Nearly all patients are eligible for a flipper tooth. To be sure, you'll need to book a consultation with an experienced Denturist. During the consultation, your Denturist will evaluate the condition of your adjacent teeth. If these teeth are healthy and strong enough to support a flipper, then you are a good candidate.

How Do You Get Started With Flipper Dentures?

After determining your eligibility for dental flipper treatment, the next step involves taking an impression of your mouth. The impression is used by your Denturist to create a solid mold of your mouth similar to what is pictured here. This mold acts like a frame upon which your Denturist can precisely size and position your dental flipper.

Flipper tooth costs

The cost of a dental flipper tooth can vary depending on various factors including the number of missing teeth, the complexity of the case, and the location of the dental professional. In Toronto, the average cost of a flipper tooth typically ranges from $350 to $700 per tooth.

It is important to note that a dental flipper is not a permanent solution and may need periodic adjustments or replacement over time. However, it provides an affordable alternative to permanent options and can help restore the appearance of your smile while waiting for a more long-term solution.

Post Treatment: What Happens After You Get a Flipper Denture?

Post treatment, many patients find their dental flipper provides a functional solution for their missing teeth. As mentioned earlier, some patients may experience mild discomfort and brief difficulty adapting to the prosthetic. Typically, that may include some soreness or irritation in the gum tissue where the flipper rests. Additionally, there may be some difficulty with speaking or eating initially. After a few days, most patients adapt just fine.

Post Treatment: Care and Maintenance of Flipper Teeth

To care for a dental flipper, it is important to follow a few simple guidelines. Firstly, it is recommended to remove the flipper before going to bed and to soak it in a glass of warm water or a denture cleaner. This helps to keep the appliance clean and free from any food particles or plaque. Secondly, when cleaning the flipper, avoid using toothpaste or harsh chemicals as these can damage the appliance. Instead, use a soft-bristle toothbrush with a mild dishwashing liquid or a denture brush specifically designed for cleaning dentures.

In addition to daily cleaning, it is important to visit a dental professional regularly for periodic adjustments and to ensure proper fit and functionality. This is particularly necessary if any changes occur in the mouth, such as gum recession or tooth decay. By following these care and maintenance practices, patients can help prolong the lifespan of their dental flipper and maintain optimal oral health.


Are dental flippers covered by insurance in Ontario?

Yes, if your insurance plan covers dentures, then it will also cover the cost of a dental flipper. 

Do flipper teeth look like natural teeth?

Yes, dental flipper teeth can be made to look quite natural. Your denturist can customize your flipper to match the shape, size, and colour of the surrounding natural teeth.

What's the difference between a dental flipper and a partial denture?

A flipper is a temporary oral appliance. It should not be used as a permanent solution due to its low-stability design.

A partial denture is a permanent oral appliance. It is an ideal solution for patients missing several adjacent teeth on the top or bottom arch.

Can I eat normally with a flipper tooth?

Yes, you’ll be able to chew food properly. Generally speaking the flipper will not move or come loose eating most foods. Additionally, you will not need to worry about biting down to hard on certain foods like apples or meat.

Can I sleep with my dental flipper in my mouth?

It's possible but not recommended. Ideally, patients should remove their flipper at night. This will allow the gums to breathe and recover from the pressure exerted on the gums during the day.

How long do I need to wait after a tooth extraction to wear my flipper?

This depends on the patient. Most patients can wear their flipper the same day as their extraction while other patients may need a day or two for the tissue around the extraction site to recover.

Can I get a flipper for one tooth?

Yes, a single-tooth flipper is a very common solution for patients needing a temporary solution for tooth loss.

Dr. Iliana Paparisto
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Iliana Paparisto, DDS, DMD on Nov 13, 2023
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