Dentistry
Cosmetic
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Updated on October 3, 2022

Dental Flipper Tooth: Uses, Pros, Cons and Costs

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What is a Flipper Tooth?

A flipper tooth is an acrylic removable partial denture (RPD). It’s a prosthetic tooth supported by an acrylic base plate. These usually replace your front teeth but can also restore missing teeth in the back of your mouth. 

Types of flipper teeth include:

  • Spoon dentures
  • Flexible dentures
  • Two-piece sectional dentures

A flipper tooth is mainly supported by the frictional contact and surface tension between the acrylic base plate and gum tissue. However, the structure can be reinforced with fibers or metal wires for better support.

Who Needs a Flipper Tooth?

You could need a flipper tooth if you lose some of your adult teeth. People get them to improve their:

  • Appearance
  • Speech
  • Self-esteem
  • Chewing abilities

A flipper tooth preserves your remaining natural teeth and maintains the space between them. However, it is often meant as a temporary solution in a prosthodontic treatment.

Dentists will design flippers to condition your teeth and oral structure before replacing them with a more permanent prosthesis.

Due to economic constraints, people usually keep their acrylic RPDs longer than recommended. It’s a cheaper option than other dentures, making it a popular choice if you’re on a budget.

Pros and Cons of Dental Flippers

Dental flippers are one of the most common types of dentures available. However, this type of prosthesis comes with advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Dental Flippers

Aside from their affordability, flippers are also easy to fabricate. Dentists will take impressions of your teeth and design a mold using acrylic resin.

Acrylic resin is easy to manipulate, making it fit perfectly with the shape of your teeth and gums. It’s also easy for a dentist to replace or add more teeth to the base plate if it’s necessary.

Flippers are also advantageous because they are:

  • Lightweight 
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to clean
  • Matched closely to the appearance of natural teeth and gums

Flippers are also one of the least invasive options for replacing missing teeth.

Disadvantages of Dental Flippers

One of the disadvantages of wearing flippers is the increased risk of developing dental issues like:

  • Caries
  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontal disease
  • Denture stomatitis
  • Alveolar bone reduction
  • Tooth migration
  • Triggering of gag reflex

Acrylic RPDs are a temporary solution for missing teeth. This is because the material is prone to damage and may loosen over time.

Flippers are also designed in thicker sections to compensate for the material’s lack of strength. This can make them feel bulky in your mouth during the adjustment period. 

How Much Does a Flipper Tooth Cost?

Depending on the number of teeth needing to be replaced, flipper teeth typically cost between $300 and $600. They’re one of the cheapest options for prosthetic teeth. Other kinds of removable partial dentures can cost more than $600.

Flipper teeth pricing depends on the dentist's materials, the number of teeth that need to be replaced, and the location of the missing teeth.

These dentures are a cheaper immediate expense. However, their design makes them prone to damage over time. This can result in a more considerable expense when replacement costs are added down the line.

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Tips for Taking Care of a Flipper Tooth

When you get your flipper for the first time, dentists advise against eating hard and chewy foods like:

  • Raw vegetables
  • Toasted bread
  • Tough meat
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Chips 
  • Candies and gum

These foods can cause damage to the flipper’s acrylic base and prosthetic teeth. Dentists recommend eating soft foods with a temporary denture, as they can break easily.

Good oral hygiene is essential in taking care of flippers. The fungus candida and bacteria can easily form on acrylic resin. Some respiratory pathogens have also been found on denture surfaces.

The risk of developing plaque and denture biofilm is only high if you don’t clean your teeth and dentures properly. Different types of denture cleaning include:

  • Mechanical
  • Chemical
  • Combination

Toothbrushing is the most common mechanical method of denture cleaning. It’s effective, accessible, and budget friendly.

Dentists recommend using denture cleaners or non-abrasive toothpaste. You can also soak your dentures at the end of the day in addition to brushing them.

Chemical cleaning includes using a variety of treatments like:

  • Hypochlorites
  • Peroxides
  • Enzymes
  • Acids
  • Mouthwashes

Proper denture care also includes preserving the physical and mechanical properties of the denture. Its color and stability shouldn’t be altered during the cleaning process.

If you have disabilities that make it difficult to move, dentists advise using ultrasound cleaning devices to reduce the manual effort of proper denture care.

Alternative Treatment Options

It’s important to note the factors that may affect your prosthesis choice and a dentist’s recommendation. These include:

  • Health of natural teeth
  • Aesthetic requirements
  • Cost
  • Anatomical constraints

Acrylic RPDs are common in lower socioeconomic groups because of their affordability. However, if you don’t want a flipper tooth, alternative options are available:

Fixed Partial Dentures

A fixed partial denture (FPD), also known as a bridge, is permanently attached to the teeth adjacent to the missing ones.


It’s essential to have a healthy set of abutment teeth to which the denture can attach. Abutments can be natural teeth or implants. The surrounding bone also needs to be healthy for the denture to succeed.

Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are one type of fixed partial dentures. They can consist of different materials, including:

  • Porcelain
  • Metal
  • Porcelain and metal
  • Zirconia

Bridges can be an alternative to dentures. Prosthetic teeth are fixed in place by permanently attaching to the teeth on either side.

Bridges are only suitable if you have missing teeth between a set of healthy teeth on either side.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are surgically placed in your mouth. They’re made up of three parts:

  1. Implant body
  2. Implant abutment
  3. Crown

The implant body is like a screw that replaces the missing tooth’s root. It’s inserted into the jawbone during surgery.

The implant abutment acts as the support. It screws onto the implant body and extends through the gums and into the mouth. This is where the dentist attaches the crown, which is a prosthetic tooth.

8 Sources Cited
Last updated on October 3, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
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  2. Dental Implants: What You Should Know.” U.S. Food & Drug Administration, 29 Oct. 2021
  3. De Rossi et al. “Esthetic options for the fabrication of removable partial dentures: A clinical report.” The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, The Editorial Council of The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, Nov. 2001
  4. Friel, T. and Waia, S. “Removable Partial Dentures for Older Adults.” Primary Dental Journal, Royal College of Surgeons (Faculty of General Dental Practice), 17 Sept. 2020
  5. Kaddah, A. “Temporary removable partial dentures.” Cairo University, 18 May 2020
  6. Papadiochou, S. and Polyzois, G. “Hygiene practices in removable prosthodontics: A systematic review.” International Journal of Dental Hygiene, John Wiley & Sons Ltd., 10 Oct. 2017
  7. Temporary Partial Denture (Flipper) Instructions.” New Orleans Dental Center
  8. Zhao, J. and Wang, X. “Dental Prostheses.” Advanced Ceramics for Dentistry, Elsevier Inc, 2014
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